Big Ten: Jason Kates

Rodriguez looks ahead to 2009 season

November, 25, 2008

Posted by's Adam Rittenberg

Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez held his post-mortem news conference Monday and addressed many of the issues on his growing to-do list for the 2009 season. He does expect more attrition on the roster but not a dramatic amount of departures. So far wide receiver Zion Babb, defensive tackle Jason Kates and safety Artis Chambers have left.

Still, he admitted not everyone has committed to the plan and the direction.

"As far as buying in, I think the majority of them have," Rodrgiuez said. "But there is a handful that still maybe question things themselves, maybe their confidence, their role, how they can contribute. And I think that's typical everywhere in a transition year. But it wasn't as much as maybe I thought. But, again, until it's a hundred percent, then you don't know what you have.

"Everybody, as we move forward, will be guys that play for Michigan first and foremost and believe in this program and this university, and if not, then they won't be playing for Michigan. It's as simple as that."

After his "get a life" comment was overblown in the days leading up to the Ohio State game, Rodriguez was asked whether he'd be more tight-lipped in the future. Thankfully, he doesn't plan to become Lloyd Carr Part II.

"It's a big boy world," he said. "So I understand that. I've been there for a little bit. It does make you I guess want to be a little more reserved at times. That's not my personality. I want to be open and honest and transparent I guess is the proper word. We'll be that. I'll continue to be that. Doesn't mean I don't get ticked off when somebody writes something that ain't true. That's what happens."


Other notable items from the news conference included:

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Posted by's Adam Rittenberg

As if Michigan didn't have enough going against it this weekend, head coach Rich Rodriguez said today that starting right tackle Stephen Schilling sprained his knee at Tuesday's practice and is questionable for the Ohio State game (ABC, noon ET).

Schilling was Michigan's only returning starter on the offensive line and one of the few linemen to survive the season without injury. Perry Dorrestein would start in Schilling's place if he misses the game.

Rodriguez also announced that defensive tackle Jason Kates has left the team. Kates didn't play much this season, but he's the second player to leave the program this week. Wide receiver Zion Babb was dismissed for violating team rules.

Rodriguez admits that other players could soon be leaving the program as well.

"That's it right now, but there may be more attrition," he said. "We've asked the guys, and we've been pretty honest with them all along ... we want everybody to make a total commitment to our football program, especially academically. If they're not upholding what they do academically and athletically, then really they need to see if this is the spot for them.

"It's not easy, but a lot of our guys have made a tremendous commitment. A handful, maybe, haven't. We'll see what happens in the next few weeks."

Freshman running back Sam McGuffie attended a family funeral today. He will rejoin the team later this week and could play Saturday. After practicing last week, McGuffie didn't play against Northwestern, telling running backs coach Fred Jackson he was "too banged up" to play.