Practice Twitter Dump

Submitted by Brian on August 13th, 2010 at 12:27 PM

roundtree-schilling denard-robinson-fall-practice-2010

With Rodriguez ramping up the media restrictions in the wake of the Jihad and the Daily publishing details of that edge pitch play they debuted against Iowa, glimpses from within Michigan's early practices have been rare. This has ticked off the Blade guy, but come on Blade guy, what do you expect? Rodriguez tried.

Anyway, the Big Ten Network has stopped by and the twitters are lighting up with 140-character bursts of potentially useful information. They are collected below, organized by position and theme. I won't link to each individual tweet but they can be found at @BTNDaveRevsine and @BTNBrentsBlog (by Brent Yarina).


Based on today - tough call on QB situation. All 3 have had some good moments. DR clearly improved as a passer.  [Revsine]

Devin Gardner can't put a pass in the wrong place here early on. Rapid fire drill, he's on the money with everything. [Yarina]

Gardner definitely looks like he could get snaps. He's very impressive, but Denard has improved as a passer quite a bit. [Yarina]

It's one day, but #Michigan looks good. If I was making choice, I'd split snaps between Robinson and Gardner. DG is good. [Yarina]

Denard Robinson looks like a completely different passer. Add the threat of pass to his running ability, and #Michigan could give d's fits. [Yarina]

He [Tate] was banged up today. But emergence of Gardner and Denard's improved passing don't help. [Yarina]

UPDATE: one more from Revsine, responding to MVictors about a QB question:

I would definitely say Gardner is in convo - impressive kid. G&H seem to think Robinson is the best of the 3. Tough call.

The Mystery Of The Wingless Helmets

Yarina posted this picture:

tate-forcier-no-wingsYou'll note that Forcier's helmet is plain blue, sans wings. A twitter guy named GoBlueNColumbus (ouch) caught this and started pinging Yarina with questions:

The #Michigan people told us not to read anything into the lack of wings on some helmets. [Yarina]

Didn't pay too much attention [to who didn't have them], to be honest. As far as big names go, though, he was the only one I noticed. [Yarina]

Meanwhile, Rodriguez after the first practice on the "handful" of guys not prepared to play football:

"If they don't [improve their conditioning] they will not have the opportunity to wear the winged helmet on Sept. 4 [in season opener against Connecticut]," Rodriguez said.

Dollars to donuts the plain helmets are a motivational device and that Forcier's absence at offseason workouts has put him in the bad group. They didn't accidentally hand last year's starting quarterback a plain helmet. [UPDATE: Maybe they did? A Countdown to Kickoff video shows Tate in the regular helmet.]

Michigan's facebook page has a set of 20 photos that does not reveal anyone else in the bad group but do show Koger, who had been rumored to be in the handful, in possession of wings.

Various Individuals Mentioned

At Michigan's practice. Love the "M" drill - runner trying to get thru 3 levels of blocking. Saw good moments from Michael Cox & W Campbell [Revsine]

Great energy in 1 on 1 tackle drill. Vlad Emilien just had a big time hit. Sweet move earlier out of Terrance Robinson. [Revsine]

Vladimir Emilien just made a bone-crushing hit on a 1-on-1 drill. The entire defense celebrated the hit. [Yarina]

Good team drill going on right now. Jeremy Jackson looks like he could help at WR. D Robinson clicking nicely with the short stuff. [Revsine]

Marvin Robinson, Brandin Hawthorne and Courtney Avery among the others who had good moments [Revsine]

Gerry and Howard both impressed with Jibreel Black. DiNardo also likes the way Patrick Omameh has looked today. [Revsine]

Loss of Mesko is obviously a concern, but the frehman Hagerup has really boomed a few [Revsine]


One thing's for sure: #Michigan coaches are very intense and vocal. [Yarina]

Mike Martin on difference between this year's defense: "I think we're a lot closer." [Yarina]

Take it for what you will. I'll update this with any subsequent information.



August 13th, 2010 at 12:58 PM ^

My joy will come though, when I see him understanding, realizing he fucked up, and working his ass off to get back in with the team.  Kids make bad choices, if he owns up to them, he can make it right for himself and his teammates. 

If he's that far behind physically though, he can't make up in 4 weeks what the other guys have been doing for 8 months.  Nonetheless, start now and make it work


August 13th, 2010 at 1:04 PM ^

It sounds like Denard will be the starter on September 4th, but I really hope that Tate isn't thrown to the wolves metaphorically by the coaching staff or the fans.  I will reiterate - Robinson may look great now in practices and the spring game, but we have absolutely no idea how that will translate during a real game.  He could get hurt, be flumoxed by different/better defenses, or simply stumble as he naturally matures into a starting QB.  But if that happens and Tate is beaten down emotionally and mentally, then we are trusting a third season to the ability of a first-year QB, and that spells 6-6 or worse. 

I'm sure there are behind-the-scenes issues surrounding the QBs, but unless DG is just obliterating Tate in practice, I want that redshirt on DG all year long.


August 13th, 2010 at 1:09 PM ^

I think everyone on this blog wants to see Denard do it in a game before we take our other foot and put it on board as well. 

That being said - it's not like he didn't get QB reps last year.  So we're not talking about someone who hasn't been there before.  Just, someone who has been there before - but not looked nearly this good.


August 13th, 2010 at 2:19 PM ^

I agree that he had reps last year and there is a very good chance he has made marked improvements, and my argument is that I will stamp my ticket on the Denard Robinson experience if these improvements are visible on the field.  But to that end, I don't really care who starts at QB - I loved Brady when he was at UM and thought he should start over Henson, but ultimately I am cheering for the laundry.  Lead UM to a bowl game win, and I don't care if it is Jordan Kouvacs taking snaps under center.

My bigger issue has been the near-constant undertone of Tate-bashing that has been going on in the media and, to a lesser extent, on this blog.  I respect RR and trust that he knows what he is doing, but I grew up in the Bo - Moeller - Carr era, in which (with few exceptions) the position battles and criticisms were largely kept in-house.  Sure, everyone remembers Braylon, but that was just Carr and everyone kind of knew that he was just pushing Edwards to be better.  At this point, though, we have RR, Woolfolk, and a couple of "sources" taking shots at Tate, and I'm not sure at what point constructive criticism becomes detrimental to his progression as a player.  Tate was already down after how last year ended, and while recovering from a major shoulder injury it sounds like he had some maturity issues that needed to be addressed.  I fully expect those to be handled by the captains and coaching staff.

But if Denard struggles or goes down, Tate or DG are next in line to start under center.  For as good as DG has apparently looked in practice, he's still a freshman and I want him to remain firmly planted on the bench this year.  But if Tate has no confidence in himself and that this coaching staff and teammates believe in him, he is not going to perform like he needs to for this team to win.  So yeah, kick him in the butt if he needs it, but remember that at some point the guy still needs to sit down.


August 13th, 2010 at 9:38 PM ^

for sure, but that isn't bashing.  From what I have heard and read, he has deserved what teammates and coaches have said about him (he needs to work harder and mature, etc.).

I have said on this blog at least a couple of times that I won't be surprised if DG is #1 BEFORE Denard and Tate graduate.  Remember, DG has been here for spring practice (just like Tate was last year), he is used to running a RR style offense and he is a bigger/stronger QB than either of the other two.  I say, if he is #2 or better this year, give him a shot.  Why save him for 5 years down the road?

Walsh-Mart Wolverine

August 13th, 2010 at 3:02 PM ^

Denard will be fine if,and when, it's his turn to lead the team. 

Remember the Iowa game last year? Denard had significant quality reps in one of the toughest environments to play in (at night nonetheless). If I remember correctly, he brought the team back and had us in position to win if not for a freshmen mistake. 

Also, If what I am reading is accurate, Denard should have all the bugs worked out and ready to drop 40+ on UConn. 

That being said,  I have confidence that if Denard gets the nod on Sep. 4 he will not disappoint.  However, I'm all in regardless of who takes the first snap. 

On another note, this is my first post at MGoBlog.  I was really reluctant to post because  I usually just read the comments.  But, that hasn't worked well for me the last couple years (considering how things have turned out), so I  figured I'd take a new approach.    

Hopefully, I will be able to add value to the board. 


August 13th, 2010 at 1:13 PM ^

But would you keep him off the field so that his four years are improved by the redshirt year?

I mean obviously a lot depends on Tate/Denard.  If they are terrible, Devin will play; if they are incredible, no need to burn the redshirt.

But still, just because a guy is great, that doesn't mean you don't redshirt.  Especially a qb who can always use some extra polish.

 I think we are all forgetting with our lack of depth the last couple of years that the standard for most teams is to redshirt freshmen - especially qbs and offensive linemen.


August 13th, 2010 at 1:29 PM ^

Gardner should not see the field unless he gives the team a better chance to win than Forcier or Robinson. (If one of the two gets hurt, Gardner will probably have to play unless the other one develops a Navarre-like ability to avoid getting banged up even temporarily.)

I think it's a terrible mistake to throw away a player's 5th year senior season just because he looks good enough to play as a true freshman.


August 13th, 2010 at 1:07 PM ^

It's hard not to feel good about the team after today.

Yes, I know that the BTN guys have incentive to pump up every B10 school - but still it looks good to me. 

It will be interesting to see what happens against UConn, but I would cackle at you if you told me "Tate will start, Denard will get a little more reps than last year, and Devin won't play".  That would have been a good assumption in March.  Now?  Not so much...


August 13th, 2010 at 1:10 PM ^

1) when Rich says not fast enough, I am wondering if he means not fast enough in between plays. You cannot confuse a defense as much if you are taking too long to get set up, get the play, and sanp the ball ...

2) the improved, common language on defense has to help. It seems to me our defense did better last year in the first half versus the second half. I am wondering if part of the reason for that is game planning, versus second half adjustments. If the staff planned well, and the defense executed in the first half (see Illinois), then the defense was effective. The problem really came when the opponent made effective second half adjustments, and then the defense had to adjust during the game. With lack of common terminology, making those adjustments understandable between box, coaches on the field and players would be very difficult. Hopefully this commonality helps with communication of adjustments ...

3) Tate looks boy-like compared to Denard and Devon. Now, the BTN guys even seem to put DG in front of him. He isn't getting much video coverage. And then there are Troy's comments. While all this could be a smoke screen, I think he's really behind the eight ball. What was he thinking? (If we knew who else had helmets with no wings, we could better determine if it's a new helmet, or a motivation tactic.)


August 13th, 2010 at 1:20 PM ^

I'm sorry if this has already been addressed on here, but the rumors I have been hearing are that Tate may have had mono fairly recently.  This would explain his loss of weight and his falling behind of the other QBs.  Perhaps it wasn't a bad case and he tried to train through it? Maybe somebody smarter than me has more information about this, like i said, nothing more than a rumor.


August 13th, 2010 at 1:43 PM ^

What if Tate DID have Mono, and they all got together and thought it would be hilarious to put one over on us. What if Wolfolk was having fun with it when he said Tate was diseased? And then he was conveniently "banged up" today.


August 13th, 2010 at 1:12 PM ^

Split snaps between DRob and DG?

This season will either be MASS DESTRUCTION OF DEATH for opposing teams, or OMG STOP THROWING THE BALL TO THE OTHER TEAM.

I am officially terrified.


August 13th, 2010 at 1:16 PM ^

Here's my guess.

"Tate, I'm taking your wings."

"But why, Coach?"

"Because you didn't do the work in the off season."

"So I can't play?"

"Nobody without wings can play. But if you have a good camp for me, show me you're ready to work and be responsible, and you'll get your wings back. Then we'll have some real competition."

Six Zero

August 13th, 2010 at 1:30 PM ^

Bo would've hated Twitter.  So much for buckling down the insider info coming out of Fort Shembechler, at least as long as the devious Dave Revsine has his infamous phone handy!!


August 13th, 2010 at 1:48 PM ^

A random thought I had - Tate (and others on the team) wears a Schutt helmet, whereas the Riddells are more common on the team. Maybe there was some delay in delivering the refurbed helmets from Schutt? Maybe that guy hasn't finished hand-painting them yet? Or maybe Tate's head is just shaped differently this season and he had to order a new helmet.

I don't know about  plain helmets as a motivational tactic - since the whole point of doing something like that would be to shame the players in the doghouse, why would you make them wear it, then make a statement that they don't mean anything? If you wanted to keep it private, you wouldn't do something obvious to outsiders.

Making someone wear a helmet of shame and then claiming it is not a helmet of shame defeats the purpose, sort of like building a Doomsday Device and keeping it a secret.


August 13th, 2010 at 2:04 PM ^

Just because RR tells the media the wingless helmets don't mean anything doesn't mean the team hasn't heard differently from the coaching staff. I think if they told the players, "no wings, no playing" then regardless of how the coaches shrug it off to the press it could still be a useful motivator.


August 13th, 2010 at 3:42 PM ^

Right, but if you're trying to hide it from the outside world, you wouldn't do something so blatant as to cause rampant speculation. I'm sure there are plenty of ways to motivate through shame that would be entirely invisible and/or incomprehensible to anyone but the team. On the other hand, if you were trying to make it a public shaming, the helmet thing would be perfect (as long as you said as much to the public).


August 13th, 2010 at 2:12 PM ^

Have you ever watched 12'O Clock High? Maybe Tate is the equivalent of Lieutenant Colonel Ben Gately - the group executive officer who is demoted by his new commander and assigned to command The Leper Colony (the plane where all the screw ups are assigned too). If so, Tate should take note of Gately's speech to his misfit aircrew.

My point: shaming someone who clearly should be leading is a motivation tactic that can work.


August 13th, 2010 at 3:50 PM ^

No.... watch the video highlights.  Tate has a winged helmet on when he is playing, but when he is gassed on the sideline he isn't allowed to wear one.  JRob also is wingless WHEN HE IS ON THE SIDELINES.

This is a motivational tool, and a good one at that.  If you are out of shape, you don't get to represent Michigan in a winged helmet while you are sucking wind.  The better shape you get into, the more you get to wear the wings because the more you can be on the field participating. [or something like that]