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Friday, March 17, 2006

The circle of football begins anew each spring with spring practice... and spring practice press conferences.

You can find a full transcript here. I excerpt the highlights below:


Most seriously, Antonio Bass has messed up a knee and will likely miss the '06 season. Obviously this is Not Good, but if you had to pick one position on the team to take the brunt of Angry Michigan-Blank-Hating God's wrath, wide receiver was the obvious choice. Adrian Arrington's 2005 injury redshirt pushed his class status back, leaving Michigan with a massive heap of four wideouts with sophomore eligibility. Bass's presumed redshirt will put him in a class that only has Laterryal Savoy (and perhaps Greg Mathews if he's pressed into service), spreading out that eligibility knot.

Jerome Jackson is out -- and, no, not because of the rap song. He's "rehabilitating his injury." Also hampered for spring: WR Doug Dutch (knee scope), S Brandent Englemon (shoulder) and OG Justin Schifano (shoulder).

On the good side of the ledger, Ryan Mundy is cleared to play, Adrian Arrington is fine, and Eugene Germany is mentioned, and not as "that guy with the dumb cellphone incident."

Also... God, I will sacrifice most of the population of Laos if this remains true for the duration of the season:
On Mike Hart's health:

"I think Mike is ready to go."
Unless you like Laos or whatever. But if you did, you probably would have made it less like Laos.

Position Switches

The OL has undergone a few changes. According to Carr, the plan is to try Mark Bihl at center (again), have Kraus and Riley the guards and Kolodziej and Long at tackle... with Long on the left side of the line. What exactly that says other than "Long is better than Kolodziej" I don't know. (To wit:
The left tackle position, the reason it is the most critical is that's the backside of the quarterback if he's right handed. The quarterback needs to feel secure that he's not going to get hit from the backside. When you really get down to it, that's the difference, as opposed to ... if he's a right handed quarterback he can look to his right, step up, move, scramble, get rid of the ball, and he can't do that to the left.
Read: "Long will not get our quarterback's head crushed in six places.")

The Brian Thompson Experience has moved to the "U-back" position, which is described as
essentially a tight end who is off the ball, who motions.
Also, early-enrolling freshman Carlos Brown is working at both running back and defensive back, which implies that someone is damn well being moved to corner.

New Coaching Dude

We have reorganized our staff with Mike DeBord moving into the offensive coordinator position. I promoted Brad Labadie as Director of Football Operations. And I've hired Chris Singletary, who played here on our national championship team in 1997, to come back as the recruiting coordinator. He will work in terms of the organization of our recruiting process on campus.
Singletary's previous job appeared to be antagonizing NFL draft hopefuls:
"This is a ritual," says Weinke, the 2000 Heisman Trophy winner, his blue eyes fixed on the computer screen. Chris Singletary, an affable member of IMG's football division and an indispensable resource for the 10 NFL draft hopefuls -- all clients of IMG bigwig Tom Condon -- training at the compound, is at the controls, surfing through various football websites. His cybertravels have one purpose: to get Weinke so agitated that the quarterback will push himself in the ensuing workout.

"This one says you're slow," Singletary, who played defensive end for Michigan's 1997 co-national champions, says with a cackle. "You're going to run a 5.3 (40-yard dash)." Weinke is not happy. "We'll see," he hisses. Singletary moves on. Another site, another criticism. "You throw off your back foot too much," he says. "You're rated behind Quincy Carter and Jesse Palmer. You're like Larry Holmes, all flabby and sick."
He's probably citing this website to Pat Massey as we speak. "He says you're too tall! He says you couldn't hold up against a six-year-old! He thinks your haircut is unflattering!" Etc. He can also identify Dick Cheney, which seems a lot more important in recent weeks. This seems like a great hire for the position: Singletary has all the relevant experience, NFL contacts up the proverbial wazoo, and is affable enough to badger NFL prospects about how they suck without getting punched.

Probably Meaningless Praise

Straight from the horse's mouth, as it were:
I think Kevin Grady has made great strides. He is right now 218 pounds. When I look at him today compared to what he was a year ago ... he has really committed himself to the conditioning part of it. I think obviously he has learned a lot because he did have a lot of experience.[? -ed]
Tim McAvoy and David Moosman, two freshmen, will also work at that position. ... Mark Ortmann is a young player we want to look at, I mentioned Moosman ... Alex Mitchell is another guy who will get an opportunity this spring."
"One guy that sticks in my mind...and he's not exactly where he needs to be, weight-wise, but he's much further along than he was when he walked in here last Terrance Taylor. When you see him, you're going to see a different guy. ... Will Johnson is finally healthy for the first time since he's been here. He had undergone surgery his last year in high school and was not very healthy as a freshman. He even struggled some last year. And Marques Walton has made some strides. ... Tim Jamison is a guy who really came on late in the year. He did some great things in the bowl game ... Eugene Germany has made tremendous strides in his strength since he got here. He's a very, very talented guy. We'll just have to see what he does with his opportunity this spring. All of our linebackers are back, so we have a chance to have a very good front seven."
Carr was only asked about the defensive front seven, offensive line, and running backs, so I wouldn't panic about your favorite whoever not getting a mention if he's not at one of those positions.

Wack Stuff

Carr on Bass:
Our plans were to play him at quarterback this spring. We'll have to see how that goes. ... The idea was that he would work at both positions this spring, much as he did last fall. He spent a significant amount of time at the quarterback position. So that's a huge disappointment for us."