And that certainly was the case on Monday, as the Wolverines practiced for the first time and officially started season 134 of Michigan football.
"It was good, it was great. It was great to be out there," Michigan coach Brady Hoke said. "It was great to be with the kids again. I like the competiveness, the energy, which you think they would have starting fall camp. Hopefully we can continue that consistently all the way throughout fall camp."
Addressing the Injuries
The Wolverines lost both redshirt sophomore cornerback Blake Countess and redshirt senior running back Fitzgerald Toussaint to injuries last season. Countess tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the first quarter of the season opening loss to Alabama on Sep. 1, 2012. While Toussaint broke his left tibia and fractured his left fibula in the first quarter against Iowa on Nov. 17, 2012. Both players are running and "looked good," according to Hoke.
"They both did everything that we are doing," Hoke said. "They both looked good running around. You know, speed and whatever, cutting ability and all that stuff. They both looked really good.
"I think you know, it was a great start. The one thing will be wary of is the grind of camp and two-a-days and all those we things. We will conscious about you know, getting them tired. Are they starting to favor one leg over the other. All those kind of things. But it was good to see them out there."
Redshirt junior linebacker Jake Ryan tore his ACL early on in spring camp. He is expected to come off the injured reserve sometime in October. In the meantime, Hoke said Ryan is working extensively with the team trainers to get back on the field.
"He runs with the trainers," Hoke said. "He runs and does some of our walkthrough stuff. And you know, he is really acting like a really good coach when we're doing some of the other stuff. He is running a lot with the trainers, you know, as they go through the rehab."
Redshirt freshman defensive lineman Chris Wormley tore his ACL early on in fall camp last season. Hoke said Wormley is participating in practice with no limitations and expects him to compete on the defensive front this season.
"We have high expectations from Chris," Hoke said. "You know, he is a great looking kid. He's come back. I think he's about 48 or 49 weeks from surgery. And so it's almost a year. At the end of spring he was doing everything. I think you know, we got a lot of great competition and he's part of that competition."
Who is the No. 2 QB?
Many expect incoming five-star freshman quarterback Shane Morris to come in and lockdown the No. 2 spot on the depth chart. After the first day of practice, Hoke said Morris still has to "prove" himself on the field and his snaps will be limited.
"Well, you know, Shane has to continue to prove it and so does Brian (Clearly) obviously," Hoke said. "We got to give Devin (Gardner) the amount of snaps that he needs. And at the same time, we've got to know who the second guy is going to be and make sure we are doing a great job of evaluating. And make sure we're doing a great job of getting them the snaps that can be evaluated."
However, Hoke did note that Morris is as advertised.
"He took snaps, obviously, and had some good throws," Hoke said. "And he had some throws you would like to have maybe better, better decision. But you know, he's everything we thought he can be."
Derrick Green Impresses Early
The No. 1 running back recruit in the country Derrick Green had an impressive first day of practice for the Wolverines. While many expect the star studded freshman to compete for the starting job this fall, he definitely caught the attention of Hoke on his first day on the practice field.
"Derrick had a couple runs in there," Hoke said."You know, some of these guys get in here kind of late 'cause of class. But he had really good vision on a power play and did a nice job."
"Well Jourdan Lewis is a guy,' Hoke said. "(Channing) Stribbling is a guy who has had work at it. From a receiver perspective, Jehu (Chesson) and (Amara) Darboh are guys that have done it before. I know they are not in that same class. We are kind of working six guys on the team with punt returns and you know, some of those same guys are kick return guys."
The Change in Physique
"I think some of the difference in some of the bodies," Hoke said. "You know, Willie Henry, Taylor (Lewan) we have talked about. A guy like Blake Bars, (Kyle) Kalis, and Quinton Washington. The big guys and how much better they look. How much stronger they are. The body fat ratio and all that."