Media Day Things

Submitted by Brian on July 26th, 2013 at 12:24 PM

It came and went with one piece of news—Antonio Poole's departure—and a lot of mean questions for Urban Meyer. Brady Hoke said Brady Hoke things, like eight wins is "unacceptable" and anything other than winning the Big Ten is "failure." The usual.

The interesting thing


Gordon needs to be the new Kovacs

The most interesting thing to come out of the media day annually is Michael Spath asking the assembled players to talk about Michigan last year.

In there you've got Kovacs confirmation:

"[Jordan Kovacs] is a guy that on film doesn't look that special, not compared to some of the guys out there, but ask our coaches and there was no one they respected more. Our defensive coordinator said he could play for our team any day because he's just so smart, such a great leader, and he plays mistake-free football. Sure enough we play them and you just can't get anything past him. He doesn't go for ball-fakes, doesn't buy play-action, and every time you look downfield, he's there, just waiting for it."

Unfortunately, that's immediately followed by a statement that Thomas Gordon may be a better athlete but was "very average" and that it was all about Kovacs.

On Frank Clark:

"We saw some film of him from early in the season and then some stuff from the last few games, and he was a different player. When we saw him, he was motivated. He played pissed off, and he was really a force."

Come on, hype, be true. I don't know who that could be, since I don't remember Clark having a major impact in any game save Ohio State, and that impact was not exactly a block-shedding spectacular:

On the offensive side of the ball, here is something you probably already know but it's good to get it confirmed:

"The thing that really stood out to us was how bad their guards were at pulling. Half the time the running back would be the first guy to the hole and we had a linebacker waiting there. They're supposed to be paving the way but they were so sloppy and so out of position even when they were out ahead you could simply sidestep them or outmuscle them because they had lost their leverage."

Sad face. Michigan needs to improve drastically there, and probably well. In other news, Funchess is delicately called a finesse player and marveled at as a "freak". And yeah, we were weirded out by this Gallon thing too:

"I don't know how tall [Jeremy Gallon] is but that kid can really sky. We were watching film after a game we lost and our coaches were really hard on one of our guys because he lost a jump ball to Gallon, but then the next week he did it again, and then the next week again. That guy is little but he can play."

Offensive line: set-ish


oblig "Ben Braden is preposterously large" picture via Tim Sullivan

The other thing emerging from the roundtables is that the battle to start at guard has been basically resolved—it's Braden along with Kalis.

Hoke confirmed Thursday that physical redshirt freshmen Ben Braden and Kyle Kalis have separated themselves at left and right guard, respectively. That development was anticipated.

"I don't know if you ever feel great until you get through a season with new guys, but I like the work ethic of Kalis and Braden and those two guys from a genetics standpoint, for what we're looking for in an offensive lineman," the coach said during the second day of Big Ten media days at the Chicago Hilton.

Graham Glasgow is now pushing Jack Miller at center:

At center, Lewan was quick to insist people shouldn't write off walk-on Graham Glasgow. "He's 6-6 and nasty. He does whatever you ask him to do. If it's the end of a long practice and they want us back out there, he's the first one."

Morris: prepping

Take what you will from this:

"(Morris) came to campus a little bit earlier than some of the guys," Hoke said during a breakout session during Big Ten media days at the Chicago Hilton. "From what I know, he's had a good summer to this point. I think he's done a nice job learning. I think Devin's done a nice job with him. I think (fellow QB candidate) Brian Cleary's done a nice job with him.

"He'll be in good shape coming into fall camp."

Hopefully he won't be needed to do anything more than mop up.

Can't be going to the bars with doctor pig


the internet has a hit for "gary busey pig." go internet

Lewan on Darrell Funk, who looks way too much like Gary Busey to be so relentlessly controlled:

"He has never told a joke in his entire life. The man has never told a joke, ever, but he is so funny. He's hilarious. He's so dry - he'll walk into a meeting and say, 'OK guys, couple of things - can't be going to the bars, guys. Can't be doing that. You like going to the bars, Bosch? Can't be doing that.' It's like, What? His delivery cracks me up."

More on the short lived run of Dr. Hamlet III:

Where do you find a pig? Craigslist, of course. The linemen pooled their money and spent $250 for a teacup pig. As for the robust name?

"I don't know," he said. "I just wanted my pig to have a Ph.D."

So say we all.



July 26th, 2013 at 3:31 PM ^

I'm not learned enough to judge interior line adjustments (or deficiencies) from one system to another, but Denard's passing efficieny was hurt by Denard being a very inefficient (and inaccurate) passer.  That's why his NFL squad created an entirely new (and seemingly accurate) position for him - Offensive Weapon (OW).


July 26th, 2013 at 3:47 PM ^

I agree with you that Denard had accuracy issues, but the system a QB plays in can enable a lesser passer to be more efficient.  One of the things that RR's system did well was utilize short passes and create situations where WRs are open enough that a pass needn't be super accurate (See: QB Oh Noes).  This made Denard a more effecient passer than in a more traditional drop back offense.  It's not uncommon for a QB to become more or less efficient simply by changing the offensive system. 

El Jeffe

July 26th, 2013 at 4:41 PM ^

This is pretty much what I was getting at. Denard has his problems, no doubt, but when your numbers go like this

Year Comp. % TD INT Effic.
2010 62.5 18 11 149.58
2011 55.0 20 15 139.74
2012 53.3 9 9 126.64

I tend to look to the coaching transition. Not that this was a bad thing. Hoke Uber Alles and all that, but Denard's 2011 and 2012 stats probably would have looked different but for the transition.


July 26th, 2013 at 2:04 PM ^

Both of the guys in question were 5th year seniors who had been with our coaches for just over a year when last season began.  If you're a 4th year OG and you can't pull worth a damn by then, you aren't going to be good in one year, regardless of how good the coaches are.

Omameh and Barnum were both a little undersized, couldn't pull, and had no viable backups.  This is not our current staff's fault.  

The real test will be how our guards look in 2014 - they will be third year players and returning starters.  If they aren't polished then, blame our coaches.  Anything until then is on the previous staff for not recruiting any guards. 


July 26th, 2013 at 4:16 PM ^

I didn't say we needed to wait 4 years to evaluate a position coach, just his work with the guards.  The first two years we were using RR leftovers at OG (who weren't exactly lighting the world on fire before Hoke either) and because of poor recruiting, we're forced to play youngsters this year.  Outside of Lewan and Schofield, RR really didn't recruit a single All-Big Ten level OL, though Pace had that potential. 

In addition to the words you chose, that blockquote also said that our guards could be outmuscled.  If they were in the 315-325 range instead of the 290-305 range, that may not have happened.  I know Omameh could move, but that doesn't mean he could pull - one is just athleticism, and the other is an actual skill that he apparently never learned. 


July 27th, 2013 at 10:54 AM ^

But pulling is a particular skill. The previous offense didn't pull linemen, so it didn't make sense for the coaches to teach their players to do something the offense didn't call for. I'm sure out current coaches thought them to pull, but that's not easy to get really good at in one year.

What is your explanation for them sucking at it?


July 26th, 2013 at 12:46 PM ^

Hopefully the safety play remains consistent without Kovacs in there. His loss will probably equate to a few more big plays, but I'm hoping his absence won't be felt too greatly.


July 26th, 2013 at 12:53 PM ^

the pig didn't last.  Would have been a great shirt. "I just wanted my pig to have a Ph.D."

Fantastic quote. 

Definitely sad face on the old guards, (center too IMHO).


July 26th, 2013 at 12:59 PM ^

Hard to replace Brovac's leadership and heart...however his performance against SC on that last drive haunts me, I'm looking forward to having better athletes at the safety position.

Wee-Bey Brice

July 26th, 2013 at 1:15 PM ^

So basically we need Thomas Gordon to play mistake free, Frank Clark to play like the incredible hulk, Jeremy Gallon to play like Jeremy Gallon, Devin Funchess to play like he doesn't mind gettin his nails dirty, Kalis and Braden to play like fifth year seniors, and Shane Morris to never actually have to play at all.

That shouldn't be too hard...


July 26th, 2013 at 3:35 PM ^

Devin wasn't an unknown; actually, it's the opposite.  The coaches knew what they had.  If I recall, even with the RR staff, they felt that he was a combination of Denard's legs and Tate's arm.  The staff knew how good Devin is/can be, but Denard's talent (in spite of his lack of proper position) made a change impossible.


July 26th, 2013 at 4:31 PM ^

but we were all in the dark. All we had really seen of DG before last year was periodic flailing when he was brought into games. I vividly remember him chucking the would-be-TD against MSU where he was like 5 yards past the LOS and wondered if he was ever gonna figure it out. I don't think anyone knew how good he would be before he started plunking mid-level Big Ten teams


July 26th, 2013 at 4:58 PM ^

Speak for yourself, Kemosabe.  I think the love on this site for Denard might have blinded some people a bit.  With my group of friends (and folks more knowledgeable than my friends and I), the thought has been, "I can't wait for Devin to get his turn; he's got so much potential."  Lots of people knew.  Just maybe not lots here.


July 26th, 2013 at 7:01 PM ^

You have mentioned this before, and I certainly get the point, but on that MSU play, he was a little over a yard past the line, and had done a nice job of evading the rush and buying more time on that play; his tendency so far has been to be a bit late on his recognition and hence his throws, and he was in that instance too. It's not as if he looked completely hopeless and then by miracle of miracles he came into the last 5 games last year with some newfound skill set. He just looked raw, because he was. Shane Morris will probably have some moments like that this year and maybe next year too.


July 26th, 2013 at 7:41 PM ^

I hear you...but you're basing a lot on one play.  How many "one play's" could you find Denard looking bad in a throwing capacity?   All I'm saying is that a lot of people have been excited to see Devin play/start...and they've been excited for a long, long time. 

Leaders And Best

July 26th, 2013 at 10:02 PM ^

After the 2012 spring game, there were some doubts about whether Gardner would ever reach his potential. He lost the backup competition to Russell Bellomy last year. Even the coaches and Gardner himself have admitted that he had not prepared as well as he should have in his first two years.

Besides we are not talking about what the coaches know anyway. Of course, the coaches have a better feel for what they have on the team. Remember these are interviews with opposing players who may know even less than Michigan fans about our new starters and freshmen.

French West Indian

July 26th, 2013 at 1:20 PM ^

Anything other than a Big Ten championship is a failure?  So our coach is admitting that he's been a failure so far? 

Perhaps I'm missing the context of that quote and although it's nice to win, the coach of Michigan should understand that there are more ways to succeed than just on the field (academics, graduating, keeping players out jail, etc.)


July 26th, 2013 at 2:36 PM ^

His expectation is a Big 10 Title. He isn't commenting on academics, individual performances, politics, the toast at Angelo's or avoiding phone calls at 3:30 AM.

He has only mentioned that about 5,653 times now, but yeah, I suppose you missed the context.

His Dudeness

July 26th, 2013 at 1:49 PM ^

"The thing that really stood out to us was how bad their guards were at pulling. Half the time the running back would be the first guy to the hole and we had a linebacker waiting there. They're supposed to be paving the way but they were so sloppy and so out of position even when they were out ahead you could simply sidestep them or outmuscle them because they had lost their leverage." 


Mr. Yost

July 26th, 2013 at 8:02 PM ^

I just watched the N'Western game and Barnum blew at least 3 assignments in the short time I was watching. 2 of them he was pulling and just got in Fitz' way to the point where he had to slow down. Both times he was tackled for around a 4-5 yard loss.


July 26th, 2013 at 3:39 PM ^

Reading the tea leaves, it seems like Thomas Gordon learned a lot from Kovacs in terms of leadership, and saw what it meant to the team to have a player like that anchoring the defense: the senior captain as the last line of defense, whom everyone on the team could count on. One gets the impression that Gordon intends to be that man this year, and is taking his job seriously. I think we can all agree this would be an excellent thing.

Mr. Yost

July 26th, 2013 at 8:04 PM ^

Because I don't think Wilson is able to do it from a tackling/toughness/in the box standpoint. I think Wilson is a centerfielder that we need on the back end. The problem is that he's still young and prone to give up big plays...Gordon is a nice saftey net.


July 26th, 2013 at 3:21 PM ^

the Braden-Kalis duo, and about the o-line in general. Kalis and Braden, in particular, are very very large human beings who also happen to be pretty athletic and have pretty good football smarts. I know that they will be relatively fresh to the college game but I have a good feeling about the o-line. At least four of the first five games seems to be total tune-up games (and, personally, I don't think that ND will be that good either). Once they get past the newbie-starter jitters, that o-line wil be humming along just fine.