Kevin Koger on the Summer Seven on Sevens

Who impressed the veteran Michigan tight end at WR in the seven on seven sessions this summer? At TE? At RB? At LB? At CB? At Safety? Koger dishes on all of it.

Question: How is the offense progressing this summer, it has been a while since anybody seen it in the spring?

Kevin Koger: "I think we are progressing well. Every Tuesday and Thursday, the seniors have the team out and we do seven on seven with skills position and O-line and D-line have their own little things that they doing off on the side getting better. When camp roles around, we'll hit the ground running."

Question: What are the senior's role in the seven on seven with the coaches not being allowed to be around?

Kevin Koger: "We're there to lead. There to keep the team focused and make sure that everybody is competing on every snap and not taking a play off."

Question: Who has really stood out to you in those seven on seven sessions?

Kevin Koger: "I would probably say the receiving corps as a whole. There is a lot of great competition at receiver. It will be interesting to see once camp comes who shines during camp and who gets that starting position."

Question: Is there anybody in that receiving corp that has kind of been a surprise so far?

Kevin Koger: "Not really just because I'm around those guys every day and I know what everybody can do. It is just them showing the country what they can do."

Question: Obviously, we've seen what you can do, based on what you saw this summer, what can we expect out of Brandon Moore, Steve Watson or Ricardo Miller?

Kevin Koger: "You can expect a lot of productivity. Brandon Moore really hasn't got a shot in the past couple of years and I think his playing time will increase exponentially over this next year. I think he'll shock a lot of people. I think he will do really well this year and he will challenge me for a starting spot. You can't discount Brandon Moore, even Steve Watson and Ricardo Miller, all those guys. We have a walk on, Mike Kwiatowski. He is a really good kid, a good-looking kid, a good physical kid. There will be a lot of competition there. Not just there, but every position on the field. Nobody has a starting spot per se. We haven't started camp yet so you never know what could happen."

"Actually Ricardo Miller got a lot of football during the spring time and he made a lot of good plays. He's still learning the tight end position a little bit as we all are, but I definitely feel like he can be a playmaker once it is all said and done for him."

Question: How are Brandon's hands?

Kevin Koger: "Very soft. He is rangy kid. He is about 6'6". He can use his body well. He gets his body position really well and catches the ball really well."

Question: With Ricardo, does he feel like a tight end yet, is he still more of an H-back, is he still a receiver trying to become a tight end?

Kevin Koger: "There is definitely a learning curve for him because he played receiver, but he is definitely committed. If the coaches tell him to gain ten pounds, Ricardo gains ten pounds. They tell him he needs to get better on his blocking, he's out there all the time working on his blocking. Ricardo is definitely committed. I see him all the time doing extra work. I'm really proud of Ricardo, I'm happy and can't wait to see what he does in the fall."

Question: Would you say blocking is what he's working most on this summer?

"It is definitely blocking. He is a former receiver. Ricardo definitely knows how to run routes. He might be the fastest guy in the tight end group. Once he puts a little weight on and learns how to block, he'll definitely be a great player for Michigan in the future."

Question: Which of the defenders that you went up against this summer impressed you?

"Kenny Demens is a stronger guy and you have to create separation because if he gets his hands on you it's over. He's so strong he'll put you to the ground.

"Brandon Herron is really fast and you have to be sound in your technique when you go up against him."

Question: A year ago at this time, Denard was not the guarantee starter at quarterback, now for all intents and purposes he is; has his leadership or attitude changed in the summer? Has he taken more of a leadership role as you guys go through workouts?

Kevin Koger: "You can definitely see him speaking up more. I think that is because he is more comfortable around the team now. He did play a lot last year and I think that helped with his confidence, but you can definitely see the confidence in him. He is not scared to get after me, or to get after underclassman … he is definitely taking control of the huddle."

Question: Nothing against Devin (Gardner) but is there a different when Denard is on the field than when Devin just because of that experience and because of that leadership?

Kevin Koger: "It is not really a big difference. Devin is a great quarterback. I really feel like if he was at another school he would play right away. They are both playmakers. Devin is deceptively fast. Denard, you already know about his speed, but they both make great decisions. I think there is definitely no drop off when Devin comes on the field."

Question: Were you nervous at all that Denard might transfer with the coaching change, there was talk about it?

Kevin Koger: "I really didn't get into it. I trust Denard and whatever decision was best for him, he was going to make it. I'm glad he choose to stay here."

Question: Did he come in at any point and say hey guys I'm staying, I'm coming back and let you guys know?

Kevin Koger: "Naw. It was never none of that. Denard is really humble and he would never draw attention to himself like that in anyway. He is a good guy. He never did anything like that, say hey I'm staying/I'm leaving."

Question: What have you noticed in his arm this summer making touch passes? Where is he at?

Kevin Koger: "His arm has always been good. I bring up the story about the time he mangled my finger, his freshman year and my sophomore year. His arm is not even a question. He is definitely throwing some touch passes. He can definitely throw the long ball. I think people don't give him enough credit for that. He definitely throws the ball down the field. I will be interested to see what happens this year. His arm has never been a question for me, ever."

Question: Is your finger still bent?

Kevin Koger: "Yeah the more I relax…I mean I can straighten it, but when I'm relaxed it still a little bent."

Question: What was the story, in practice?

Kevin Koger: "Yeah it was practice his freshman year. I ran a five yard hitch route and as soon as I turned around the ball was on me and so all I could do was throw my hands up. I thought I just jammed my finger. They tried to put popsicle sticks on it or whatever to straighten it out. I'm just going to let it be bent the rest of my life."

Question: Are you right handed, does it affect your writing at all?

Kevin Koger: "Yeah, no it doesn't affect it. The only thing is when I grip something for a while it will lock up a little bit."

Question: What did you see from the seven on sevens and how surprising are some people going to be and how explosive can the receivers be?

Kevin Koger: "Look at Wisconsin last year. Look how many points they put up during the season and they ran a pro style offense. They ran two tight ends a lot of the time. It is proven that a pro style offense can put up points. It is not all about putting up points. We have to control the ball. We got to help our defense. We can't just have all these quick scores and then our defense on the field. We want to be on the field more than the defense is, so we definitely want to control the tempo of the game."

Question: Is that something that you guys were missing last year being on the field for a long time, either you were scoring or turning it over, whatever it was.

Kevin Koger: "You have to talk to Coach Borges about that. I'm just giving you my take on it. It is what it is. The defense is always ready. They are always ready if we have a quick score for 80 yards, they are on the field, if we have a 12 play drive and we score. They are always ready. I think ball control for the defense is not such a big deal as it is for us."

Question: Other than Denard, who else stood out this summer in the seven on sevens – who should we expect to be a huge playmaker on offense this year?

Kevin Koger: "I would say Roy Roundtree and Junior Hemingway. But we can just go down the list. People expect me to catch all these balls this year. I'm fortunate to get any because we have all these playmakers on offense. I'm just happy to get anything thrown my way. You can go down the list. I feel like we have a lot of explosive players on offense, a lot of playmakers."

Question: With Roundtree people were concerned that maybe he wouldn't be able to make the transition to the new offense as well. We are hearing good things from him this summer, what have you seen from him in the seven on sevens, and how will his role be in this offense?

Kevin Koger: "He definitely is going to play a big part. He had a big season last year and he is quality player. Quality players can make the transition as he did. I saw no lag or drop off from Roundtree, or any of the receivers with the new offense. They have taken to coaching really. Coach Hecklinski is doing a great job with the receivers and getting on them and making sure they are doing what they have to do."

Question: Are there any underclassman in the receiving corps that were standing out for you in the seven on sevens — or guys who think he could be the next Mario Manningham, or something?

Kevin Koger: "I've been really proud of Jeremy Jackson. He has done a great job. He has got a lot better since last year. He is a very hard worker, along with all the other guys. Jeremy Jackson has done a really good job. As have Jerald Robinson and Drew Dileo, just to name a few."

Question: What is that Jeremy does, is it just hard work, is there a certain skill that he has?

Kevin Koger: "Jeremy definitely has great hands. I don't see him drop too many balls, if any. Jeremy has great hands and that is his certain skill set. He makes it work for him and he is going to get a lot of playing time this year."

Question: What about Jerald Robinson, what impression has he made on you?

Kevin Koger: "His hands too, definitely his hands, but his route running probably. His route running has gotten a lot better. He has done a great job."

Question: Coach Hoke says he has kind of seen the light come on for Jerald Robinson. Do you remember those days when you get comfortable and then you can start playing faster and doing things faster.

Kevin Koger: "Right. We were actually talking about it the other day, about thinking on the field. I think he is thinking a lot less on the field and making more plays. I'm happy to see what he can do this year."

Question: We've seen some rumors that Drew Dileo has had a really good spring and summer as well. Have you seen anything from him that makes him stand out?

Kevin Koger: "What makes him stand out is his return ability. You saw last year, he returned some kicks for us. He did a fantastic job. His return ability will get him a lot of playing time this year."

Question: Which cornerbacks have impressed you in the seven on sevens this summer?

"Troy (Woolfoolk) brings a new life to the defense. He brings a lot of enthusiasm because Troy is a funny guy, but he's also a competitor. Not to take anything away from the other guys but Troy is a veteran, -- he knows where to be, and when to be there. He knows how to disguise coverages, he breaks on the ball well. I love him back there."

Question: What about J.T. Floyd. Has he recovered from his foot injury?

"J.T. Floyd is coming along. He's participating also. Those guys are making a lot of plays back there."

Question: And what about the safeties this summer?

"Carvin (Johnson) is doing a great job. Marvin (Johnson) is doing a great job.

"The thing about Carvin is he's not the biggest guy or the fastest guy or the strongest guy, but he has a knack for making plays. He's always around the ball. I can definitely see him back there being the last line of defense. I have full trust in Carvin to make the play.

"Marvin is definitely a hitter. He's explosive. He doesn't need that much ground to build up his power. He'll hit you from two yards away and you'll feel it."

Question: What about from the running back position?

There are so many guys, who was starting to emerge in the seven on sevens?

Kevin Koger: "Again, it is early. We're only doing seven on sevens. We're just seeing the running back from the receiver aspect, but it will definitely be interested to see who emerges during fall camp. It is wide open. We have a lot of quality guys and a lot of running backs that people don't know what they can do, so hopefully they emerge." "You got Mike Shaw who used to run track in high school. He'll catch it and blow right by you. And then you got Stephen Hopkins, who is a little bigger and he might run right through you. They all have their different skill sets. It will be interesting to see what happens during fall camp."

Question: Do you think one of them will step out and be a feature back or do you think it is going to be a running back by committee thing this year?

Kevin Koger: "It all depends on the running backs. It all depends on what they do during camp. I really can't say if one per se will emerge or if we will have a dual threat like Wisconsin did last year. It will be interesting to see what happens. I really cannot say if one will emerge or not or if we will rotate them."

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