The program had its draft for the spring game over the weekend, right?
What kind of experience was it like for the coaches and the players seeing them all-
“Oh, it’s a great experience, yeah! It’s something that we’ve done in the past with coach Harbaugh so it’s an exciting time. You go through the roster and you pick out your strengths and weakness and you pick out your positions and you’re going through and strategizing as the draft goes on because you have to fill those positions and make sure you don’t lose out on somebody. Really as a coaching staff it makes you a better coach because you’re trying to build a team and build them to strength, so it was a fun time. Really fun.”
What was your draft strategy?
“Well, you’ll see that on Saturday.”
Is there going to be trash talk between you and DJ?
“No, we wouldn’t do that. Nah, we wouldn’t do that. DJ’s a good guy, but we’re competitive, which is fun.”
Where are you now with the offensive line, and Graham [Glasgow] is back practicing with the team?
“Yeah! Graham’s back, he’s back and glad he’s back, and the offensive line is- they’re doing good. They’ve taken another step forward, which we’ve foreseen them to do and they’re on track and I think finishing up the Thursday practice, Saturday practice, pushing into the strength and conditioning phase and then going into training camp, they’re right on track and they’re taking steps forward, which is really, really exciting.”
Did Graham missing time stunt the development there for those guys?
“No, it didn’t stunt [their growth]. If somebody’s not around somebody’s got to step in and that’s what we preach and it worked out just fine.”
Mason Cole was getting work at center-
“Yeah! We put Mason in there, which was good for Mason. He’s an athletic guy and did some really, really good things there so that’s good for Mason and it’s good for Michigan.”
[After THE JUMP: Jim Harbaugh, talent evaluator extraordinaire, and we circle back to the center]
Is that something where you see that as part of his long-term plan?
“You know, I kind of look at it as an NFL approach because on gameday sometimes you only suit up seven to eight guys, and you might only keep nine on the roster on the offensive line so there always has to be versatility. A guy that plays guard can’t just play guard, he’s got to play center and guard so I’m always trying to look through that lens of trying to make things better and always have a plan and looking down the road will Mason be a center? I can’t answer that now, but I got a good look at him and it’s our job as coaches to always evaluate ever day our roster and what we have.”
Did every lineman work at a different position this spring?
“Uh, no, there’s some guys that stayed at the tackle position but there’s a few that moved around.”
Do you have a feel for who your five best lineman are and any chance you’d like to share some of those?
“Not right now I don’t. They’re all competing and they’re all doing good. We’re not ready to name any starters and we’ll see as we push on.”
How have Alex and Brian improved from when they first started?
Brian Cole and Alex Malzone.
How have they improved from when they first started as basically high schoolers?
“Yeah, I mean, they should be at their prom, right? I mean, realistically. They’ve really done a nice job stepping in there and you can see just in their eyes their confidence level and they’ve really developed nicely and really both of them really have a chance to be very good football players here at the University of Michigan so I’m excited about their future. We all are.”
Better idea of what you’ve got with the running backs with each guy and what the pecking order might be there?
“No. I mean, they’re all doing a good job running the ball hard and doing what we’re asking them to do and they’re protecting well and they’re getting better. We’ve got a little ways to go at every position so we’re not ready to name anybody to be starters.”
When you were drafting a quarterback what were the things you looked for in the quarterback you chose?
“Any quarterback, and I believe any quarterback that we have here, has to be able to make a play when there’s no play to be made and we have all of those quarterbacks in our system so that was easy, just looking for a quarterback through the draft.”
How much of the offense were you able to install? I know you’ve still got a couple of practices left.
“Yeah, we installed quite a bit. We threw a lot at them and there’s times we do that as coaches to keep everybody on their toes because we’re not going to be one dimensional. We’re going to do what best suits us to be successful against our opponents so there’s different things we throw at them in this system.”
Anybody on the line or elsewhere on the offense that’s stood out and surprised you this spring?
“I think that they’ve all done a nice job. Kalis has done a nice job and he’s playing well. Offensively, Jake Butt’s doing a good job from the tight end spot. Brian Cole, Freddy Canteen, there’s- everybody’s stood out to me as, ‘Hey, that guy’s a valuable football player that can help us.’”
Kyle [Kalis] was a guy that was really good on one snap and then would maybe have a lapse or whatever. Physically, what did you see from him this spring?
“I really like his physical mindset. I like how he plays the game. Football’s very, very important to him. [He] competes every down to be the best, and then it’s not just Kalis. There’s other guys that have done that and there’s different times they stick out to me, but it’s good.”
Have you been satisfied with the development from the first practice? Are you satisfied enough with the development of the offensive line so far?
“No, I’m not satisfied. I’m never satisfied, but I like where they are now and I like where we’re going. It’s- we’re right on point, which is important.”
MGoQuestionAttempt#1: I-(I’ll turn that syllable into a sniffle because I’m smooth like that)
How much of the offense has been installed?
“Gosh, as offensive coaches we’ve got a lot more. I couldn’t give you a percentage on that, but there’s quite a bit and there’s more to come.”
What’s the relationship like with you and Jedd?
“With Jedd it’s great. I feel like I’ve known Jedd for 25 years. He knows a lot of mutual people that I do and he’s a very, very- number one, he’s a great person, great father, great husband. Very, very intelligent. Very good football coach. He’s in the league with some of those other guys I’ve mentioned before. He’s that type of guy, so we’re very fortunate to have him.”
MGoGrahamGlasgowAmbiguityIsBuggingMe: Is Mason [Cole] still splitting time now that Graham’s back? [Splitting time] between tackle and center?
“We’re just moving Mason around, you know. He’s in there in different spots.”
How’s he taken to that?
“Oh, great. That’s one thing, you’re looking him in the eye and he doesn’t flinch one bit. He looks at you and it’s not a big deal to him. He’s done a nice job.
“That’s something you look for in a football player. You say, ‘Hey, you’ve got to do this and you’ve got to do that.’ You don’t want to the guy who stands there and looks at you like this [/bows heads, looks out of corner of eye], you want the guy who looks you right straight in the eye and says, ‘I got you, coach.’ Those are the guys you want. You want the guys that are confident and can be able to execute at a high level and so it’s exciting.”
How important is Graham potentially to this offense because of his experience at center and his overall experience inside?
“Yeah, he’s important. He’s important to us and can help us there, very much so.”
Did you have the first pick in the draft?
“Did I have the first pick? Uh, in the draft? No. Nuh uh.”
Can you say who your first pick was?
“No, I’m not going to get into that. Yeah. You’ll see on Saturday.”
You feel pretty confident?
“Yeah, I feel good. That was good, you tried to get that zinger on me!”
I’m just wondering how you evaluated it-
“Yeah, we just go through. You know, Greg [Mattison] and I and everybody sat down and just talked about it and you kind of go through the strategy, and some of us have been in the National Football League and have sat in meetings with general managers, we’ve sat with presidents, we’ve sat with owners, we’ve gone to the combine so there’s a way you go about it and you look at it when you’re building a football team. It’s neat to do that. That’s what coach Harbaugh does so well. I’ve never been around a guy that’s better than him at evaluating talent. Outstanding. And he can pick a lineman, he can pick a receiver, running back, DB- I’ve never been around a guy [like that]. He was a great player and he was a coach’s kid and they’ve been around it all their life. They don’t know any different.”
Is there something consistent he’s looking for in those players?
“Guys that make plays at a high level.”
Is he pinpointing things?
“There’s times he pinpoints things, yeah. He pinpoints things. He’s got a good feel. There’s a lot of intuition through that as you feel it in your gut and your bones.”
You’ve said before that the quarterbacks are your responsibility but not entirely. Do you feel good about this group?
“Yeah, yeah! Absolutely, yes.”
Was it each practice one guy was standing out over another guy or was it-
“I think they’ve all kind of taken their times as they’ve stood out and things but there’s- we feel good about it. Absolutely we do.”
There’s at least one guy coming in this summer in Zach [Gentry]. Can someone come in as a quarterback and in three or four weeks be ready to play in the first game?
“Yeah, anybody could. That’s- I mean, you do it all the time in terms of in pro football you do. Absolutely. I’ve experienced it last year. We started three true freshman, I mentioned, on the line at USC, so that’s why every day you come out and you’ve got to compete at a high level.”
A quarterback can do that too?
“Anybody can. I mean, it’s my job to compete and to be the best at what I do every day.”
Is it safe to say there isn’t one front runner right now?
“No, there’s not. Everybody’s taken different times they’ve stepped forward and stuff.”
Would you feel more comfortable right now if you had a guy who separated himself?
“No, because we don’t play a game until- it’s a Thursday, is it September 2nd?”
“3rd. So there’s a process to this, and that’s what we’ve always done everywhere we’ve been is you take your steps and you go. You just keep working every day to be the best.”