i think it wont be long before we are contending for titles again. rich rod is a very good coach and barwis is a god. when former player come back that have been in the league for several years and work out with him and increase speed, agility and stregnth in 1 offseason that says something.
we aint goint to be contending for titles anytime soon. dream away
Shaw's hit, Threet's pass mark latest Michigan practice
Posted by Jim Carty | The Ann Arbor News August 12, 2008 17:18PM
Categories: Columns, Wolverines Football
Two moments marked the beginning of Tuesday's University of Michigan football practice, one good, one not so good, both tying in nicely with coach Rich Rodriguez's comments earlier in the day.
The good came during what Rodriguez and his staff call the M-drill.
Three pairs of players, one offensive and one defensive in each pair, are placed inside a gradually narrowing cone. While the rest of the team surrounds the drill and shouts for one side or the other, a running back starts in the narrow end of the cone and tries to make his way around the battling pairs to the open end of the cone.
The close quarters mean few backs get through.
Michael Shaw's turn came a few minutes into the drill.
The freshman from Ohio sprinted past the first defensive player, then cut back around the second. If that had been all he did, it would have still been an impressive display of speed and shiftiness, but highly touted freshman corner Boubacar Cissoko was still between Shaw and the end of the cone.
Shaw hinted at a move and then simply squared up and pancaked Cissoko. Rolled right over him. With authority.
"Ohhhhhhh!" went the team.
"Wow," whispered a reporter.
Earlier in the day Rodriguez had admitted a handful of freshman had already caught his eye, including Shaw and fellow tailback Sam McGuffie.
"McGuffie and Shaw are two guys that will not be redshirted - they'll play," the coach said. "They've done enough to convince us that they can contribute as freshmen, and I think as much mentally as physically. The biggest drawback for a freshman coming in is, can they mentally handle the schemes and the pace, all the things that go on with it? Those two have shown that they can.
"They're both fast, explosive players, who I think are good with the spread system. We're excited about it. As much as anything, I like the way they practice. Freshmen come in and sometimes you have to teach them the intensity of practice. These guys were obviously well coached in high school. They were prepared well when they got here."
McGuffie's YouTube highlights have made the Texan the most anticipated Michigan running back since Mike Hart - and watching practice, it's easy to imagine McGuffie living up to the hype. All the speed and elusiveness seems to have translated to the college level.
But Shaw has a lot of the qualities and more smack when he hits you.
If the two continue to produce, Michigan could be stacked with talent at running back now and in the future.
Quarterback is another matter, a point underscored by both the coach and the practice.
Tuesday morning, Rodriguez seemed to rule freshman Justin Feagin out of the competition. "He's got a long way to go mentally," the coach said, "because he's got so much to learn."
Former walk-on Nick Sheridan and Georgia Tech transfer Steven Threet remained very close, he said, adding that both would play if the season started today (then semi-grumbling that he didn't really like the hypothetical).
Come practice time, though, it didn't look all that close.
Sheridan played with efficiency and a swagger, smoothly running through his drills, delivering almost all his short- and medium-range passes with accuracy and zip.
Threet wasn't bad, he just wasn't good, and certainly didn't seem as steady as Sheridan. In one red zone passing drill, his pass drilled into the ground just in front of a receiver cutting back to the middle of the field.
"I pray to God you never throw the ball like that in a game," offensive line coach Greg Frey snapped.
"If you're in the game," offensive coordinator Calvin McGee added.
Can Sheridan, the undersized local kid from Saline, the former Michigan assistant's son, really win this quarterback job?
Can Shaw and McGuffie keep it up?
These and plenty of other questions continue to make this the most intriguing August in years around here.
And as Rodriguez stressed a few hours earlier, there are 18 more days of practice before Michigan opens its season against the University of Utah, and a lot of things can happen in 18 days, for better or for worse.
25 Michigan Keys: #8
Posted by Chris Burke August 12, 2008 21:19PM
Categories: U-M Football
Key #8: Steve Schilling's leadership potential
There's no use dancing around it - Michigan's offensive line is one of the biggest question marks in the entire conference, let alone Ann Arbor.
Jake Long is setting up shop in Miami. Underrated Adam Kraus has graduated after 35 career starts. Alex Mitchell and his 18 starts ... gone. Justin Boren moved to Columbus, stopping at every McDonald's and Pizza Hut along the way.
So not only do the Wolverines have to break in a new quarterback, new running backs, new wide receivers and a new offense, they have to do so behind a line that has 14 career starts.
Thirteen of those starts belong to Schilling. He will anchor Michigan's offensive line from the right tackle spot and he must not only be good, he must set an example for everyone.
There is little question that the talent is there. Schilling started last year out of necessity as a redshirt freshman, but it's not like he was completely lucky in earning that role. Assuming that he makes the expected improvement before his second season, Barwis does his thing, and he adjusts to the spread, the sky is the limit.
But, again, this goes beyond simply lining up and blocking people. Schilling needs to take charge of this line and make it his.
The 2008 season will be all about finding new leaders. Schilling is batting leadoff up front, and he needs to take advantage.