Spring Football Practice: April 17, 2010
It was colder than last year. It was 45-47 degrees with winds blowing inside the stadium significantly. I kept my hood up on my sweatshirt the whole time, and wore gloves. Earlier this week, we had an 80+ degree day, why couldn't we have traded that day for Saturday? It was estimated that the crowd was about 35,000, and approximately $300,000 was raised for C.S. Mott Children's Hospital through the event. The locker room tours were from 7-9:30 a.m. on Saturday, and 6:30-8 p.m. on Friday. The Alumni game saw the Blue defeating the Maize; it began at 10 a.m.

Recognition of Spring awards were announced. Greg Banks won the Meyer Morton Award, Mark Moundros won the Matthei Award, Patrick Omameh won the Sophomore Award, the Maulbetsch Award was awarded to Cameron Gordon, Stephen Schilling earned the Dierdorf Award. The best conditioned athletes, Iron Wolverine Awards, recognized were Adam Patterson (Linemen-Offensive and Defensive), Obi Ezeh (Linebackers-Tight Ends-Fullbacks) and Mike Cox and Darryl Stonum for skill positions (Running Backs-Defensive Backs-Quarterbacks-Wide Receivers).

The practice began with special teams; Redshirt Brendon Gibbons, Walk-ons Kris Pauloski, Seth Broekhuizen and non-roster soccer player addition Justin Meram were kicking field goals. Gibbons did not look very good nor very consistent; he kicks left footed. Pauloski looked to be the most consistent, and Broekhuizen looked decent. Meram has the accuracy from short distances, but not the leg for the long ones. If we need a 50 yarder, we can't count on this group. Ann Arbor Pioneer Walk-on Jeremy Ross has told me he plans to win the job when he reports this Summer, and this may be a possibility. The punters were absolutely terrible. Broekhuisen is probably the best, but we are really going to count on Wisconsin recruit Will Hagerup for sure. Troy Clack, Jake Matelic and Curtis Beachum are punters and placekicker walk-ons who were not on the orginial Spring Roster, but have made it on the roster by the Spring Scrimmage. The prospect of two true freshman at punter and placekicker is scary, especially when one considers than many games come down to a field goal and/or special teams play. Tate Forcier had a good punt today, perhaps he'll become our regular punter if Hagerup doesn't meet expectations. On punt returns, Jeremy Gallon has apparently won the job, but didn't get a chance to return anything because of poor punting. Terrence Robinson looks to be his backup; of course, we also have last year's punt return specialists, Martavious Odoms and Junior Hemingway. Recruit Drew Dileo could also help on special teams in the Fall. There were a lot of high snaps today, but our snapper, Tom Pomarico, returns; he was good and consistent in 2009. Other snappers are Curt Graman, Jareth Glanda and George Morales. We know that Darryl Stonum is an excellent kickoff returner, but if we were to begin the season tomorrow, the entire special teams phase of our football program would be a huge concern and our opponents will prepare to exploit it.

Spring Scrimmage Highlights

Top 10 Plays from Spring Scrimmage

Spring Scrimmage Notes

Coach Rod Post Scrimmage Conference

Spring Scrimmage Photos

Michigan Daily Slide Show

45 Pictures from the Detroit Free Press

20 Pictures from the Detroit News

Our first team offense featured Denard Robinson at Quarterback, and he looks much improved; most people believe he will be our starter for the 2010 season and I'd agree after watching his performance today. He is more poised and manages the offense well. Our offensive line featured Taylor Lewan at Left Tackle, Mark Huyge at Right Tackle, Rocko Khoury at Center, Steve Schilling at Left Guard and Patrick Omameh at Right Guard. Perry Dorrenstein didn't dress because of a back injury, but he may win the Right Tackle position this Summer. Mike Schofield is also competing at tackle as well. The backup guards look to be Quinton Washington behind Omameh, and Ricky Barnum behind Schilling. Of course, Dave Molk will start at Center in the Fall. Elliott Mealer didn't dress due to injury, but he'll back up at center and guard. I didn't see too much of John Ferrara, but he looks to be 3rd team at guard. Christian Pace played, but it is expected he'll redshirt. The offensive line should be one of the strengths of this 2010 team, and I'd expect Stephen Schilling to be the offensive captain with starting for four seasons in a row. Eric Gunderson, Zac Ciullo and Kristian Mateus are walk-on offensive linemen.

Denard Lays Claim

Robinson Steps Up

Robinson Steal Show

Robinson Shines

Denard Robinson Interview

The offensive skill positions are seeing a lot of competition. The highlight of the day was a 97 yard bomb to Roy Roundtree that went all the way for a TD. Roundtree and Odoms give us two great slot receivers. Odoms snared 3 TDs on the day. We also have Jeremy Gallon and Terrence Robinson so we have four solid slot receivers with speed who our opponents have to watch on every play. We also have Kelvin Grady for slot. Darryl Stonum and Junior Hemingway are expected to be our two starting wide receivers, but true freshmen Ricardo Miller and Jerald Robinson looked very good today. The competition at wide receiver will be better this Summer with Je'Ron Stokes is healthier, he's had ankle issues; also, Jeremy Jackson and Recruit D.J. Williamson will be competing for travel team spots. Other wide receivers competing as walk-ons are Joe Reynolds, Doug Rogan, Patrick Collins, Jordan Barpal, Jordan Owens and Banquer Sayed.

Roy Roundtree Interview

At Running Back, Michael Cox, Michael Shaw, Fitzgerald Touissaint, Stephen Hopkins, Austin White will continue to compete through the Summer and we'll probably utilize running backs by committee unless someone really stands out. They are all good, capable runners and we have big backs and slashing, quick small backs. Vincent Smith will also return this Summer to compete. I like all the backs, and they all looked good today. Our blocking back position has been manned by Mark Moundros, but with his switch to Linebacker, John McColgan looks to be the lead blocking back. In red zone and/or short yardage situations, it would appear that Cox and Hopkins would be in more due to their size. One problem with our skill positions continues to be "ball control." Our fumbles and mistakes in this spread offense must be minimized, and because most of our skill positions personnel are still so "green, " this continues to be a concern. O'Neill Swanson is a walk-on running back.

No Running Back Seizes a Clear Lead

I wouldn't be surprised at all if Devin Gardner doesn't win the backup quarterback position over Tate Forcier. Forcier continues to make way too many mistakes, and Gardner is such a quality athlete with multiple skills that he may very well win the backup position. In either case, it doesn't look like Gardner will redshirt. It was too bad that after the fans welcomed Gardner with a rousing ovation on his first series, he fumbled the snap; however, his dive pushed the ball out of bounds. Gardner also threw an interception to Obi Ezeh, and Craig Roh dropped a second possible interception. He's definitely a freshman, but a very talented one. Jack Kennedy is the 4th quarterback, Nader Furrha is the 5th quarterback and Conelius Jones will be here this Summer to compete.

Our "large" wide receiver position looks like it is in very capable hands with Kevin Koger, Martell Webb and Brandon Moore. Gardner hit Moore with a nice 25 yard reception across the middle early in the scrimmage. Jon Bills and Dylan Esterline are walk-on Tight End/Large Receivers.

On Defense, the three down lineman will be Mike Martin at Defensive Tackle, Will Campbell at Nose Tackle and Ryan VanBergen at Defensive End. Since Greg Banks won the Meyer Morton Award, we can expect to see him at both Defensive End and Defensive Tackle. Renaldo Sagesse will be the backup at Nose Tackle. Adam Patterson won the Michigan Ironman Award for Linemen so he'll also be a key backup at Defensive End especially with Will Heinager being sidelined with ACL surgery. Anthony Lolata is another promising player who may see action. Steve Watson won't figure for much playing time at Defensive End. The line should be pretty good, tough and mobile. I would doubt if any incoming freshmen have a chance to play on the defensive line, but maybe one will emerge from Jibreel Black, Richard Ash, Terry Talbott or Kenny Wilkins. The rest will redshirt. Dominique Ware, Alex Schwab, Chris Eddins and Nate Brink are walk-on defensive linemen.

Linebacker is where the defense will "sink or swim." We all know about the problems in 2009, and three of the four starters are back. Seniors Obi Ezeh and Jonas Mouton are expected to start and be better than last year. Both looked good today, but I'm sure our opponents will try to exploit our linebackers with overpursuit and mobility issues in passing situations. I did notice in practice prior to the scrimmage several new passing drills with linebackers and defensive backs in cover situations. We all expect Craig Roh to be much improved, and to be one of the defensive leaders in 2010. It looks like Thomas Gordon has moved ahead of Walk-on Floyd Simmons in the battle to replace Stevie Brown as SAM-OLB. Some people are now calling this the Spur position. We may also see true freshmen, Marvin Robinson and Josh Furman compete for playing time here as well. Backing up Roh at Quick Linebacker/Spinner is Brandon Herron, and he was injured in the Spring. It looks like Kenny Demens is now first backup at MIKE Inside Linebacker behind Ezeh, and Kevin Leach, Mike Jones and J.B. Fitzgerald are backing up Mouton at WILL Inside Linebacker. I think we will see Demens in for Red Zone Defense. From today's scrimmage, nobody really stood out, but part of the problem was this group couldn't go full out with all the quarterbacks having a red shirt so nobody could hit or tackle them. Mike Williams has been injured, but he will also compete at SAM-OLB along with Brandin Hawthorne. I didn't see or hear the name of Isaiah Bell today. Of the incoming freshmen, I would have to believe that Jordan Paskorz would have the best shot for playing time behind Roh; Jake Ryan, Davion Rogers and Antonio Kinard will most likely redshirt behind these returning players. Other walk-on linebackers include Quinton Tucker, Paul Gyarmati, Rasheed Furrha,

Obi Ezeh Interview

In the Defensive Backfield, the two cornerbacks will be Troy Wolfolk and J.T. Floyd. Wolfolk didn't play today due to hand injury, but it looks like the backup positions are up for grabs with the true freshmen: Cullen Christian, Demar Dorsey, Courtney Avery and/or Terrence Talbott. J.T. Turner is backing up Floyd, but is slated to move to Safety this Summer. Floyd has improved, but whether he has improved enough won't be known until Fall. We know what Wolfolk can do since he has started at cornerback and safety for the last two seasons. Others who are competing at cornerback include walk-ons, Tony Anderson and Al Bakey. Anderson started for the second team defense in the Spring scrimmage. James Rogers didn't play much, and I'm not sure if that was due to injury or competition. At safety, Cameron Gordon has won the Free or Box Safety position and earned the Maulbetsch Award. He should be a good addition to the secondary. The Strong Safety position is between Walk-on Jordan Kovacs and Vladimir Emilien, and if the season were to start next week, it looks like Kovacs would get the start. Apparently, Kovacs did earn a scholarship for the 2010 season. Emilien was burned for the 97 yard TD by Roundtree. The competition at safety will also include Teric Jones, Carvin Johnson, Marvin Johnson, Josh Furman, Ray Vinopal and other walk-ons like Jared Van Slyke, Zac Johnson, Jordan Reilly, Karl Tech and Matt Cavanaugh.

Leadership or the lack of leadership is one of the big issues with our defense, and our Seniors this year are Greg Banks, Obi Ezeh, Jonas Mouton, Adam Patterson and Troy Wolfolk. Who will be the defensive captain? My guess is it will be Woolfolk, but we really have issues with leadership on the defense. I believe most true Michigan fans, including myself, are tired of the emphasis on offense in the Coach Rod era. What most Michigan fans want out of this football program is a solid defense rather than a team who is capable of outscoring opponents.

I think when we approach this season, we must be realistic. We all know that Coach Rod needs to finish 7-5 or better to earn a bowl game to keep his job. I was listening to Brandon Graham on WTKA state that he expects at least a 10 win season from this group. While I think going 12-0 is a remote chance, I'll but my season prediction in terms of percentages. I see this team with a 95% chance of going at 2-2 or better in the pre-season, and a 70-75% chance of going 3-1 with about a 50% chance of going 4-0 with Connecticut, Bowling Green, Notre Dame and Massachusetts on the schedule. In the Big Ten, I see this team with with a 75% chance at 4-4, 50-60% chance at 5-3, 40-50% chance at 6-2, 25-30% chance at 7-1 and 5-10% chance at 8-0 with the same Big Ten schedule as last season with Illinois, Michigan State, Iowa and Wisconsin at home; Ohio State, Penn State, Indiana and Purdue on the road. If we can go 3-1 or 4-0 at home, and split 2-2 on the road, we'd finish the Big Ten season at 5-3 or 6-2 which would be a huge improvement. Without a doubt, the Michigan State game is a definite "must win" game; it is at home, and the Spartans are gunning for three wins in a row over Michigan. Ohio State and Wisconsin will be the two Big Ten favorites in the pre-season with Iowa, Michigan State and Penn State as darkhorse candidates for the title. While I hope we finish 12-0, win the Big Ten title and compete for the BCS title, I think the chances of this in 2010 are remote. My prediction is that we finish 7-5 overall, 4-4 in the conference and earn a bowl game. If we achieve at least this, Coach Rod will be most likely keep his job for 2011 and we will look for a great 2011 season for perhaps a BCS Bowl Bid and chance for the Big Ten title.

Another thing about the Spring Scrimmage of note was the construction updates in the stadium. Stadium Suite Tour It is quite remarkable to see the two press boxes and upgrades to the facility. It also seems like the construction and upgrades to the Michigan football program parallels the stadum changes. When everything is finished for the 2011 and 2012 season with night games, it will be something to behold and the team should be BCS caliber for those seasons. The $226 million project is nearing completion. Michigan Stadium Project

2010 Spring Football Roster

2010 Spring Media Football Guide

Spring Scrimmage on the Big Ten Network

PNC Locker Room Tours: Friday 6:30-8 p.m./Saturday 7-9:30 a.m.

Spring Scrimmage Becomes a Fundraiser for Mott Hospital

No More Kickoff Return Wedges

Highlights of Spring Practice April 12

Coach Rod Press Conference April 6

Highlights of Spring Practice after 8 practices

Greg Robinson Speaks on 3-3-5 Defense

April 1st Plays of the Day: Cam Gordon and Troy Wolfolk

Coach Rod Press Conference March 23

Practice Notes March 23

March 22 Spring Practice

Practice Notes March 20

Practice Notes March 16

Highlights of First Spring Practice

Coach Rod's Press Conference prior to Spring Practice

Signing Day Video

National Football Recruiting 2010

Observations on Michigan Football Recruiting 2010

27 Letters of Intent

Scholarship Summary for 2011

Michigan Football Scholarship Situation for 2011

Observations on Michigan Football Recruiting 2009

2010 High School All-American Devin Gardner throws TD Pass in Win

2010 Recruits Will Hagerup and Cullen Christian participate in U.S. Army All American Game

Adam Braithwaite to turn around the Linebackers and Safeties

Coach Rod in no hurry to hire defensive coach

Early Enrollments give New Wolverines a Head Start

Devin Gardner enrolled on January 17

New Names Emerging for Michigan in Final Recruiting Month

Developing Depth Chart for 2010

Developing Depth Chart for 2011

Michigan Spring Scrimmage 2009

Michigan Spring Scrimmage 2008
Spring Practice Summary 2006
Spring Scrimmage 2005
Spring Scrimmage 2004
Spring Scrimmage 2003-cancelled due to turf/weather
Spring Scrimmage 2002
Spring Scrimmage 2001
Spring Scrimmage 2000