[Isaiah Hole/247 Sports]
How badly did you want to get out there with them?
“I wanted to but I pulled a muscle. Hip flexor that I acquired playing softball at Camp MIchigania a couple weeks ago. Still with me. Played softball with—it was the dads versus the camp staff members.”
Double the pain? Hurt then and hurts not to get out there?
[Inaudible because of the construction at Oosterbaan, which looks like it’s coming along nicely.] “Had a nice meeting with the AS Roma staff: their CEO, their general manager, their coach. Had a good talk. There’s some similarities for sure. It was good to see them.”
Are you guys going to the game?
“I don’t know. I’m going but I don’t know if the whole team is going. I think they’d consider that an impermissible benefit, so…they can watch it on TV.”
One of your players suggested the Oklahoma drill. How do you think the soccer players would have done?
“Uh, they would have done good. They were very competitive. You could see it. Especially Kevin [Strootman]. Really enjoyed watching him go through the drills. He’s a guy that’s overcome some real adversity: two ACL injuries. To make it back to the level that he’s playing at right now is very impressive.”
Are there any skills that soccer players possess that you’d like to see your football team pick up?
“I don’t think there’s a better game for running. In terms of running and eye-foot coordination, there’s really no other game like it. I always encourage youngsters in America to play soccer. I think every American boy should play soccer until the eighth grade and then they should play football.”
You learn any preparation tips when you were out there in Italy watching AS Roma, from the team?
“Just the conversations. We never did actually get to watch Roma practice, and then they played their game the day after we left. Very interesting, some of the tips I have gotten from them, is in the way they practice. High intensity, hour-and-a-half to two-hour practices. No breaks. There’s just something about their preparation style. Fergus Connelly, who’s been doing a great job here, came from the football leagues in England and Scotland, so I know for a fact there’s a couple of crossovers and things that we are learning, have learned, and will continue to learn.”
[After THE JUMP: “All deep breaths have been taken now. It’s time to train and get ready for the season.”]
Are you ready to start American football this season?
“That’s the question. Yeah, that’s the burning question. Well, we start practice Monday, July 31st. Training has been going well as our guys continue the preparations to get started. Very much—all deep breaths have been taken now. It’s time to train and get ready for the season.”
One of your players said the younger guys seem more ready than younger guys in other years. Do you agree?
“I don’t know. We’ll find out. Just kind of been looking in through the keyhole. Seen them working out a few times but they’re in the weight room with the strength staff. We’ll soon find out.”
Do you have your practice schedule set?
“Oh yeah, for sure. You have to. [Inaudible] you have to adjust the practice schedule. So it’s all been adjusted. The schedule’s all been made. Practices all planned out for the next year. All the rules necessary to be put into the schedule have been put it.
“For instance, there are new time demands: 14 additional days off during the school year, which have all been planned for; one day off a week in training camp, that’s been planned for; move the training camp up seven days, which is part of the new rules; no two-a-days. All new rules have been implemented and planned for.”
What are the benefits for the student-athletes and the challenges for the coaches?
“No challenges. I think it’s very good, very common-sense. I don’t think there’s any industry anymore that’s doing the—not getting a day off or doing two-a-days or three-a-days. Pilots don’t do it; resident surgeons, they don’t do sleep deprivation anymore; neither does the military. It just makes sense that there should be a day given off per week. Makes all the sense in the world to me.”
Can you tell our bosses that?
“Hasn’t caught up to the journalistic profession yet?”
Are you personally getting antsy? Getting the football dreams coming through again?
“Oh yeah. Yeah, they’ve already begun. Just chomping at the bit, ready to go.”
Drake Johnson: Is he transferring? Do you know what his status is? Supposedly he got his medical year.
“Drake Johnson is going to continue at Michigan. He’s going to take classes this fall. The latest is he’s not going to participate in football. He’s going to concentrate on track. He’ll be here for another year.”
What do you want the guys to take from all this, when you went overseas, things like today, when you’re in those practices in August? What do you want them to take away from it off the field?
“The things that they took away from it. It’s individual to everybody, I think. For me personally, the best thing I’ve ever done as part of a football team was our trip to Rome as a team, made better by all the stories and experiences and things that each and every other person took away from it. Just listen to them about what it meant to them and what they learned. It opened up their world, you know.
“It’s a big world out there and it was good to see a lot of it and another culture and to see things you’ve never seen before; to see structures that are 2,000 years old, just by seeing them—and connecting with people. Connecting with the folks from AS Roma and hundreds and thousands, really thousands of people when you go through each and every person and who they connected with. Just unbelievable.”
The decision for Corey Malone-Hatcher, what all went into that and how long of a process was that? How long were you guys thinking about that?
“Well, it was something that Corey in conjunction with the doctors and trainers decided was in his best interest and the right, fair path for him to take. Really was not on any strain in that decision. I support it from the standpoint of being very supportive of what Corey and the doctors thought was best.”
And he’s still here in school here?
“Yeah, still in school. As he said, I thought he said it very well: it’s a disappointment for his family, for him, for his coaches, for everybody concerned. In terms of football, there was high hopes there but as he said, and I thought he said it very well, you can still get a great education, still be a Michigan man, and be able to participate as a student-intern. There’s other ways that he can contribute.”
So with those changes, media will be coming to practice this year? Is that part of the change?
“Um, what’d—what? [Laughs] I don’t know anything about that.”
[Through a grin] “I don’t know what you’re talking about there.” [Motions to the practice field behind] “You guys always get such great access.”
I just wanted to see if you’d buy it.
“You were just complaining about how much you have to work!”