BRADENTON, Fla. -- Michigan's 2016 season is finally in the books, as the Wolverines completed their first day of spring practice in Florida today at IMG Academy.
“It was great,” U-M coach Jim Harbaugh said. “Great to be out here practicing. Always liked the first day of spring practice and first day of fall camp training practices. Those are my two favorite days of the year. It’s like the New Years, and I thought it was good. Cleats were clanking on the cement and guys were into it.”
The Wolverines will participate in four practices in the Sunshine State this week and during each session will split the squad in half.
U-M’s practice format is simple: Maize session from 8 a.m. to noon (featuring third and fourth stringers) and the blue session is from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. (featuring first and second stringers).
“That was new,” Harbaugh said. “More one on one coaching for reps for each guy. The rule is no player can practice more than four hours, which every player practiced for four hours and had a nice little overlap there. Coaches had a six-hour day, but it just flew by. Just felt like it flew by. Logic is pretty simple there to understand. More coaching and more football for everybody.”
Adding: “It was the first day and we always have the philosophy of like a plane going down the run way,” Harbaugh said. “You build up speed, there is a glide to it, then you take off, so that is what each day gets faster and faster and more and more ramped up. That is my glide theory -- our glide theory.”
Michigan is in search of its next starting quarterback. It’s clear after one practice that no leader has emerged.
Well, that’s at least what Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is saying publicly.
“Every quarterback took the same amount of reps,” Harbaugh said after the Wolverines first spring practice at IMG Academy. “They alternated each play, so that took series’ (of reps). Shane (Morris) took as many as John (O’Korn) or Wilton (Speight) when the No. 1 line was out here.”
O’Korn, who sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules, is labeled the preseason frontrunner to win the job. However, he will be competing with Speight, last seasons back up, and Morris, who redshirted in 2016 giving him two more years of eligibility.
“Our quarterbacks are competing right now and when we see separation, then we will see it when we see it,” Harbaugh said.
Moves on th Offensive Line
Mason Cole, who started at left tackle his first two years at Michigan, has moved over to center this spring. Although Harbaugh wouldn’t confirm if the move was definite in the long term.
“I wouldn’t say set in stone, but we are looking at it and experimenting there,” Harbaugh said. ”Trying to get our best five offensive linemen on the field.”
Grant Newsome was seen lining up with the first string lineman throughout the day. And Harbaugh had nothing but positive things to say about U-M’s potential new starting left tackle.
“He was another freshman, another one, you just don’t see it much freshman offensive linemen plays as a true freshman, but he is one that handled it very well,” Harbaugh said of Newsome. “I truly believe no player can make a bigger jump then going from the freshman year to sophomore year, year one to year two and we have high hopes for Grant and what he can accomplish.”
Adding: “He definitely has the ability and license to be a starter on the offensive line.”
Jehu Chesson and Ryan Glasgow are still nursing injuries from last year. Glasgow was seen with his jersey on during practice, but didn’t participate in drills. However, both are expected to participate, says Harbaugh.
“Ryan as you know had a procedure and Jehu had something he had gotten in the bowl game, which he is recovering from, so shouldn’t be out real, real long.”
Michigan plays its annual spring game on Friday April 1.