Fall Camp 2011: Presser Notes 8-23 Comment Count

Tim August 23rd, 2011 at 8:02 PM

photo from file


Captains will be voted on Sunday.

Practice #20 done. Eleven days out from the first game [Ed-M: eeee foootbawwww!]. Starting scout team work for Western tomorrow. "I thought we moved the dial in every area." Need to improve consistency in competitive drills. Defense good one day, the next day it's the offense. You're neutral as head coach, but you want to see the consistency.

On the scrimmage: "Saturday, I thought we were physical. You could hear football being played." Great competition still going on. Saturday standouts: "I thought Troy played pretty well... Brandon Herron showed some signs that were real positive. Offensively, I thought Fitz [Toussaint] carried the ball well, Vince Smith carried the ball well, Michael Shaw has carried the ball well." It was a 120ish-play scrimmage.

Team needs to work on finishing, but goal line and 2-minutes drill had pretty good tempo and intensity.

On the two deep: Players will become aware of the 2-deep soon, but spots aren't locked in. "You can lose that [spot] pretty easily, because we're playing guys who can represent Michigan... They have to meet the expectations for that position every day."

On expectations: "We have high expectations. I really don't care what anybody else thinks." They want to help the kids succeed, both on and off the field. He doesn't worry about managing expectations. Gauging toughness starts during winter conditioning. Build mental toughness by making sure the locker room is disciplined, "mentally being tough enough to take care of that locker room."

"I think the jury's still out" on whether the team will be able to run the ball and stop the run to his satisfaction. They have some physical practices upcoming, but will taper that back as the season approaches.


Are they going to play a second QB in early games? "We haven't really talked about that yet." They may get Devin into early games, to get him experience. It also builds morale to get more guys in earlier.

On running back: Right now, Mike Shaw would be the starter. Toussaint has done good things, Hopkins was better today. "Vincent is a guy on third downs who can do an awful lot. He is a tough, tough guy." Shaw: "He's been more consistent on a daily basis. That's what he really shows the most."

Impressive position groups: The first five on the OL have good chemistry, and they play with good tempo.

Wide receivers: "Our wide receivers, I think they keep... [Ed-M: ?] Jeremy Gallon's a guy we think has done a pretty good job."

On OL depth: "Darrell's got six guys right now that can roll through, I think we're building the seventh." You want five top guys, then develop the young guys behind them as fast as you can. "I think Friday we'll get after it pretty good scrimmage-wise," putting together a couple different lineups.


On Brink: "If we play tomorrow, he'd be the starting 5-technique defensive end." He has great technique, and has to be because he's a little small. "You feel him a lot out on the field."

On the rest of the DL: "Will [Campbell] can play both the three and the 1, Heininger can play all three, and has." You want guys to settle into a comfortable position, but you also want versatility in their positions, so you have flexibility. "Will [Heininger] has the intelligence to do that, because of those different things."

On linebackers: "I think Desmond Morgan's a guy who we think is gonna play football for us. Mike Jones has played a little bit at MIKE and a little bit at WILL. I would say Kenny right now has a pretty solid lock on the MIKE linebacker. Cam is doing a good job. Jake Ryan and Brennen Beyer... All three of those guys are getting snaps." Desmond Morgan was limited today, but will be good. Brandin Hawthorne will be a good player.

On the secondary: "I can tell you that between Troy, JT Floyd, and Courtney Avery, there's tremendous competition." JT and Avery competing at one corner. "I think Thomas Gordan has had a really good camp... I think Kovacs has done a really nice job." He's smart, understands the concepts, can be a QB of the D. Carvin Johnson also good. "Three safeties and three corners right now that we have good competition with." Those guys are all on the field in the dime package.

Special Teams

On Matt Wile: "I think right now we're looking really at between him and Seth punting, and him doing the kickoffs, and between him and Brendan handling the field goals." They'll kick in the stadium Friday, Saturday, and know what they want by Sunday. Brendan Gibbons is kicking the best overall from distance.

On attrition: "It was the right thing for them and what they felt... Sometimes, kids move on for different reasons. Homesick, or whatever it might be." Too early to think if it will affect 2012 recruiting class.



August 23rd, 2011 at 8:42 PM ^

I've decided not to worry so much about Brink potentially starting.  If this were just because Will Campbell wasn't ready to start, Black or Wilkins could be starting at SDE.  This means that Brink is ahead of Campbell, Black and Wilkins.  That makes me believe there is something good about Brink. 

I think it speaks to better depth at SDE than DT.  If Van Bergen plays DT (backed by Campbell/Heninger), that still leave Brink/Black and maybe Wilkens at DE.  Maybe Campbell is more a substitute than a starter at this point and Hoke prefers getting other SDEs on the field.  

Blue in Seattle

August 23rd, 2011 at 11:45 PM ^

I think all this means is Brink is a good enough SDE/5 tech that RVB can surpass Will at the 3 tech, and Roh and Martin have locked up their spots as starters.  But based on how much was described about heavy rotation on the DL, I think we just have to wait and see how much time Will, Q, and Ash get in there, and what the combinations will be.  So rather than wear down Mike Martin and RVB, the DL is going to keep up a fresh rotation of 6-8 good to great talents.  If you consider that Will lacked the personal motivation to get his technique down, this year is kind of like his redshirt freshman/sophomore season he never really had.  So consider what might happen if Will starts to really get it during the games and becomes good enough to be the 1-tech next to Martin's 3-tech?



August 24th, 2011 at 9:39 AM ^

I think we need to all remember Henry Hill, he was a great NT and he was also one of the smallest guys on the DL. It was his quickness that gave him his edge, he beat every OL pretty much every play. If Brink has a quick start from the snap and his leverage is good, why would I care what his "star" ratings are. If the coaches think he can do the job, I am positive he can. I see them rotating in lots of bodies on the DL depending on the down and distance.




August 23rd, 2011 at 8:52 PM ^

I agree with this.  It's not like Brink is starting (potentially) because everyone ahead of him got hurt.  This isn't a case with our CBs last year where true frosh started because we truly didn't have the bodies.  There are a number of scholarship guys who could play DT or SDE and Brink is playing over those other, healthy guys.  Guys that we've seen play and we know aren't clueless.  Guys who had recruiting hype and the offers to back it up.  So if Brink is seeing the field, I highly doubt it's because all of those guys are busts, but rather because Brink is a major over-achiever.


August 24th, 2011 at 12:19 AM ^

I'm glad a number of folks have decided to worry about Brink, but it's unequivocally a bad sign that our highest rated recruit (a legit 5 star) from three years ago can't crack the starting lineup now that he's an upper classman.  I know "Mike Hart was 3 star, so was David Harris, etc" but to get Michigan back into the top tier of the Big 10 (let alone all of college football) you need to a) recruit your share of studs and b) have them perform like said studs, a la Woodley and Graham.  It's pretty depressing the BWC doesn't look like he's really going make much of an impact at U of M unless things dramatically, and unexpectedly, change.

Campbell is only one player and I'm hopeful that pleasant surprises elsewhere (such as the DBs) can make up for the lack of depth/raw talent in other areas, but I'll believe Brink isn't the best of some poor/mediocre options when I see it.  I will be rooting for him and hope he impresses us all - at a minimum, it's a great that his hard work seems to be paying off in getting some PT at Michigan.


August 24th, 2011 at 12:51 AM ^

I get your point that in order to be an elite team you need to recruit well and you need your good recruits to be good players as well, and I agree with that.

But you don't need all of your elite recruits to pan out to be an elite team - no team is so lucky. 

Our DL will have 4-star Mike Martin as a starter, 4-star Ryan Van Bergen as a starter and 4-star Craig Roh as a starter, all returning starters in fact.  Two of our starting linebackers will be 4-star Cam Gordon and 4-star Kenny Demens.  That's at least 5 of the front 7 who are guru approved and currently living up to their billing. 

My point is, every team is going to have big time recruits who don't pan out, and nearly all of them will have 3-stars or worse who turn into starters or even all-conference performers.  The point isn't "David Harris was a 3-star so all 3-stars are awesome," it's "David Harris was a 3-star so don't get pissed or shocked when a guy you thought wasn't a superstar ends up exceeding his expectations and becomes a good/great player."

Only get mad that Nathan Brink is starting if the guys he's starting over are better than him.  But if they're not, then thank God for Nathan Brink.


August 24th, 2011 at 10:12 AM ^

It doesn't make me mad Nathan Brink is starting - I just take the fact that a walk-on RS Sophomore, who's undersized, has apparently beat out BWC as not a good thing, overall. 

I know not every 5-star will be a true "5-star" (e.g., Kevin Grady), but we've already had our share of underperformers with that class (see Donovan Warren) and I was really hoping Mattison/Hoke could work some magic with Will and our "luck" would turn.  BWC is (was?) a talented player for a position group of much need, and it decreases Michigan's margin of error this year if he's not good enough to grab a starting position.   That's all I'm sayng - I don't see these DL developments as a positive (e.g., "Hey, it must mean we have depth!")

It's not doom & gloom, b/c as you pointed out, hopefully Roh will get back on track this year, Demens will build on his strong finish to the year, Martin will stay healthy and dominate like he did in the first half, etc, but I'm just talking about Brink/Campbell.



August 24th, 2011 at 10:39 AM ^

Yeah I get that - as fans we want all of our touted recruits to be as good as they were built up to be.  And when one of the few busts we do have is at the position that can handle it the least, it's even worse.  No doubt I wish BWC was a space-eating run-stuffer extrordinaire as much as anyone, but it looks like that's not happening.  Hopefully, the platoon of guys we have at DL is enough to make up for the lack of individual skill as a couple spots and the offense holds the ball long enough that guys like MM, RVB and Roh don't need a whole lot of rest.


August 24th, 2011 at 10:53 AM ^

I think the first sentence in his post above is closer to the reality of the situation.  It's not that Brink will be starting over BWC (hell, this could all be a smoke-screen anyway), rather that he is less of a liability at SDE than BWC is at the 3-tech.  In other words, it seems to be more advantageous for RVB to slide inside and Brink to play SDE.  That doesn't necessarily mean that if RVB had to slide back out to SDE Brink would play the 3-tech over BWC.  I'm not sure there's any real evidence to back that scenario up, nor is there any real evidence to back any of this shit up. I just think the staff is trying to get the group on the field that minimizes damage and plays soundly first, and has the capability to cause/wreak havoc second.


August 23rd, 2011 at 8:56 PM ^

It is possible that the Brink/Campbell connection doesn't exist at all.  This may just tell us more about Ryan Van Bergen than anybody else (i.e. he be huge).  If RVB is just too big to play anywhere but inside, it isn't much of a shock that he would be ahead of Campbell on the depth chart.  Without RVB at the top of the SDE depth chart, there also aren't really a lot of options save Brink and maybe Heininger and Wilkins (I think the coaches want both Roh and Black on the weak side). 

So there's another totally made up reason to convince ourselves that BWC will still be crushing the skulls of opposing quarterbacks in no time.



August 23rd, 2011 at 9:22 PM ^

Good point there- 290 seems like a lot of beef for Van Bergen to be carrying at SDE. I will indeed be convincing myself that with RVB lining up next to Martin and in front of Demens the middle of the defense will be both smart and stout. Of course if they rotate as much as the coaches say they will most of these guys are going to play anyway, for better or worse.


August 24th, 2011 at 3:07 AM ^

All reports point to Black remaining at WDE where he will get a lot of PT playing behind Roh.  We have enough bodies at SDE (Brink, Wilkins, Henninger, RVB) and at least three more 3 tech/5 tech prospects coming in next year.


August 23rd, 2011 at 8:43 PM ^

I've decided not to worry so much about Brink potentially starting.  If this were just because Will Campbell wasn't ready to start, Black or Wilkins could be starting at SDE.  This means that Brink is ahead of Campbell, Black and Wilkins.  That makes me believe there is something good about Brink. 

I think it speaks to better depth at SDE than DT.  If Van Bergen plays DT (backed by Campbell/Heninger), that still leave Brink/Black and maybe Wilkens at DE.  Maybe Campbell is more a substitute than a starter at this point and Hoke prefers getting other SDEs on the field.  


August 23rd, 2011 at 8:10 PM ^

I think our DBs are going to be a pleasant surprise this year.  If Woolfolk is available to play nickel, you have pretty good depth. 


August 23rd, 2011 at 9:44 PM ^

How much weight do you put on Gibbons' success during practice, when he had apparent success last fall practice (unless I am mistaken) yet struggled during the games? On the other hand, how much weight do you put on Wile's lack of experience in front of 110K people!
<br>I'm guessing Gibbons kicks FGs for the Opener. If he's good, it's a happy surprise. If he sucks, then put Wile in. If Wile plays the Opener and sucks (even if just due to nerves and not inability) it might damage his confidence. This is a similar strategy to NFL rookie quarterbacks, I think.


August 24th, 2011 at 2:29 AM ^

Because RR didn't pan out and Gibbons hasn't panned out it's RR's fault Gibbons didn't pan out? Not following your logic here. By the same logic any current player that underachieves would be done no favors by hoke.

Look, most of us have moved on from RR; there's no need to throw him under the bus at every opportunity.


August 24th, 2011 at 6:58 AM ^

I assume that he was talking about RR publicly stating before the Wisconsin game that he hoped the team wouldfind a kicker on the way to the game. Not exactly a good way to boost the confidence of your young struggling kicker. Also, as has been discussed to death on many other threads, right or wrong, rr's style of screaming at players pretty regularly during practice may not have been good for this kid.


August 24th, 2011 at 10:35 AM ^

it was very definitive that the people advocating that RR's "screaming" was detrimental were both in the minority and more importantly, definitively wrong based ion the facts of great coaches past and present.


August 23rd, 2011 at 8:31 PM ^

I may draw some fire, but I find it strange that Hoke specifically mentions a bunch of players and then playing well even though most of them aren't starters.  Even more strange to me is the effect it has on players he doesn't mention.  I guess what I'm saying is that it seems he is singling people out in a strange way.  Am I reading his pressers wrong?



August 23rd, 2011 at 8:58 PM ^

I've been wondering the same thing.  We haven't heard much about RVB, Washington (while not a starter, I would have but him in the "starting rotation" before fall camp), anybody on the line (although have heard of them as a whole), Hemingway.  It's got to be coach speak, or he's not worried about those guys, or something.  Could be a bunch of misdirection.  Didn't someone point out that Fitz was taking RB snaps with the 1's just as the press was quickly escorted out because they were starting the part of practice no one should see?  And then he says that Shaw would be the starter.  Who knows.


August 23rd, 2011 at 9:31 PM ^


Our opponents know we have dilithium.  OTOH Big Will lining up at full back against That Trade School in South Bend can provide the element of convenient surprise.  (As with Gibbons justifying the scholarship money.)  Which element we ought take advantage of before opponents grasp our Who's Who registry and both shoals and injuries exact their tolls later in the season.  Brady is simply working it.  Don't expect any semblance of clarity until after a few games are played.  I'll take the category 'chaos' with extra W's in the column for a thousand, Bob.


August 23rd, 2011 at 9:34 PM ^

...just respond better to constant positive reinforcement. I think Hoke is singling out certain players to help with their confidence. Some players you scream at, some you pat on the back. Denard, Martin, ect they know they are good and Hoke knows he can count on them. The other guysmay be right on that edge, and Hoke is using the media to help nudge them over the hump.

At least that was my experience as a former player. I always got screamed at though....I could of used a hug (((sniff))).