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 U of M football lookin' sloppy

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laprimamirala
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PostSubject: U of M football lookin' sloppy   Sun Apr 13, 2008 8:13 am

U-M game sure is sloppy; Wolverines still mastering system
BY MARK SNYDER • FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER • April 13, 2008

There were some skeptics when Rich Rodriguez took over the Michigan football team.

Some were his new players.

But after 14 spring practices, they're realizing the payoff.

"I was learning, and it just became second nature one practice ago," U-M senior defensive end Tim Jamison said Saturday, after the Wolverines' final spring scrimmage, held at Saline High School. "I was talking to the coach (defensive coordinator Scott Shafer) and was like, 'Man, at the beginning I felt I was playing slower, just learning the concept. Now I feel like I've got the game plan down.' They say that's how it usually is when you play a coaching style for four years and then come into your last year with a whole different coaching style."

In a spring marked by change, on and off the field, the Wolverines looked Saturday like much of it is still taking hold.

In the controlled scrimmage, which featured Rodriguez and offensive coordinator Calvin Magee standing on the field 10 yards behind the offense, there were just as many mistakes as successes.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Steven Threet led the group of offensive starters and was generally efficient, making the day's crispest throws. But on many, the receivers' simply dropped the ball.

The second-team defense would get into the offensive backfield, forcing redshirt freshman tailback Avery Horn to the outside for a few significant gains.

The slick and frigid conditions contributed a bit to the sloppy play -- penalties were common as well -- but Rodriguez maintained his stance that this is all part of a larger plan. Though he probably finds it hard to evaluate with so many new players and schemes.

Was the offense better because of tailback Brandon Minor's easy touchdown runs? Was the defense better because of the pressure from the front seven? Can the secondary intercept opponents as easily as it did U-M's quarterbacks?

"We're being very generic today," Rodriguez said after the scrimmage, which was closed to the public, though friends, family and Saline students watched. "We wouldn't let the defense do too many things, wouldn't let the offense do some different things because, why show your hand? I don't know who's here. There may be folks who snuck in here that we don't want to see."

There's not much tangible to take away from the spring other than the improved conditioning. Every player pointed out his weight loss, increased stamina and ability to push further than he expected. That was clear in Saturday's no-huddle offense.

"This was like most of the scrimmages we've had," said Rodriguez, who will hold the 15th and final practice Wednesday. "There's some things I shake my head (at) and are really ugly and there's some that give you some hope. As a coach, I've learned to be a little more patient with our first spring."
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PostSubject: Re: U of M football lookin' sloppy   Fri May 02, 2008 1:24 am

Thursday, May 1, 2008
Sam Webb: Recruiting
QB is no longer a problem at U-M

Ever since Rich Rodriguez took the Michigan job in December, most conversations about Michigan recruiting revolved around securing a quarterback that could run Rodriguez's new system. So when Terrelle Pryor cast his lot with Ohio State in March, panic set in for many in Maize and Blue land. That wasn't the case, however, in Schembechler Hall.

Top-flight recruiters share one invaluable trait -- a short memory. When Rodriguez uttered his now common catch phrase, "I only talk about guys that play for Michigan," in response to a reporter's query about Pryor's decision, he drew criticism. It was a move that should have drawn praise. In recruiting there is no time to cry over the love that's lost, especially when there's always a new love right around the corner.

From the moment Pryor fitted that OSU cap on his head, Rodriguez was looking for a new apple of his eye.

Chesapeake, Va., quarterback Kevin Newsome racked up nearly 30 scholarship offers in the three months following his eye-catching performance at the Army All-American combine in January. He was one of the most heavily pursued quarterbacks in the country, and the Wolverines wanted in. With assistant coach Fred Jackson spearheading the recruiting effort, Rodriguez set out to separate Michigan from the pack, and the duo did just that.

"I cannot walk anywhere in my house without seeing something from Michigan -- a letter or something," Newsome told Scout.com. "They are recruiting me the hardest."

Turning up the heat

When Newsome and his family made their way to Ann Arbor for the April 12 spring game, the heat was turned up even more.

"We spent almost two hours talking to Coach Rodriguez," recalled Newsome's father, Kevin Sr. "He seemed like a hands-on coach that's really going to get down to business. He seemed to be really excited about being at the level of football that Michigan is known to be at. He is just ready to get to work."

Added the younger Newsome: "He's a great coach. I love the tradition at Michigan. I think he'll be very successful there. Just look at what he was able to do at West Virginia. That's really impressive."

Twelve days later, Newsome proved just how impressed he was when he pledged to Michigan.

"Newsome may not run like Terrelle Pryor, but he is not far off," said Scout.com regional analyst Bob Lichtenfels. "At the same stage of their careers, Newsome may be the better passer."

Second prospect commits

At 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, Newsome is definitely a primetime runner, as well. He boasts a 4.4 time in the 40, a 35-inch vertical, and a personal best 55-meter hurdle time of 7.37 seconds. Scout.com currently ranks him as the No. 5 quarterback in the country and No. 41 player overall. Landing one field general with that kind of talent is a tall order. That's why Michigan's ability to land Scout.com's No. 22 signal-caller (Shavodrick Beaver of Wichita Falls, Texas) on the heels of landing Newsome is all the more impressive.

"(Newsome's commitment) didn't affect me at all because I know if I go anywhere else, I'm still going to have to compete for the quarterback position," Beaver said after committing to the Wolverines on Tuesday. "It was mainly the opportunity to play in an offense like the one I play in high school. I think it's just best for me and the skills I have. I'm just looking to compete for that starting job."

At 6-4, 195 and capable of running a 4.5, Beaver's athleticism caused many coaches to covet him at other positions, but he maintained a clear preference for where he lines up in college.

"Other schools were looking at me at receiver, but I'm a quarterback," Beaver said emphatically. "I read defenses well, I don't try to force things, and when nothing is open I will run the ball. I'm a playmaker.

"I'm going to keep fighting every single day until I'm the starting quarterback. That's how it is. That's what I was recruited as."

Like Beaver, Newsome also is unfazed by having to compete for time.

He too believes in his ability to become an immediate factor.

"I can get away from defenders and my strongest attribute is my confidence," Newsome says.

Sam Webb is managing editor of GoBlueWolverine magazine and GoBlueWolverine.com, and co-host of the "Michigan Insider" morning show weekdays on Sports Talk 1050 WTKA. His column appears every Thursday.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: U of M football lookin' sloppy   Fri May 02, 2008 7:09 am

Sure hope he's good. U of M football is in dire straits...has been for at least 5 years!
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