Wednesday, August 27, 2008

BTN interview with Nick Sheridan

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Monday Press Conference- Week One

Yesterday, Coach Rod gave his first game week press conference as the team prepared for the season opener vs. Utah. Coach Rod said in his opening statement, "We're obviously excited to play a game. I think our players have a little bounce in their step because we are in game week. They have it put a lot of work in. I think we still have got a lot of work to do. I still have a lot of question marks coming into the game Saturday, particularly because we have so many guys playing for the first time. But the guys that put in a lot of work, I think everybody in the program is ready to go against another opponent. We know what the challenge is in front of us and hopefully we'll be ready."

To gain an in-depth knowledge of the background of this Saturday's game, check out the updated version of the Michigan game notes (.pdf), the University of Utah's 2008 Football Media Guide and Utah Coach Kyle Whittingham's Monday Press Conference quotes. Go Blue!


Monday, August 25, 2008

Getting to know...RG David Moosman

With four of last year's five starting offensive lineman having left the program after last season, some fans are wondering about the guys who will be taking their place. Slotted in to start at Right Guard (RG) this Saturday is #60 David Moosman (Sr./Jr.). Moosman turns 22 next week as his birthday is on September 2nd. He was born in 1986 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Even more interesting is the fact that Moosman is an accomplished chess player. He played on a national chess champion club team in elementary school. Moosman, who has seen action as a back-up in 7 games over the last two seasons, will be making the first start of his career this Saturday. Hopefully, Moosman will stay one move ahead of the Utah Utes' defensive linemen this Saturday just like he does when he is playing chess. Go Blue!

*Note: Photo of Moosman w/ imaginary football in his hand as if he was playing center by Leisa Thompson, The Ann Arbor News.

Honorary Captains

The Michigan legends that were named to serve as the team's Honorary Captains for the first game of the 2008 season are Bob Chappuis, Ron Kramer and Dan Dierdorf. They will be present during the opening coin toss and will be honored during the first TV timeout of the game.

Ron Kramer (on the right on SI cover)

Dan Dierdorf (on left of photo w/ Coach Carr)

Go Blue!

Rick "The Peach" Leach

While Michigan continues to struggle to find its #1 QB for 2008, here is a look back at the greatest QB to ever don a Wolverine uniform- Rick Leach. The video was created by WolverineHistorian and is brought to you via FanDome.

Coach Carr: The Man, The Myth, The LEGEND

The Big Ten Network program "Big Ten Legends" will debut the episode featuring Lloyd Carr tomorrow (August 26, 2008) at 6:00 p.m. Here is a preview:

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Two-deep Depth Chart

The Two-deep depth chart as reported by John Heuser of The Ann Arbor News. Click on the chart to view a larger version. Go Blue!

2008 Big Ten Football Media Guides

It's game week for the first game of the 2008 Football Season and what better way to prepare yourself for the upcoming contests than by brushing up on the Big Ten competitors by reading each school's Football Media Guide. Each Media Guide is in .pdf format. Here is the list in no particular order:

Good reading and Go Blue!


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Top Gun

In 2006, Coach Carr used the film "Cinderella Man" as inspiration for the Wolverines. In looking for a film that captures the spirit of this year's team, "Top Gun" is clearly the movie the quarterbacks should be watching. It is uncanny to look at the parallels between "Top Gun" and the Michigan QBs in Fall Camp. Imagine for a moment, if you will, the 2008 QB competition as Top Gun:
  • Nick Sheridan as "Maverick"
  • Steve Threet as "Iceman"
  • Shari Acho as Charlotte "Charlie" Blackwood
  • Head Coach Rich Rod as Cmdr. Mike "Viper" Metcalf
  • QB coach Rod Smith as Lt. Cmdr. Rick "Jester" Heatherly
  • Zoltan Mesko as "Goose"
  • Sam McGuffie as "Slider"
*Scene one

(setting: The players are gathered in the Football meeting room with Coach Rod addressing the team)

Coach Rich Rod: Gentleman, you are the top 1% of all college football players. The elite. The best of the best. We'll make you better. We'll teach you how to spread the offense right to the edge, further than you've ever pushed it before. At the end of Fall Camp, one of your names will be on the top of the depth chart. Do you think your name is going to be up there?

Sheridan: Yes sir.

Coach Rich Rod: That's pretty arrogant considering the company you are in.

Sheridan: Yes sir.

Coach Rich Rod: I like that in a quarterback. Just remember at the end of the day we are all on the same team out there. Gentlemen, this school is about winning. There are no points for second string. Dismissed.

*Scene Two

(setting: Quarterbacks are in a position meeting with QB Coach Rod Smith)

Coach Smith: Throughout the year you will be evaluated not only athletically but also academically. Here to help you academically is Football Academic Counselor Shari Acho. She's not on staff so you don't call her coach but you better listen to her because the Athletic Department listens to her. It's all yours Shari.

Shari Acho: I've been going through your class schedules and some of you need to sign up for a foreign language class unless you test out of the requirement and none of you can do that.

Sheridan: (interrupting) I'm sorry ma'am but that's not right.

Shari Acho: What's not right?

Sheridan: While at Saline High School, I took...

Vince Helmuth: We.

Sheridan: Sorry, Vince. While at Saline High School, We...

Vince Helmuth: Thank You.

Sheridan:...took Spanish 4 and then tested out of the foreign language requirement.

Threet: (coughing) Baloney!

Vince Helmuth: No man. He really did. It was great.

Shari Acho: So you're the one?

Sheridan: Yes ma'am.

Coach Smith: (interrupting by yelling): Alright gentleman we have practice drills to run. Once the whistle blows the play is dead and there will be no contact after that. Move it.

*Scene later in the Fall

(Voice over as Sheridan and Mesko walk to the practice field)

Voice of Coach Rod: We've been through two weeks of camp and the competition for the top of the depth chart remains tight. Threet is ahead with Sheridan just behind.

(Voiceover ends)

Greg Mathews: Hey Sheridan. Did you hear about Threet?

Sheridan: What's that?

Greg Mathews: He was scoring on the defense all morning.

Sheridan: Oh, really? I FEEL THE NEED...


*Later Scene:

(setting: players file in the locker room after a hard practice; Sheridan scored on the final play of the practice when he kept running for the end zone even after the play had been blown dead)

Threet: We scored on the defense all day!

Mathews: So did Sheridan's unit.

McGuffie: That's not what I heard.

Threet: After the whistle doesn't count.

Sheridan: After the whistle, my foot. We scored on those guys! Woo Hoo!

Threet: I don't think so.

Sheridan: What's your problem Threet?

Threet: You're everyone's problem Sheridan. I don't like you because you're dangerous.

Sheridan: That's right Threet. I am dangerous!

This rather warped view of the Michigan quarterback competition is a parody and should not be taken seriously. Go Blue!

*Note: Top photo of Maverick (Tom Cruise) and Ice Man (Val Kilmer) from the 1986 Motion Picture "Top Gun"

*Note 2: Photo of Nick Sheridan (left) and Steve Threet by JOHN T. GREILICK/The Detroit News

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Michigan Football Practice- Passing Drills

Coach Rod on Big Ten Tonight: Football Practice

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Program reminders

Don't forget, the Big Ten Network program "Big Ten Tonight: Football Practice" will be filming practice on Monday, 8-18-08 and will broadcast a 90-minute program at 9:00 p.m. EST. Also, on August 23, 2008, the BTN will air the Michigan Football preview at 6:30 p.m. EST. Lastly, the inaugural season of "Inside Michigan Football" commences on Thursday, August 28, 2008 at 6:30 p.m. on FSN Detroit with a replay Friday night at midnight on WXYZ-TV 7 (ABC). Go Blue!

Media/Fan Day held today

The 2008 Media/Fan Day was held today (Sunday, 8-17-08). According to, Coach Rodriguez gave his opening press conference to the media, followed by one-on-one interviews with Michigan's coordinators and position coaches. The media also had a chance to interview, videotape and photograph each of the Wolverine players on the practice field adjacent to Oosterbaan Fieldhouse.

At noon, the players bused to Michigan Stadium for the team and group pictures, giving the media one more opportunity to enter the stadium prior to the 2008 kickoff. Then it was back to Oosterbaan Fieldhouse for the afternoon's Fan Day, which gave the fans a chance to meet the team and coaches, get autographs and photos, and pick up promotional materials.

I did not attend the Fan Day. In 2006, Nick of Stadium and Main aptly described Fan Day thusly, "Middle-aged dudes asking for autographs for their kids, when they don’t have kids… that ain’t right. That just ain’t right." Besides being hilarious, Nick's comment was also dead on. That is why I skip Fan Day.

However, if you are interested in knowing what went on today, you can check out these photo galleries and audio files:

Go Blue!

*Note: 2008 team photo (top) by JULIAN H. GONZALEZ/Detroit Free Press

Monday, August 11, 2008

Resources to brush up on the Spread Offense

Sports Illustrated's 2008 College Football Preview issue devoted a lot of space to the rise of the Spread Offense. The article, Can't Beat the Spread, is a good primer on the topic. In order to know what is going on this season you may want to review a few more of the following informative pieces regarding the Spread Offense:

Go Blue!

Rich Rod explains the Spread Offense

2008 Michigan Football Fall Media Guide

» Part 1 (pages 1-27, 5.04 MB)

» Part 2 (pages 28-41, 1.91 MB)

» Part 3 (pages 42-55, 2.31 MB)

» Part 4 (pages 56-84, 4.47 MB)


» Part 1 (Babb-Jamison, pages 85-105, 1.19 MB)

» Part 2 (W. Johnson-Schrimscher, pages 106-121, 897 KB)

» Part 3 (Sheridan-Witherspoon, pages 122-137, 663 KB)


» Part 1 (Coach Rich Rodriguez, pages 138-143, 664 KB)

» Part 2 (Assistant Coaches, pages 144-157, 997 KB)


» Part 1 (Strength Training and Conditioning, pages 158-166, 1.54 MB)

» Part 2 (Support Staff, pages 168-177, 713 KB)

» Part 3 (Academics, pages 178-184, 953 MB)

THE UNIVERSITY (pages 185-208, 4.11 MB)
Go Blue!


Sunday, August 10, 2008

SI's College Football Preview: What was old is new again

In 1969, Bo Schembechler was the new Head Coach at Michigan after having coached the previous six seasons as the head man at his alma mater Miami (OH) University. Ohio State won the National Championship the previous season and was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated's 1969 College Football Preview issue (Sept. 15, 1969) as the #1 pre-season team. Michigan was unranked and the preview issue noted that the Wolverines "may have to wait a few years for results." Contrary to the bleak forecast, Michigan went on to win the Big Ten Championship and advance to the Rose Bowl by beating #1 Ohio State 24-12 in the final game of the regular season (12/1/69 SI issue: Bye-Bye, No.1).

Fast forward to 2008. Rich Rod is the new Head Coach at Michigan after having coached the previous seven seasons as the head man at his alma mater West Virginia University. Ohio State played in the BCS National Championship game the previous season and is featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated's 2008 College Football Preview issue (August 14, 2008) as the #2 pre-season team. Michigan is not ranked in the top-20 (it is ranked #54) and is predicted to finish 5-7 on the year. In the article, Can't Beat the Spread, it states "If past is prologue, the Wolverines will grind their offensive gears in RichRod's first season. After that, stand back." The odds are stacked against the Wolverines and their new Head Coach just like 1969. Hopefully, the 2008 Wolverines can repeat the success Michigan experienced during Bo's initial season. Go Blue!

Monday, August 04, 2008

And we're under way

The players reported yesterday, the first team training table was devoured last night, and the first practice was held today. Things are moving forward in the Rich Rod-era. This is always an exciting time of year for the team. In his book, Bo's Lasting Lessons, Coach Schembechler described in Chapter 7 (Lay Down Your Laws) how he conducted the opening of Fall Camp. Coach Schembechler wrote that his typed outline for the first team meeting of Fall Camp listed 23 categories of expectations with 197 bullet points under those categories. Bo described that when the players walked in, they picked up a thick Michigan football binder with everything they needed to know to be a Wolverine inside. Bo wrote that instead of spoon feeding them the opening speech by printing it out, he had the players write down everything he said so they would remember it. Bo stated that the thrust of all his rules was simple: There is a right way and a wrong way to do everything, and at Michigan Football they were going to do everything the right way. Bo wrote that the first meeting usually took about two hours. He stated in that first meeting, they defined who they were, where they were going, and how they were going to get there-and that's exactly what happened. Hopefully, Coach Rod's initial meeting with the entire 2008 team followed the same guidelines. Go Blue!


Sunday, August 03, 2008

The 39-year war vs. OSU

The 2008 season marks the 40th season since Coach Schembechler took over as Head Coach of the Wolverines in 1969 and ushered in the modern-era of Michigan Football. In the book Bo's Lasting Lessons, Coach Schembechler wrote (at page 30):
From the very start, my entire focus was to beat Ohio State. That was a tall order, because they were the returning national champs, ranked number one in the nation, and had just beaten Michigan the year before, 50-14.
Coach Schembechler, of course, led his first team to a dominating 24-12 victory over the Buckeyes in the 1969 game. That contest was the first of the "Ten Year War" between Michigan Head Coach Schembechler and Ohio State Head Coach Woody Hayes. Bo got the best of Woody in the "Ten Year War" as Michigan went 5-4-1 vs. Ohio State from 1969-1978. For his career, Bo was 11-9-1 against the Buckeyes. Bo was followed as Michigan's Head Coach by Gary Moeller who had a sterling 3-1-1 record vs. Ohio State from 1990-1994. Coach Moeller was succeeded by Coach Lloyd Carr who went 6-7 vs. OSU (after starting 5-1 in his first 6 seasons). That means the Wolverines have a 20-17-2 record in the series vs. Ohio State during the modern-era (1969-present).

Although new Michigan Head Coach Rich Rodriguez is familiar with the rich history surrounding the rivalry with OSU, Coach Rod has a different approach to the game than did Coach Schembechler. During his press conference at the Big Ten Media Days, Coach Rod was asked about the rivalry game vs. OSU and he stated (at the 17:00 mark), "I'm not the kind of coach that has a countdown to a particular game. Other than the game that is next." Coach Rod went on to remark (at the 18:25 mark), "We talk about it but nothing in particularly significant for just one team all the time." This is a markedly different approach than what Coach Schembechler took in 1969 and succeeding seasons. At the Monday (November 13, 2006) Press Conference the week of the 2006 Michigan/Ohio State game, when Bo was asked how much he would prepare to play Ohio State, he responded, "Every day. It was our strategy here at Michigan to do something to beat Ohio State every day, and even if it's in the first meeting to talk about it. But we're going to do something every day." Of course, Bo's approach was extremely successful in 1969 and subsequent seasons. Hopefully, Coach Rod's low-key approach will yield just as successful results in the rivalry game vs. Ohio State. To read more about the Michigan/Ohio State rivalry, you can go to the site Greatest Rivals which was just added to the blog roll. Go Blue!

Labels: , ,

Fall Practice starts tomorrow

Fall practice kicks off tomorrow (August 4, 2008) and Coach Rod is ready to go. There will be 29 Fall practice sessions before the Wolverines kick off their season on August 30, 2008 vs. Utah. Michigan will have single session practices this week and two-a-day practices commence Saturday, August 9, 2008. Media/Photo Day is scheduled for Sunday, August 17th. The following day (August 18, 2008), the Big Ten Network (BTN) program "Big Ten Tonight: Football Practice" will be on campus to film practice. The broadcast will air at 9:00 p.m. that night. In addition, BTN will broadcast its Michigan Football season preview on Aug. 23 at 6:30 p.m.

If you cannot wait for the end of the month to watch a Michigan game, you can always try watching some classic Wolverine contests on the BTN to tide you over. On Sunday, August 10, 2008 at 11:00 p.m. EST, the Big Ten Network is showing the classic 1993 Rose Bowl game during which Tyrone Wheatley ran for 235 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 38-31 Michigan victory over Washington. On Monday, August 11, 2008 at 6:00 a.m. EST the BTN will replay the classic 1997 Michigan/Ohio State game that put the Wolverines into the Rose Bowl to play for the National Championship. Set your Tivo recorders. Go Blue!