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 10:25 PM ^

Dorrestein and Huyge on the edges...

Does that mean Dorrestein has the edge at LT, and not Lewan? Interesting.

Damn you, August, get out of the way.  We've got some serious business to get to.


August 12th, 2010 at 10:37 PM ^

but reports like these are making it harder.  Even more encouraging than RR's statements are the comments coming from the players.  They sound like they are all on the same page, highly confident and ready to go out and prove themselves.  I have never been this anxious for September to get here.


August 12th, 2010 at 10:42 PM ^

Best news from this presser IMO is the news on Stonum. Hopefully he becomes the receiver we all thought he could be when he committed. Hearing he's in shape tells me that he's been working real hard in the offseason. Hopefully it doesn't mean he only focused on conditioning but also his WR skill set and studying the playbook as well.


August 12th, 2010 at 10:44 PM ^

All good stuff. I liked the part about no injuries too.So much different from the last 2 years. There seems a certainty in who we are again. We are freakin Michigan afterall.  I can't wait for this season. A great group of guys and there's some payback coming.


August 12th, 2010 at 10:47 PM ^

I read all these things.  I pull for Rich and the team.  I write e mails and fb players.  I am soooo tired of the piling on from media outlets.  I read more each day and watch the countdown clock get closer to zero.  I want to be confident.  Is this what an IU fan goes through EVERY season?  I couldn't bare it.


August 13th, 2010 at 1:17 AM ^

I really am having a hard time wrapping my head around this "not being in shape" thing. Is this term relative? I have got to imagine that anybody on a D1 football team --- and very much especially the starters --- have to be working out daily just as a matter of course. If the workouts aren't scheduled at school, they're alongside teammates who are doing it themselves, or communicating with their teammates remotely who are themselves discussing the workouts that they've been doing. Wouldn't anybody in this situation (who didn't have other issues going on) just be working out as well because that's such an ingrained norm of a D1 football team, especially one with Mike Barwis?

The only thing I can think of is that it must be really difficult to keep up a near-Barwis-like intensity while players are away from AA. Maybe they've been lifting on their own and running a few miles a day, which would be enough to keep a normal person in shape, but obviously isn't going to prepare them for the rigors of a 60 minute football game. Otherwise..... if "not being in shape" means that they've literally been sitting on their asses and pigging out.... well, then I'm surprised that these players even earned scholarships in the first place.

Can anybody illuminate this for me?

EDIT: I just realized that this is tangental to most of the rest of the discussion here in regards to the presser. Nonetheless, I'd still like to hear what you guys think.


August 13th, 2010 at 2:25 AM ^

Indeed, it's relative. The key here is function: you've got to be in good enough shape, like you said, to endure at least 60 minute game of D1 football.

Hard to imagine, I know, but the cat's out of the bag that some folks aren't working out enough. And, naturally, they lose not only their physical prowess but also the respect of their peers. If it's bad enough, to the point where their sloth has a negative effect on others (like catching a disease, eh?), seems like they get ostracized... which IMO is a healthy group dynamic.


August 13th, 2010 at 8:15 AM ^

this is exactly what he's talking about in an interview.  It's not targeting Tate, specificially because he's obviously talking about a group of players who didn't take summer workout seriously.  It's just that Tate doesn't show up as often as Denard, but I've heard(RR confirmed it) that Tate is working his hardest to get into his teammate's good grace and re-gain their trust.


August 13th, 2010 at 10:05 AM ^

If you take one of these "out of shape" guys, I would be willing to bet that they could out bench press, squat, sprint, agility-drill (whichever metric is relative to their position) just about any of us on this board.  But, relative to the expectations of a D-1 football player who is expected to contribute, they are not where the coaches want them to be.  I don't think that this is "Barwis-like intensity" specific - it happens in all programs, including under Lloyd.

As to the reasons for this, I don't think that there is a 1 size fits all answer.  For some players, they go to their offseason workouts, but don't put in max effort.  This will yield some results, but will not get you to the level of where you need to be.   Other players skip workout all together.  Remember, these kids are naturally gifted athletes, and many have gotten by on their natural ability without having to put in the intense effort in the weight room, and bad habits are hard to break.  For some other kids, they lift, train, etc., but don't follow the nutrition part of it.  No matter how much you lift / work out, if you eat crap, you will have some bad weight.  Finally, for other kids, the reason is just too much partying.  It is pretty hard to get to the gym and lift heavy after a night if hard partying.


August 13th, 2010 at 9:45 AM ^

I think it is interesting how Toussaint isn't mentioned by anyone as being the best at any one thing. Cox -power, Smith-quick, Shaw-speed, but is still mentioned as one of the two (Cox being the other) that the coaches expect to step up. I think that is because he is the second best at all those things and is therefore the best overall back. I still like him to put up over 1000 yards rushing and get the most carries this year.

Can't wait for Sept. 4th.


August 13th, 2010 at 10:26 AM ^

I had the exact same feeling - there was much morre of a positive tone to this one.  Also, taking out tone, the information conveyed was overwhelmingly positive.  The keys, in my mind, were:

1.  Stonum - this kid has a ton of potential.  He came in with huge recruiting hype and has showed flashes of what he could be along the way.  I have always believed that his lack of success was partly the result of weak offensive line / young QB play (plays in which a player like Stonum can shine require a few seconds to develop, so if the QB is running for his life after 2-3 seconds, there is no time for Stonum to get free).  If he looks as good as RR says, and our line is as strong as we hope, he could have a break-out year.

2.  Shaw - yes, we have a good group of talented backs, but each brings a different element.  Shaw is definitely the speed guy.  During his freshman year, there was a good deal of practice buzz about his speed.  Having him back could be a bigger deal than we all think.

3.  Tate - it is nice to hear that he is stepping up to the challenge of working hard.  Another kid with just a TON of potential, and if he puts int he work, I really do believe that he could be a great QB (not expressing an opinion as to whether he or Denard should start). 

My only real concern is that most of the positives relate to the offense.  The defense looks like it will remain an area of relative weakness, unless we get some huge surprises from the secondary.


August 13th, 2010 at 12:21 PM ^

This exactly the type of postive press conference we needed. Love the talk about Darryl and Tate. Darryl has so much talent and potential if he puts it together watch out. Glad to see Tate isn't sulking like most of us thought he was and he is making a lot of effort right now. Also the fact that Shaw is even practicing makes me pretty confident about his academic situation.