BTN Spring Practice Tweets

Submitted by Brian on March 26th, 2012 at 3:44 PM


Griffith, Dinardo, and families take in a Michigan spring practice.

The usual crew of Big Ten analysts took in one of Michigan's spring practices and coughed up the usual tweets of debatable utility. As one of the few glimpses we get into spring activities, they're reproduced below. I've edited them for readability and compressed them a bit.

Howard Griffith


1st impressions of Michigan. from yesterday's spring practice. Physically impressive group! Doing some reshuffling on the D-line will make them more athletic upfront—DE Brennen Beyer.

So WR Jerald Robinson made some nice catches. Will be a good addition to WRs Gallon & Roundtree. RBs look solid, no surprise here. Toussaint looks like he's ready to carry the load. Keep an eye on J.Hayes

Replacing Molk leadership on & off the field well be tough, Barnum & Jack Miller will give them solid options.

Secondary is a solid group, return 7 of last year's top 8. S Jarrod Wilson is going to have a chance to contribute. The linebacker group is impressive. The young pups Bolden and Ringer showed me some things vs run game.

The Beyer thing spurred this exchange from a Michigan grad who is a "Spartan diehard

jeffrdillon: Don't let UM spin fool you, position change for Beyer means he sucked at TE or current DEs suck. not to "get more athletic."

griffith: appreciate your opinion @jeffrdillon but I'm going to go with my own tow eyes.

Beyer was a strongside linebacker last year, not a tight end, and isn't making much of a position move at all.

And finally:

Why don't you sing like her? Why don't you look like him? #lmao #madmen

Gerry DiNardo


Saturday was a great practice in regard organization, efficiency & amount of work done—really impressive. Always different watching a staff run practice the second spring practice—looks like Brady's been there forever.

Michigan will be one of the most talented teams in B10 but you will see them get more physical in O/D line through recruiting. Back seven on defense can really run and as front catches up in future with experience/talent the D could become one of the best in the country.

One thing that was so impressive: it was practice #5. Half drills and half scrum but still got a lot done which is hard to do. [ed: no idea.]

Justice Hayes looks like he has great speed, may be in mix somewhere. Joe Bolden is an impressive young guy. Of course there is always the work of Jordan Kovacs that goes mostly unnoticed but remains one of their best players on D.

Michigan has always asked a lot from their seniors. This year Gallon/Roundtree are two great examples—need great year from them. [ed: this reads like a polite way to diss Michigan's wide receiving corps.]

Blake Countess is a returning true sophomore starter. This is the year you usually find out if he will develop into a great one. Young center Jack Miller really helps with depth at that position. Looking for a new starter.

Big picture: M will be one of most talented, well-coached teams in the Big Ten and challenge for a trip to Indy on way to Rose along with MSU and Nebraska.

Dinardo's taste in television is not as advanced as Griffith's:

What a day - we get to watch Purdue (Sprinng Tour stop 5) practice and come home and watch Smash. Wow #Boilerup

He's also got a half-dozen tweets about Mad Men, to be fair.

UPDATE: Dinardo was a little more elaborate talking to Angelique Chengelis:

"Even good teams can screw up a practice, but theirs really was well done, well-organized," he said. "I really did think it was a great practice. It was efficient. I think they got a lot done in their fifth practice.

"There's not a bad coach on this staff. I think Brady is really good. He knows his strengths and doesn't try to coach everybody. He'll coach the defensive line, he'll coach the defense, but he's comfortable with his role and he's very good at his role."



March 26th, 2012 at 3:54 PM ^

I'm a little confused as to how a UM grad could be a "die hard Spartan fan."  Usually that only happens if someone is raised a die-hard fan and ends up at the other school.  Thing is, usually the die-hard Michigan fans who go to State do so because they don't have the grades to get into Michigan.  But that doesn't work the other way around.


March 26th, 2012 at 4:26 PM ^

But I was at Illinois for 5 years (couldn't afford out-of-state tuition to Michigan) and remained a die-hard Michigan fan, sitting in the Michigan section during football games, etc.

As a freshman, in the immediate aftermath of the Chris Webber timeout I just barely made it back in my dorm room and shut/locked the door as a crowd of swarming Illini fans were chasing me down to torment me.


March 26th, 2012 at 4:33 PM ^

I grew up a fierce Michigan fan, but due to money considerations I went to MSU.

I had the grades and in fact was accepted to U-M.  Issue was the $1,000/year more it would have cost me back in 1977 to attend U-M.  At that time -- with absolutely no hope of help from the parents -- $1000 was a lot of money.  So to MSU I went.

My fanaticism for Michigan football never waned -- then or now.  I did, however, have to learn to keep quiet about it while attending MSU.  As for other sports -- football is my first love.  While I enjoy basketball or hockey on occasion, I never really developed a fanaticism for any school's program like I did with football and U-M.

So that "fan of X but attend Y" syndrome does occur.  Sometimes for grades.  Sometimes for money.

Decatur Jack

March 27th, 2012 at 12:30 AM ^

I once read something where a Spartan described the three types of Michigan fans in order of least to most hated:

1. Michigan fans who are actual Michigan Alumni. These guys are generally okay in Sparty's book, depending on the level of classiness.

2. Michigan fans who are not Michigan Alumni. a.k.a. "Walverines" (Wal-mart Wolverines). Sparty hates these guys because how dare regular people pick Michigan over MSU! "If you didn't go to school there, you can't cheer for them." (This makes no sense to me. So, what, a kid can't become a Wolverine fan until he/she gets admitted into Michigan? By that same logic, no kids can ever be Spartan fans until they're admitted, too. Guess that throws the whole "grew up a fan of x" thing out the window. You may not be a fan of ANYTHING until you actually participate in it! Good luck with your sucky life lol!!!)

3. Michigan fans who go to Michigan State. These are actually more common than you think, and nothing drives Li'l Sparty crazier than showing up to biology class only to see some douche bag wearing a sweatshirt with a big ole Block M on it. This pretty much explains how and why the Spartans hate us so much. They can never have a moment's peace. Haha, suck it, Spartans!

Personally, I don't care where you went to school (or if). I am a Michigan alumnus (the only one of my family to ever attend or graduate from Michigan) but my niece and nephew will probably never get to go to Michigan or really any college because they can't afford it. That doesn't mean they can't bleed Maize and Blue. Michigan is a national brand, and you don't have to go to Michigan to be a Michigan Man. Just ask Bo Schembechler and Brady Hoke.


March 27th, 2012 at 1:11 PM ^

I'm part of group 3 and your are absolutely right. My Michigan gear drew looks that made me feel like my life was in danger. But, I was stupid and young so I kept wearing it. My fresman year was the infamous Clockgate game. Yeah horrible.


March 26th, 2012 at 5:31 PM ^

"But that doesn't work the other way around."

How about ... "Grew up an MSU fan but wanted to study in some area U-M offered but MSU did not?"

As much as we might like to joke about U-M as an academic super-set to MSU in all disciplines, that's just not true.  Each school has differential advantages over the other.  One clear example is veterinary medicine, where MSU is one of the best in the world, let alone the state. 

For many years MSU didn't have a law school, and even though it has one now I think Michigan's is still considered by far the better of the two.  MSU has two medical colleges -- Human Medicine and Osteopathic -- but what exactly the difference is between those and Michigan's I couldn't begin to fathom.

When I was at MSU (see above for explanation of how I ended up there) MSU was a pioneer in several areas of business education -- Packaging Engineering and Logistics Management. Those are huge industries ... contributing far more to GDP than fields such as computers or entertainment.



March 26th, 2012 at 5:40 PM ^

And when Michigan players leave after one or two seasons, what difference does it make to them whether UM is a better school than MSU or OSU anyhow? They've barely scratched the surface academically speaking, and if they're looking to leave college life entirely after two semesters to play professionally—regardless whether it's football, b-ball, hockey, or baseball— academic matters are not a high priority regardless. Money's the priority.


March 26th, 2012 at 6:03 PM ^

It's hard to argue with the reality of what you say.

For someone seeking to play college sports solely (or even mostly) as a springboard to a professional sports career, I can't really see where academics work into the equation much.

Just today, for example, I was reading about how Kentucky and Calipari are viewed mostly as just that -- recruit top talent with message of preparation for the pros.  For truly top-tier, can't miss athletes who are just looking to elevate their pro prospects, then the school's reputation for pro career preparation is more important.

That's all the more reason to respect the really good player who truly does have an eye on academics for the long-term. 


March 26th, 2012 at 11:26 PM ^

+1 ... I'm with you.  I never took your original post as a slam ... just wanted to weigh in with a personal story of the fan of one school but student at another.

I damn near got myself killed freshman year fall term by voicing my fandom for U-M.

I was there in 1979 when Magic Johnson and MSU won the NCAA B-Ball tournament.  If you remember that team you may recall the names Terry Donnely and Ron Charles.  They were on my dorm floor.

Eventually I became somewhat a fan of MSU hockey back in the Ron Mason days.  I worked campus traffic control and got into the games for free.  Live hockey is fantastic.  I worked traffic control for football too, but I rarely got into the games.  I supervised the 110 students working traffic control and there was just way too much to do during the games.

But nothing compares to my memories of attending U-M games in the Big House.  There is simply no better experience in the world than walking in through one of the openings and seeing that massive bowl open up.  Rain or shine.  Loved 'em all.

I was at the last game they didn't draw 100,000 fans.


March 27th, 2012 at 10:39 PM ^

I didn't sense any dickishness at all.  Seriously.  No worries there.

I get shit from my cousin, who went to MSU as well, about "How can you be a U-M fan when you went to MSU?"  Answer -- because I fell in love with U-M watching Dennis Franklin in 1973, four years before making my college choice.  I watched the 10-10 tie that year, and was furious with the vote to send OSU to the Rose Bowl.  I worshipped Gordie Bell, Ricky Leach and my all-time-favorite Wolverine: Rob Lytle.  At MSU, my dorm intramural basketball number was 41, fergodssake!

And for the sake of ultimate U-M fan geekdom -- I can still name from memory the entire starting defense for the 1976 Wolverines!

I have Bob Ufer tapes -- on cassette!

I made a bet with my Vice President at work that Michigan would beat Notre Dame this past year.  In prep for the game I sent him a Meechigan t-shirt.  I sent my obnoxious Florida SEC buddy a Michigan t-shirt as well.  He wore it during Michigan's triumph over ND.

I scared the living shit out of my cat yelling at the TV during that Notre Dame game.

I made my wife wait at the airport for an hour before I went to pick her up because I didn't want to miss a moment of the Michigan / Notre Dame game.



Young John Beilein

March 26th, 2012 at 7:55 PM ^

Wait...computers?  First, that's a rather broad subject.  Michigan was in on the whole computers thing pretty early, like punched card days.  I that don't know much about the industries you have mentioned, but I would have to guess that the development and implementation of computers and computer science has done more to increase GDP than advances over the same time period in those industries.  Which is really what we should look at:  MSU did not invent de novo Packaging and logistics.

As far as medicine goes there is really no comparison.  I say that arrogantly, but also more literally.  The missions of the schools are different.  Michigan is basically a high-power biomedical research institution that strives to train residents and match its students in the top specialties in medicine, as well as providing world class care in said specialties.  MSU is more community oriented and has been a pioneer in osteopathic medicine.  Which, depending on whom you ask is anywhere from hippie medicine to the same as MD medicine. 

Vet school...well a lot of people would tell you Cornell, Penn, Cal Davis, Colorado State, and maybe Wisconsin are better schools, but they are indeed right up there, and U-M doesn't have one, so I'll give you that one.  Maybe they'll take over domino farms and start a large animal campus there.

Nuclear Physics on the other hand is one area where you coulda stuck it to us.


March 26th, 2012 at 11:17 PM ^

I wasn't suggesting that computers haven't had a huge impact ... far from it.  And in particular in the transportation industry.  For instance, the railroad industry employs a ton of PhDs doing linear programming on route optimization.  Every dollar squeezed through optimization is a dollar extra profit.  FedEx, UPS, any of the railroads, all of the trucking companies ... shipping companies ... pipeline companies ... airlines (!) all depend on computer information to operate.

My point was really the gross contribution of the industries.  Back in the 1980's there was a threat of a nationwide rail strike.  A presidential executive action stayed the strike.  The point is back then the impact to the economy was estimated at a billion dollars a day.  The transportation and logistics industries are involved in a huge portion of commerce.  Couldn't do it without computers.  But computers alone won't move that pallet of Del Monte pudding to your store shelf. :-)

(By the way, I work in the computer industry -- large three-letter multinational.  I know a thing or two about computers as well as logistics.)


March 26th, 2012 at 3:58 PM ^

This all sounds very positive, which is surprising from Dinardo.  It's good to know that it looks like we are in good shape, and we still have most of spring practice and fall camp to go through.  I don't want to set my expectations too high, but this could be a really exciting year (like last year wasn't).  

Also, what is the big deal about Mad Men?  I just couldn't get into that show.


March 26th, 2012 at 4:25 PM ^

..if Fitz can perform at the same level he did for the second half of last season. He seems to be one of the wild cards, especially with Hoke at the helm and the offense they're looking to run.

As intriguing as Gardner at the wideout is, I still think it takes a backseat to Toussaint's play in terms of what will make them successful. DG catching balls is what they want, Toussaint carrying that load and playing well at HB is what they NEED.


March 27th, 2012 at 9:09 AM ^

I would have to share your concern for Toussaint. While he proved he can be a beast of a running back last year, I am still a little apprehensive. If he is able to stay healthy and start strong early on this year (I know he was healthy but didn't get much playing time early on last season), he could be a major reason our offense becomes unstoppable. His vision and cutting ability is something to watch in awe, but hopefully it is something he builds upon this season.

I love watching Toussaint carry the ball and he is a nice compliment to Denard's running ability, but I want to see if Fitz can carry that success into this season and keep it going.


March 26th, 2012 at 4:41 PM ^

"There's not a bad coach on this staff. I think Brady is really good. He knows his strengths and doesn't try to coach everybody. He'll coach the defensive line, he'll coach the defense, but he's comfortable with his role and he's very good at his role."

Ultimately the Head Coach is like the chief executive of a company.  The bad ones try to micro-manage; the good ones delegate, trust and validate progress.  Further, the bad ones have inconsistent and shifting principles; the good ones have consistent grounding principles, believe in those principles, and live by those principles.

Hoke falls into the category of great executives.


March 26th, 2012 at 6:02 PM ^

One other critical quality of a strong HC is the ability to identify, hire, and retain top-notch assistants. Bo has a damn impressive list of assistants in his career, and Hoke appears to me like he might have a similar ability.


March 26th, 2012 at 4:58 PM ^

I brought this up in an earlier thread that got deleted before I could see any responses... Tom Beaver said on the local radio Sunday AM that Josh Furman has not been participating in spring drills. He was being cryptically vague about the reasons why, but the way he was bringing it up made it sound like it wasn't injury-related.


March 26th, 2012 at 5:55 PM ^

I kinda figured that Furman would be a player who ultimately didn't fit the new defense, and was a potential transfer candidate. He has enough athleticism where there is probably a spot on the team somewhere for him, but nowhere ideal. I guess if he wants to transfer for a starting spot elsewhere, now would be the time to do it. 


March 26th, 2012 at 9:07 PM ^

I would have thought he might have at least gotten a look at running back as if I remember he  had a great senior year running the ball coming out of HS and was supposed to have elite level speed if the rumours were true.  

Then again, Cox was always supposed to be the best athlete who could never break into the line up as well.  Sometimes things just do not work out.


March 26th, 2012 at 6:12 PM ^

I think when DiNardo mentioned "scrum" he was referring to the scrimmage. For the second half of practice Saturday they held a squad scrimmage.


March 26th, 2012 at 8:44 PM ^

Honestly...that picture kinda creeps me out...I get the feeling that press conference rooms full of reporters are a little like that, though, in metaphor.


March 27th, 2012 at 11:54 AM ^

When analysts gauge speed, are they actually comparing against some consistent benchmarks, or are they just watching a guy run a drill?

Few things are easier to deceive than human eyes.  This is well-established.  Even a veteran MLB hitter can get lulled by Jamie Moyer changeups into grounding out on an 82mph "fastball".  Point is, even well-trained eyes that know what's coming can have their ability to gauge speed thrown off by as few as 3-4 pitches in the middle of a game.  So, I'd be leery of any opinion made about a guy running an open-field drill after an offseason.  Human vision adjusts too easily.  Frankly, it's what the occipital lobe is wired to do; if your vision DOESN'T adjust then there is something seriously wrong with your brain.

The only real antidote is measuring against consistency.  For example, everyone by now knows that Jordan Kovacs is a very consistent tackler in space.  By his senior year we have a good enough sample of his work ethic and capability to use him as a measuring stick.  If a freshman makes him miss with a slick move, now, I'll call that quick.  It sounds subjective but it's actually the opposite.

Now if the analysts have done that, great, but unfortunately I don't see any context.  I also don't know these analysts, so whether they're scientific about it or egomaniacal about it makes a huge difference on how I interpret something like "impressive young guy".