- Team’s GPA shows great balance between football and academics.
- Honor to have Mike Barwis’ staff as a part of our staff.
- Barwis is the best strength and conditioning coach in the country.
- Mike trains several former Michigan hockey players who are in the NHL.
- Mike truly cares about all of the young men and women he has worked with.
- “He has always complied with the rules.”
- “My record reflects that.”
- Compliance department met with Barwis several times and talked about his summer workouts in the past.
- The University of Michigan is a challenge, and the players are working to complete it both academically and on the field.
- “I, as a coach, have never hindered (academics).”
- It is “disheartening” and “misleading” to say that the coaches don’t care about the players’ welfare. (Rodriguez is having a tough time keeping it together; getting very emotional.)
- “I love working with our staff; I love our players like I love my family.”
- He didn’t leave his care for players in West Virginia.
- Parents of players and former players have sent letters saying “do what you always do” to help players achieve their goals.
- “I guess I’m here to tell you that whatever you’ve heard or want to believe, the truth is this coaching staff cares very deeply about the young men in our program. Always have, always will.”
- “I have two young freshman (Brandin Hawthorne and Je’Ron Stokes I’m assuming) that come into my office yesterday upset and said, ‘Coach, what did we do? We just said we worked hard. It was harder than it was in high school. That we’re committed to winning a championship.’ You did nothing wrong.”
- “Mike Barwis is such an asset to this University.”
- “Why try to tear up something that a man has given his life to?”
- It’s amazing how often players called for someone to open Schembechler Hall on Saturdays and Sundays the past 7-8 months because they wanted to get in there.
- The players are excited for game week, as they should be.
- “We have to get focused (on Western Michigan).”
- “I expect a great week of practice.”
- The meeting with seniors on Sunday at Coach Rod’s house was an annual thing.
- “Zoltan was signing on the Rock Band.”
- “It was a very positive meeting. As I mentioned, they’re very hungry to have a great year.”
- There’s no significance to Tate Forcier being listed first on the depth chart. QBs will play based on the game situation.
- Having three QBs who can play is a little different, but it has worked well in practice.
- “We’ll release a medical report on Thursday.”
- Donovan Warren is fine.
- Brandon Minor has been limited, but he will be able to do more today and should be able to go on Saturday.
- If the offense is playing well and is in a rhythm, quarterbacks probably won’t be subbed in and out.
- “I anticipate playing all three (quarterbacks).”
- The starting kicker will probably be named on Thursday. Jason Olesnavage is “in the forefront.”
- “I’ve gone back and forth between Sundays off and Mondays off.” A lot of it is based on the players’ course schedule. This season players will have Sundays off instead of Mondays.
- Sunday practices were no more than an hour and they will be no more than an hour this year.
- Having Sundays off allows coaches to work up a gameplan for the next week. Since there are no byes this year, it will be an advantage to have Sundays off.
- Typically there was only a walkthrough on Fridays last year that lasted no more than 15-20 minutes.
- “It’s disheartening to have obstacles that shouldn’t be there.” (referring to practicegate)
- “I want to make it clear, our players are working very hard. They have done a whole lot to help build this program. I’m sure they’re not happy to be dealing with this because they are working hard.”
- “Can we just move forward? Let these young men focus on game week.”
- The practice schedule is changed around to accommodate classes.
- “It’s nice knowing we have three options (at quarterback) back there.”
- “They’re saying we’re working too much. Personally, I don’t think we’re working hard enough.”
- “I know what we do on and off the field and see none of that as illegal.”
- “You definitely want to be able to run around.” (to chase around people like “Little Vincent Smith”)
- Things like this help the team grow closer and stronger.
- “You have to be together.”
- “It’s tough… you feel for (Rodriguez).”
- Because of how last year went, everybody on the team has had the mindset of working harder to get better.
- Lost in all of the NCAA tournament talk is that spring practice for the football team begins on Saturday.
- Rich Rodriguez declined to talk about Steven Threet during his spring practice press conference yesterday. He gave the same answer that he used when asked about Ryan Mallett, saying “I only talk about guys that play at Michigan.”
- The numbers that will be worn by the early enrollees have been confirmed by MGoBlue, as have some number changes that took place.
Five players switched numbers heading into the spring: Roy Roundtree (#16 to #12), David Cone (#12 to #16), Jared Van Slyke (#29 to #31), George Morales (#73 to #66) and Jon Conover (#89 to #83).
Here are the early enrollees’ numbers:
The seven true freshman January enrollees received their jersey numbers: Vincent Smith (#2), Tate Forcier (#5), Vladimir Emilien (#5), Brandin Hawthorne (#7), Mike Jones (#27), William Campbell (#73) and Anthony LaLota (#90).
- Aside from number changes, position changes were also confirmed:
Three Wolverines switched from the offensive side of the ball to defense. Vince Helmuth moved to defensive tackle from fullback, Steve Watson switched from tight end to defensive end, and walk-on Jared Van Slyke moved from wide receiver to safety.
The Helmuth move was already known, but Watson switching to DE is new, though it isn’t surprising.
- Adam Patterson and Kenny Demens are trying to get medical redshirts for last season. Junior Hemingway already did get a medical redshirt for 2008, as he missed the last eight games of the season with mono.
- Ricky Barnum may need surgery after spring practice to fix a “painful wrist.”
- Thanks to Butler’s loss to Cleveland State last night in the Horizon League championship game, there will be one less bubble team making the NCAA tournament. Had Butler won, they would have been the only team from the Horizon League in the NCAA tournament. Since they lost, though, Cleveland State gets the automatic bid, making Butler an at-large team that takes the place of a bubble team.
- The Hoover Street Rag has the odds for which team will win the CCHA tournament.
- Carl Hagelin was named to the CCHA Scholar-Athlete Team.
- Michigan plays Penn State at home in basketball tonight. The game starts at 7 p.m. ET and will be on the Big Ten Network. For those of you watching at home, you will be treated to Gus Johnson. Hopefully he will have a chance to be more excited than when he announced the U-M/PSU game in Happy Valley, as that turned into a blowout.
- Rivals ranked Michigan’s recruiting class as the 7th best in the country, and Scout had Michigan at #13.
- I got preoccupied with other stuff last night and never got around to posting a recap of Rich Rodriguez’s signing day press conference. I don’t believe anything too noteworthy was mentioned, but you can check out the transcript for yourself just in case. If I get some free time in the next few days I will post a recap of it. Just a heads up, though, that probably won’t happen since there is a home basketball game tonight and home hockey games on Friday and Saturday.
- One thing I will point out from Rodriguez’s presser is what he had to say about the possibility of some signees not qualifying.
“Everybody’s registered with the clearing house, but there are still a couple of them that have to have good semesters. Every one of them that was on the list that we signed had (an academic) plan. They’re taking the right classes. They’re doing the right things to prepare for the test and all of that to be eligible. There’s just a couple of them, but that’s going to be the case every year, probably just about every program. You’re going to have two or three guys that their senior year they better make sure they do the right things and follow the plan.
“Every one of these guys has a plan from their high school guidance counselors and coaches and families to make sure they’re set and ready to go. Our plan is to have them here by summer school so they can get oriented to Ann Arbor and our football program.”
There are two signees that always get mentioned in rumors about recruits not qualifying, but since they are only rumors I won’t post any names. I certainly hope everything works out and all 22 signees end up qualifying, but this will probably be something worth watching in the next few months.
- Rich Rodriguez was interviewed by the Big Ten Network yesterday:
- You definitely have to love Tate Forcier’s attitude.
- Mike Milano is going to stand trial for his assault of Steve Kampfer.
- There is a hub for signing day coverage on MGoBlue.
- Craig Roh participated in a chat on ESPN.com yesterday.
- A video of Je’Ron Stokes’ announcement has been posted.
- Maize and Blog has a recap of Mock Rock X, and someone on YouTube has uploaded videos from the event.
(Note: I bolded the most important items that involve the future status of players, scheduling news, and other things that are worth calling attention to.)
- The team had dinner and a meeting last night and the seniors were excused first after they were reminded to complete their responsibilities like graduating. They were also thanked for laying the foundation for this program under Rodriguez.
- “Naturally there is going to be some (attrition).”
- Rodriguez wants to make sure everybody is 100% committed to the team.
- One player that can graduate right now but still has another year of eligibility did not attend the meeting on Sunday.
- Artis Chambers left the team last week, as did Zion Babb and Jason Kates.
- “We gotta be more athletic.”
- Everything (coaches, players, schemes, etc.) will be evaluated.
- A special teams coach will not be hired for next year.
- “You can hire Knute Rockne and he’s not going to make sure the guy catches the ball on a kickoff return or a punt.”
- Seven to eight recruits are expected to enroll early.
- Patrick Omameh almost played as a true freshman and traveled to away games. Ricky Barnum and Rocko Khoury also nearly played and traveled to some away games. All three were redshirted and will likely see the field next year.
- 20-23 recruits will sign with Michigan for the 2009 recruiting class.
- Rodriguez thinks Brandon Graham is coming back and believes that he should.
- Terrence Robinson would have played this year if he wasn’t injured.
- Cory Zirbel’s injury is probably career-ending. Rodriguez wants him back as a student assistant coach.
- Stephen Schilling’s injury should not require surgery.
- Rodriguez isn’t going to coach until he’s 81 like Joe Paterno or Bobby Bowden. He joked that he would be happy to make it to age 60.
- There is some concern over the health of Sam McGuffie since he’s had more than one concussion this season. (He got another one on the kick return during the Ohio State game where he was sandwiched by two OSU players, which I believe is his third since October. He got one against Toledo, one against Michigan State, and now one against OSU. That is never good for any player during an entire career let alone a span of a couple months.)
- On a more positive note, Sam McGuffie is expected back next season.
- Spring practice starts in mid-March and it is unknown if a true spring game will be held at Michigan Stadium. One will be held somewhere regardless of the venue.
- Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, and Notre Dame are currently on next year’s schedule. Michigan still needs to find one more team to schedule at home in mid-October.
- Rodriguez doesn’t think there will be a lot of attrition, and he is not worried about it since the players that stay will be fully committed.
- “There were times where each unit played pretty well and there were times where each unit could have played better.”
- Oklahoma coaches visited Michigan last spring to discuss the spread offense. Michigan may make the return trip down there to see them next year. Kevin Wilson, Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator, has visited with Rodriguez and his assistants just about every year. (That’s pretty interesting since West Virginia played Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl last season and absolutely destroyed the Sooners.)
- Rodriguez didn’t say anything about whether or not changes to the staff will be made. He simply said that he will evaluate the coaches like he does every year.
- Steven Threet has a slight separation of his shoulder and is doubtful for the Ohio State game.
- Nick Sheridan is fine and is good to go.
- Brandon Minor “is a lot better,” and he should be able to go on Saturday.
- Michael Shaw is fine.
- Sam McGuffie had a death in his family and his availability for the OSU game is unknown since he may have to go home to Texas.
- A win over Ohio State wouldn’t salvage the season, but it would make you feel good for a few days. A win would at least help a little bit.
- Rivalry games are a little more intense for everybody.
- The last time Rodriguez was in Columbus was for a JV game his freshman year in college.
- Threet and Sheridan have made progress since the start of the season.
- “We need to create more competition at all positions.”
- Rodriguez and Jim Tressel have known each other for quite a few years.
- Ohio State coaches visited Rodriguez at West Virginia a few years ago to exchange ideas.
- On the first day of the job someone sent Rodriguez a “Beat Ohio State” button.
- It has been more of a struggle in all areas than was originally anticipated.
- “I’m disappointed but not discouraged.”
- There was a time when just putting on the winged helmet was worth 10-14 points right there. “We’re not there anymore.”
- “It’s amazing some of the things that people will say.” (In reference to some of the personal things people will say on message boards about coaches or players)
- “You don’t change tradition.” Rodriguez went on to say that you change the culture if it needs to be changed.
- Brandon Minor has sore ribs, a sore shoulder, and a sore wrist. He didn’t practice on Tuesday and is definitely questionable for Saturday.
- Steven Threet is “still questionable” but did practice on Tuesday.
- David Molk is fine. (He injured his toe against Minnesota.)
- Michael Shaw and Sam McGuffie would be the main two running backs if Minor doesn’t play.
- Justin Feagin will stay at QB this week just in case Threet can’t play.
- Quarterback is the most important position in the game of football.
- When asked if Michigan needs to guard against looking ahead to Ohio State, Rodriguez replied, “Us?” He went on to say that this team better not be looking ahead to anyone.
- Nick Sheridan played so well against Minnesota because he managed the game well and didn’t force it. He didn’t make the big mistake.
- Rodriguez joked that Zoltan Mesko probably isn’t as fast as he thinks he is.
- Seniors probably won’t start just because they will be playing their last home game, although senior tight end Mike Massey may start over freshman Kevin Koger.
- Some of his favorites moments at Michigan Stadium were the 2004 MSU game, the 2005 Penn State game, and this year’s Wisconsin game.
- It’s tough for seniors in a coaching transition because they don’t want to hear about how things will be better in the future since they won’t be there to experience it.
- His hand is a little swollen from the Minnesota game.
- He doesn’t think about whether or not he will start because it would drive him nuts if he did.
- “I had a blast Saturday.”
“We’re getting more and more comfortable with the offense.”
- The Minnesota game built everyone’s confidence up.
- It’s a weird feeling that Saturday will be the seniors’ last game.
- “It’s been kind of a roller coaster season.”
- “Certain team efforts stick out to me more than praise games.”
- “I’ll never forget that Penn State game last year.”
- This program is built on more than one game and one season.
- The coaches helped us just as much as we helped them.
- It was fun to practice with the linebackers and play in the box for a change. (He played the nickel position against Minnesota.)
- The Capital One Bowl was his best memory at Michigan.
- Steven Threet took a helmet to helmet hit in the fourth quarter, but he should be able to practice later this week. “We anticipate no problems.”
- Practice yesterday was more of correcting things rather than a usual practice.
- Getting a win and making progress fundamentally are two things that hopefully will happen the rest of the season.
- “We’re playing for the Brown Jug in this game.” (In reference to Saturday’s game against Minnesota)
- The 3-3-5 was implemented against Purdue to help the secondary and was not a permanent switch. The strategy changes on a game-by-game basis.
- “We all talked about it as a staff.” (In reference to the switch to a 3-3-5)
- Mike Williams, Sam McGuffie, and Troy Woolfolk (he sprained his ankle in the first quarter against Purdue) should all play against Minnesota.
- Carson Butler will probably stay at defense end. He played around 23 or 24 snaps against Purdue. He’s still learning the position but showed some things there.
- “Donovan Warren will play both safety and corner.”
- Justin Feagin is going to play at the slot receiver position. He played on two special teams situations against Purdue and will get in more this coming Saturday.
- “Schemes don’t cause you to miss 21 tackles.”
- He was asked a question about whether or not he thinks Scott Shafer is doing a good job this year and quickly said he’s never going to point the finger at one player or one coach.
- “I know we can build this program to be one of the best in the country.”
- “There’s not a guy on our staff that feels good right now.”
- The coaches will be watching everybody very closely the next three weeks.
- “Every time there is something said everybody wants to make a big deal out of something.”
- The key for Minnesota’s success this year is a better defense and their quarterback.
- Playing indoors is a little bit different.
- Some portions of practice this week will be inside to get ready to play in the Metrodome.
- The progress made inside the program isn’t showing up on Saturday, but it is happening Sunday through Friday.
- Minnesota has done a really good job of taking the ball away this year.
- It’s an honor to be a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award.
- “It’s alright to do individual things, but I’d rather trade everything that I’ve done for a team effort.”
- “I’ve worked with a couple NFL guys to fine tune my mechanics.”
- Michigan’s long snapper, Sean Griffin, noticed that Purdue’s center put his head down on the fake punt. On every other punt he looked forward.
- The team got together on Sunday and said that they are going to finish off this season strong.
- The team does tackling drills during every practice. They just have to execute during games.
- Minnesota is a much improved team compared to last year.
- The offense played well on Saturday because everyone was clicking at the same time.
- His wrist is good. (It was re-injured against Purdue.)
- The switch to offensive line wasn’t that tough mentally. All it is now is getting the fundamentals and technique taken care of.
- He played a little bit of tight end in high school but never played on the o-line.
- The toughest thing for him is pass protection. Your technique has to be really sound.
- Nick Sheridan’s dad recruited Ferrara to Michigan before Steve Stripling did.
- He is roommates with Perry Dorrestein.
- It’s tough to switch from the d-line to the o-line. (He was asked about Ferrara.)
- The offensive line gels more with every practice the team has.
- Losing is tough.
- At first he didn’t think the transition would be this radical for the offensive line.
- Pass blocking is a little more difficult than run blocking.
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