- Jerald Robinson has left the team.
- Craig Roh had a bit of a "sore shoulder." Me too, although mine is from pipetting too much. Probably the same thing.
- Royce Jenkins-Stone is playing middle linebacker, not SAM.
- Dennis Norfleet is playing corner, not safety.
- None of the redshirting freshmen OL have practiced at center. Right now the heir apparent to Elliott Mealer is Jack Miller, followed by Graham Glasgow.
“Before I get started talking about what we’re doing and everything, I think our thoughts and prayers go out to those in Connecticut, with that tragedy that happened. It’s unfortunate, and we just want to have them in our prayers, those families that were affected, and the senselessness of what happened.
“With that being said, we got back after today, we had a good practice. This time of year it gets a little dicey because you’re juggling some finals. There’s some guys who had finals but not very many of them that couldn’t be there, so you go through all those kinds of things, and find the times that we can. We’ll go tomorrow morning, and then we’ll go Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. I like how they’ve come out. I know they’ve had good weeks with lifting and running and technique work and those things, so it’s all be real positive.”
Jerald Robinson left the team. Can you comment on the reason?
How’s the health of your team?
“Not bad. Pretty good, really. You know, I don’t think anybody’s too bad off. They’re pretty good.”
Anyone limited right now?
“No. Not really. Craig was a little bit, and we’re just -- a little soreness basically more than anything else in the shoulder, but he was out there today. We were half pads today, we’ll go full pads tomorrow.”
Are you still expecting everybody to travel?
“Yeah. At this point in time.”
Decision on Toussaint?
“Um, I think he’ll go with us. He’s doing pretty well. Feels pretty good.”
When will you start working on the game plan and what do you hope to achieve during these practices before you leave?
“Yeah. Because they’re so separate, you have one Friday-Saturday, and then the next Friday-Saturday. There’s a lot of fundamental work, and a lot of technique work. They’ve been getting a lot on Tuesdays and Thursdays with seniors and the strength staff to some degree as far as what they’re doing. That’s what you kind of are stuck in a little bit, but at the same time, defensively and offensively, we started feeding some of the game plan really last Friday. Bits and pieces. Until we get in the consistency of days, you don’t get a chance to go over it.”
With fundamental work, have any of the young guys stepped up and shown you anything?
“I think some of the young guys up front offensively, I think Kalis and Braden and Bars are all -- and Mags -- they’re all getting a little better. Drake Johnson is a big back. I like what he’s done so far. Up front defensively, I think Royce is getting more reps right now, and I think that’s helped him. Guys up front, Ondre’s taken a lot of snaps. Even though he’s played some, he’s a young guy and needs better technique. Willie Henry and Godin and Strobel, they’re all I think making some improvements.”
MGoQuestion: What position does Royce Jenkins-Stone play?
MGoFollowup: Which one?
“The MIKE. And he can play both [Ed: I assume weakside is the other position], but he’s kind of a MIKE right now is where he’s at.”
MGoFollowup: Have you distinguished positions, i.e. 3-tech, 5-tech, with regard to the freshmen you just named on the defensive line?
“Yeah, I mean, Godin and Strobes are more 5-techniques, and Willie’s a 3, and Ondre’s a nose obviously. But I like how they’ve come out. I like how our team’s come out to work at this practice stage, and I like how the guys are competing.”
How big would it be for this program to beat an SEC team?
“I think we’ve beaten the SEC a few different times here, so I mean, I don’t know how much you look at that as you do you have a great opponent and the opportunity to play one more game.”
Yeah, but the SEC has been so dominant over the last half decade …
“I think people make a lot about that, more than I would.”
Do you buy that if you win this game, you have much more momentum going into the offseason?
“Yeah. I think you do, but if you stumble, then it’s a little more momentum you have to create as a coach, as your senior class and all those things.”
MGoQuestion: Have there been any position switches … ?
“Well, Norfleet we’ve moved to corner. He’s done a nice job so far.”
MGoFollowup: Can you talk about what went behind that decision?
“We moved him two weeks ago, and we’ve talked about it for a while just to get another good athlete on the field.”
Will he still return kicks and punts?
“Yeah he’ll do all of that stuff still.”
Is it a depth thing or did he just not fit at the running back position?
“No, I don’t think it’s either one. I think it was more he’s a good football player, let’s give him an opportunity to get on the field. You get into different packages, you could get him on the field easier.”
Could he play in the bowl, or is this more something you’re looking at for next year?
“Oh I think he could play in the bowl game.”
How hard is it to make that position switch?
“You know, he played it sophomore and junior year of high school. He didn’t play it at senior. I think his coach just thought he was valuable doing other things. His ball skills are really pretty daggone good. Good quickness. He’s not the biggest guy in the world obviously, but he’s a competitor and he loves to play. Is it a difficult -- give me about four more days and I’ll let you know to be honest with you and to be honest with that kid, but he’s willing to learn. He’s really -- he’s a guy who just loves to play football.”
Is there a concern about his height at that position?
“I think you can be concerned, but one guy I always kind of looked to was Winfield, played at Ohio and now plays at Minnesota. He’s not very big. He’s pretty good. Still playing.”
Did you approach him or did he come to you?
“Probably a little bit of both.”
MGoQuestion: Will he get consideration on offense?
“We’ll see. We’ll go through and obviously go through the spring and see where he’s at.”
Are any of the redshirting freshmen getting looks at center?
“Well there’s a couple guy. Jack Miller is a guy who we think has improved. Graham Glasgow is a guy who we think has really grown and has done some good things. But the other four that I mentioned have not. [They’re playing] guard and tackle.”
Renovations are almost complete. Are you excited to have your last press conference in Schembechler hall.
“I’m excited for my last press conference.”
What does that do for the program?
“I think we’ll be able to adjust, and you have to. The adversity or whatever will be good. I think this building was one of the first football-specific buildings in the country. I think it’s time for it to get some renovations to it that -- recruiting’s huge. It’s a big part of it. We’ve got a lot that we’re proud of in recruiting when you look at the academic opportunities that we have here and all that, and the football itself, but you need to I guess keep up a little bit with the Joneses with some of the newer buildings that are out there.”
How would you evaluate J.T.’s season?
“Okay. Okay. I think he played better in some games than in others. But I mean that’s how we were as a team a little bit. We were a little bit up and down.”
Have you sensed a lot of excitement out of him?
“I think they’re all excited.”
Is Denard getting closer to throwing the way he’d like to throw?
“Um … I don’t know.”
Why don’t you know?
“I just don’t know yet. No, he’s doing fine.”
[Hokespeak translator: No.]
Norfleet seems like a really enthusiastic kid. Did he embrace this change?
“Oh yeah. No doubt. He loves to play. He truly loves to play the game. He’s excited about practice. He’s excited. We go to specialists, and he’s always encouraging guys.”
You jump right into practices when you get into Tampa?
“Yeah when we get in we’ll practice the evening of the 23rd, I think about five o’clock. We’ll go for probably an hour and 15 minutes. Some of that they’re going to be off for three days, some of it’s going to be to get them acclimated to the locker room and that kind of stuff and where we’re going and those kinds of things. So we’ll do that 23rd, 24th, off the 25th, and then 26th on.”
Fitz’s injury? Nature of his injury? Where is he in his rehab?
“Well he’s got to obviously heal up.”
Has he started rehabbing yet?
“He’s started some rehab work, yeah. He’s on crutches still, but he’s smiling. He’s excited. They think it’s going to be really really good recovery.”
“Down near there.”
You don’t know the name of the bone?
“I don’t. You know, look … What would be the bone, in fact?”