Thursday Presser Notes 8-12-10

Submitted by Tim on August 12th, 2010 at 8:43 PM

The media had an opportunity to talk to Rich Rodriguez and the team's newly-elected captains Steve Schilling and Mark Moundros today. Notes follow.

Rich Rodriguez

Friday morning will be the first day in full pads. They'll finally be able to tackle and go live. It will only be about two hours and fifteen minutes, because Rodriguez has to leave for Seattle in the afternoon. On Saturday, there will be no practice, but payers will go to their position coaches' houses for a meal. 2-a-days start Sunday. They'll have a couple scrimmages in Big House, beanie bowl. Go through whole game routine. For the veterans, it shouldn't be a big deal.

We're in pretty good shape, not game shape. The weather hasn't been that hot yet. Need warm temperatures to get guys in game shape. Guys who weren't in shape have responded as you'd expect. If you fight through, practice will help get you in great shape, but guys who started in great shape recover more quickly. It will take 3-4 weeks for everyone to get into shape. "If you aren't in shape, you won't play."

They're a very attentive group, eager to learn, grasped concepts. Put more in than anticipated. Right on track installation-wise.

All the position competitions haven't been separated yet. Will remain that way until we see them in pads.

No injuries. Some guys have missed time for the end of summer school. Most finishing today, tomorrow, monday next week. Mike Shaw is practicing. Still involved in his class. "Ongoing with him."

They'll shift some guys in the secondary, Teric Jones will be a S/CB. JT Turner's departure did not create new concerns. When asked about a potential return from Turner, Rodriguez stated: "He doesn't play for Michigan."

We're all anxious to get NCAA stuff behind us. School, Administration, players, want the committee to reach a conclusion. As soon as the hearing is over, those involved will fly back and get ready for practice on Sunday.

Kickers: need to see them in pressure situations to evaluate them.

1st, 2nd, and 3rd teams are all getting plenty of reps. In a week or so, they'll reduce it to two main groups with the reps divided about 60-40.

QBs making a conscious effort to take care of the ball. Need to work on decision-making as well. Has Denard picked up where he left off? "I think so. He looks physically bigger. Mentally he's understanding a lot of the concepts." Eager to do well. Limiting QB contact, but they get banged around a bit. Tate and Devin have to assume leadership by position. Hard for frosh/soph to take control. Has to happen naturally. They'll get that as their play improves. Re: Tate. "We've challenged all our guys." Tate gets more attention, because he plays a high-profile position. Tate is responding to the challenges, not sulking or laying back.

Woolfolk probably feels more natural at corner. Could play at safety if need, has the physicality. Brings that to the corner position. JTF had a good camp so far.

Punt return will be taken care of by Martavious Odoms, Jeremy Gallon, Terrance Robinson, and Drew Dileo. All have really good ball skills. Kickoffs will be returned by all of those guys, plus Darryl Stonum.

Darty Stonum loks fantastic. Junior getting himself into better shape. Stonum good camp. Junior good last couple days.

Quinton Washington is completely healthy. He's been set back last fall and in spring with injury. Rodriguez is pleased at the conditioning of the offensive and defensive lines as they came into camp. Christian Pace is struggling health-wise (knee). They were already going to redshirt him, and he may need knee procedure, too.

A tentative depth chart will be released Monday of game week. A few "ORs."

At running back, nobody has separated from the pack yet. It should be one of the most interesting races, because there will be at least two, and probably three guys that will play quite a bit. That's a position that needs to be evaluated with full contact.

Schiling and Moundros: Team voted for those guys as permanent captains. They will do all they can to keep that honor. At least one additional game captain will be selected for every game.

Captain Stephen Schilling

We've had 4-5 senior meetings. Idea came up for captains, from nobody in particular. They discussed it a few times, then asked Rodriguez to come to a meeting. They brought up some of the ideas to him, including permanent captains.

Sometimes it makes it easier having two voices at the top, but all the seniors will be leaders. Schilling and Moundros look to the rest of the senior class to be leaders.

As for the distraction of the NCAA hearing, schedule was rearranged so that Rodriguez didn't have to miss practice. Most guys have put that on the backburner; they're not worried about that, they just want to play football and get ready for UConn. They see the headlines on ESPN, but it doesn't really cross their minds other than that.

"Definitely good to have David [Molk] back, it's been a while." He's shaking off some rust, but everybody's getting ready to work together. There's really high potential for this offensive line. They have depth and experience.

Progression among players is a lot quicker now that most guys know the system. Meetings with Coach Frey go quicker, and they can make corrections faster on the field.

Schilling has worked with all three QBs. They're all working hard and playing well - but it's only been a couple days. Offense has made big plays, "looks good to me." Tate's been working hard. Not saying much, just trying to prove he can be the QB. We see him working hard, and that's a good thing. Troy's comments could have affected him, but he's here working hard. Get better every day for the team.

We've had guys cramping, but you see that every year. Guys have been pushing through heat, and are doing better than expected.

The RBs all worked really hard this summer, because they knew they all had a chance to be "the guy." So many different guys are cycling through with the first unit. Competition will bring the best out of all of them. Cox and Hopkins bigger backs, can hit it up inside. Smith gets outside, Toussaint does both. Shaw has speed to burn. Smith "looks good to me." Knee not affecting him.

Captain Mark Moundros

Whole senior class thought it was necessary to have two captains. Great honor to be one of them. Texted his mom and dad first when he found out.

Very encouraged by hunger of team. "We're ready to prove ourselves this year."

Playing mostly LB - like the spring. Always had a defensive mindset. How many snaps can he play on both side of the ball? "As many to help us win." Doesn't regret waiting so long to try linebacker. He's happy where he is right now.

Signs of defensive progress? We have some good schemes, we're working together. That's key for defensive side of the ball. Different schemes will allow for different groups of people to play on front line (when asked if Martin and Campbell will play together).

Secondary doing great. Learning every day. Mistakes have been limited in first week. That'll continue to first game. They bring great energy from the secondary.

OL - the front five - great line. "We have some depth too." Can't pick out just one guy, they all have capabilities and potential. chilling great leader. Dorrestein and Huyge on the edges. The guys who rotate in - different positions - fun to watch that side of the football.

Always had the mindset of competing, play to best of ability. Wherever that puts him, so be it. Worrying about working hard to help the guys around him get better. His fellow MLBs Ezeh and Demens are great - competition will make them better.

When he came to Michigan as a walk-on, he never thought about being the captain one day. He never looked that far in advance, and just took everything one day at a time.

Even though he and Steve are captains, every senior got at least one vote for captain. That guy will have to lead by example to at least the one guy whose vote he got. Honored and humbled to be captain, but they'll lead as a senior class.

Every RB brings a different dimension. Cox power, Smith quick with cuts. Shaw with speed, Fitz is a factor, Hopkins (bigger back - hard earned yards).

Willingness to trust each other will help the team succeed.



August 12th, 2010 at 9:04 PM ^

Wow, that's really good news about Tate, Smith, Denard, and Stonum. These press conferences seem to be taking a different tone than 2008 and 2009. 

There may be some quiet confidence building...


August 12th, 2010 at 9:05 PM ^

and words like:  competing, learning, bigger, faster, stronger, quicker.  The team seems to be together and hungry to prove themselves.  I particularly like hearing that Tate is motivated, not sulking, and using "fantastic" to describe Stonum is soothing to my nerves.  After all of the angst and turmoil on these boards the last two days, this was a breath of fresh air.


August 12th, 2010 at 9:12 PM ^

This year just feels different right now.

* Love to hear that about Stonum.  If he can stretch the field and the OL can pass-protect, this offense hits a different gear.

* Love to hear that Tate has got a lot of fight left in him.  This team has two legitimate options at QB with game experience.  Sitting behind them?  The most talented QB Rich has ever recruited.  Long way from '08.

* If Smith is healthy and the light has gone on for Cox, would feel much, much better about RB.

* Lastly, Rich seems as upbeat as ever in the face of a make or break season.  Seems to be some confidence here across the board.


August 12th, 2010 at 9:12 PM ^

I thought about this when they mentioned that they were going to redshift Pace anyway- I'm hoping that with some actual depth producing competition and some stability with coaches, we might start to be able to redshirt the majority of any given incoming class.  I'm not a fan of burning a redshirt for very few reps (I think Stokes was in all of 15 plays or so last year), maybe now it's the beginning of us getting enough depth to actually do that.

Of course, talk of redshirting a center isn't world-shattering, I doubt that there's ever been a high school center that's been ready to play from day 1 for a high profile college football team.


August 12th, 2010 at 9:15 PM ^

Good to hear that Shaw is practicing.  Also, great to hear that JTF and Stonum are tearing it up.  With a better Stonum, along with Tay and Tree doing their thing, we'll have that much needed passing threat.  Should open the run game even more and QB runs will be huge.


August 12th, 2010 at 9:20 PM ^

... to know that there are 4 receivers (Hemingway, Tree, Stonum, Odoms) who could all have great seasons. We might have to split the #1 jersey 4 ways for 2011 at this rate.

Transatlantic Flight

August 12th, 2010 at 9:23 PM ^

Man, these interviews make me want to cry manly tears. When I read them I can't help but feel proud of the team for coming together the way they have. I think the pain of the past two years has really attached me to this team. If we go 7-5 this season, it will be the single most satisfying 7-5 season of our entire lives. 


August 13th, 2010 at 10:44 AM ^

No, they mean they're done dealing with it. Waiting for the NCAA's final decision is not an active process for anyone involved (that we care about, anyway), so everyone's focus can be on football, not performing an investigation, preparing a response, preparing for a hearing, etc.


August 12th, 2010 at 9:42 PM ^

A lot of people have thought far too little of this team for far longer than they should have. Plenty of fools will be made for underestimating the desire and unity of this group of Michigan Men.

The next three weeks will be like loading a train full of coal....a lot of gritty, back breaking work had by all. But once this train leaves the station there will be no looking back.

The climb back to the top of the mountain will be one enjoyable ride.

"All Aboard!"



August 12th, 2010 at 9:44 PM ^

All good news. Love it. Nice to hear good things about the secondary, even if it is from a bit of a biased source. Also can't wait to see Hopkins bowl over his first linebacker.

Crime Reporter

August 12th, 2010 at 9:51 PM ^

You type fast on deadline my friend.

Also, good news all-around. I just hope everyone makes it through practice healthy and ready to send those Huskies home with their tails between their legs.


August 12th, 2010 at 10:10 PM ^

...growing steadily. Now what was that business about Ted Turner that was getting me all higgledy piggledy? Eh, no biggie.

Great to hear all the specific positives re: offensive player development. I'm thinking the D will be better, on the whole, despite losing the biggest playmakers. Definitely a young squad but this year, they just gotta be good enough .... just good enough to get some W's! In the years to come: total domination.

Hats off to you, Tim.