Round Two of roundtable interviews. Previously: Troy Woolfolk drops bombs. Up next: Stephen Schilling.
- Rodriguez tells the players on the team not to worry about exterior drama. He wants them to focus on football, and he can worry about outside factors. Everyone tries to ignore what's said in the media sometimes, or have thick skin about it.
- Schilling doesn't think the outside drama has worn on Rodriguez too much. He's a strong coach, and can get through it.
- The struggling the last couple years has been tough on everyone. It's been humbling, because most people on the team (Rodriguez included) have had success everywhere they've been. It's tough, because nobody commits to Michigan expecting to experience a losing season.
- The opener has a bit more excitement than it does in some years. Last year probably taught everyone to not put too much stock in the first game.
- Iowa and Ohio State are two games that Schilling's looking forward to, because he likes to measure himself against the best. Whoever comes out on top in the league has earned it. Michigan needs to hold up their end of the bargain to keep the OSU rivalry meaningful.
- The first couple years, there were a few guys who weren't able to buy in. Some of them left to transfer to other schools, etc. Now, everyone is bought in.
- There have been several moments that could have gone the other way that would have made the last two seasons very different. The goal-line stand against Illinois was a big regret for the offensive line. The MSU loss was easy to get over, because it was just the first loss and most of the season was still ahead of them.
Personnel & Schemes
- The team is much more experienced in year three. It's easier for the coaches to add new schemes, because the players know what they're doing now. "Every year, you get more comfortable with the coach, and he gets more comfortable with his players." There should be an even bigger jump between years 2 & 3 than there was last year.
- One reason Denard was able to improve so much in the spring was that he got to fly under the radar. There wasn't as much attention and pressure on him as there was on Tate.
- Taylor Lewan and Patrick Omameh are best friends, so it's funny that they've emerged at about the same time. Both guys are really physical, maybe to a fault sometimes, because they might risk injury. Both are athletic, and should be good additions.
- David Molk's injury last year helped a couple guys get some reps in the spring, especially Rocko Khoury and Christian Pace, and also Elliott Mealer. Pace has a great work ethic, and his performance this spring showed that he could be a budding star. Still, it will be good to play next to Molk again.
- There's potential for the offensive line to become dominant. They've been great at times, but they need to make that dominance more consistent.
- The defense's ability to play multiple fronts on defense will make them harder to prepare for. The offense also benefits, because they get to practice against different types in fronts.
- The seniors had five or six meetings to get on the same page for leadership purposes. They wanted to be sure they were all leading with good continuity. The biggest thing is to lead by example.
- There's a sense of urgency among the seniors, and they have a few special things planned for camp "that I'm not really gonna talk about."
- The run up State Street last week was the senior-led run for the last workout of the year. It's a team bonding experience. Everyone had a fun time running up to the Diag, but a few guys took the bus back when the run was over.