Wednesday, April 7, 2010
A few quick thoughts from Michigan
By ESPN.com staff
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- It has been a fun and productive day at Schembechler Hall, as I visited with Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez and several players. I also toured the facilities and briefly greeted quarterbacks Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson, who are off limits to the media right now.
I also had an entertaining brainstorming session on college football expansion with two Michigan staffers. We've got it all figured out, people. Teams that could be on the move, according to the brain trust: Connecticut, Pitt, Boston College, Rutgers, Arkansas, Clemson, West Virginia, Syracuse, Utah, TCU, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Boise State.
Yeah, you better believe it.
I'll have more on Michigan during the coming days, particularly Monday, but a few quick thoughts before I head out:
- There's a lot of doom and gloom outside the Michigan program, but inside Schembechler Hall, there's definitely a different feeling among players and coaches. They know Year 3 is critical and another losing season will not be tolerated, but no one is walking on eggshells in here. Several players told me they're having fun playing football again, particularly in practice. "We can dance in practice now," wide receiver Roy Roundtree said, smiling. "Freshman and sophomore year, no one could really dance. But the only time we can dance is if we make a big play or score a touchdown." Who's the best dancer? "Kevin Koger," Roundtree said. "Denard, too. I said I might do a Chad Ochocinco if I score a touchdown."
- There's a lot of buzz up here about several defenders. Safety Cameron Gordon, a converted wide receiver, drew praise from Rodriguez and several players I spoke with. Cornerback Troy Woolfolk really likes what he's seeing from J.T. Floyd, and Rodriguez also singled out linebacker Kenny Demens, defensive end Adam Patterson and defensive tackle Renaldo Sagesse for their play this spring.
- Rodriguez said Michigan's numbers are better on defense, but he still expects several incoming freshmen to contribute, particularly in the secondary. But the freshman with the best chance to play right away is punter Will Hagerup, as Michigan must replace Ray Guy Award finalist Zoltan Mesko. Rodriguez said the competition at kicker and punter will definitely spill into fall camp.
- There was a lot made of Rodriguez's comments Tuesday about the quarterback situation. I'll get into it more later, but let me just say this: Robinson has done enough this spring to stay in the mix at quarterback, although a move to another spot isn't being ruled out. Rodriguez really wants two capable quarterbacks who can do everything, not just a freelancer (Forcier) and a running specialist (Robinson) like Michigan had last year. Expect a similar timetable as far as when Michigan names a starter, but Rodriguez wants better and more complete options at the position, which he didn't really have last year.