More on the waiver to start practice early:
“When we first started the waiver process, Mary Sue Coleman, our president, was very supportive… as was Judy Van Horne our compliance director. When we first started I was told our chances weren’t very good. The football issues committee, which Tim Curly (the AD at Penn State) is a member of, heard our case. I think it was a fair thing to do. I’ve always believed the old saying that your greatest improvement comes between the first two games. Well it was an advantage for them to get a game before us. But it would've been an unbelievable advantage had we not been able to start practices and meetings. So we’re very pleased with the way the situation was handled by the NCAA.”
Did you start yesterday?
“We met yesterday (Tuesday) to go over some administrative things. Our first practice/football meetings were this morning (Wednesday).”
Is it a testament to this program that in a year when you lost your quarterback and running back… that you’re still picked to win the league?
“I think everybody just sends in the same ballot in every year (laughing). I don’t know what it is. Hopefully we will make you (the media) look good. That’s all I can say.”
Do your kids care about that at all?
“You can ask of Marlin and Braylon. I think they would say they like being picked number one.”
Was it strange getting on a plane today with them practicing back there?
“Yeah. It happened my first year at Michigan. We were playing Virginia in the kickoff classic. So I missed a day and I flew in for the meetings. I missed a practice. Of all of the things in that job, the most fun is coaching…is practice.”
Who was interim head coach?
“We don't have one. Any of them could handle the job.”
Have you ever had a camp this long?
“No… and we spent a lot of time deciding exactly how we were going to run this training camp. The freshmen are going to have a week longer in training camp than any other freshman has ever had. The seniors, juniors, and sophomores would normally be in a hotel. We're not meeting at night this week. We meet in the morning at 8:00. We meet and get our installation in. Then we practice, have lunch, and come back and meet in the afternoon. They're staying in their apartments on campus. We won’t be going to the hotel until next week. With our freshman we didn’t have a choice because they don't have any place to live. So they’re in a hotel from the beginning.”
How long ago did this process of getting a waiver start?
“I would have say it was sometime in May. Maybe April.”
Is there any kind of movement toward reforming start dates?
“I think for the most part, everybody starting on the same date this year…or at least the same week, which is September 4th. I don't think you'll ever avoid this, but Miami of Ohio had a game scheduled with Colorado State. Then in January or February, Colorado State pulled out of the game. So Miami was left with 10 games and they could not find anybody that would play, with the exception of Indiana State who agreed to play on August 27. So the NCAA had to give Miami a waiver or they were only going to be able to play 10 games. So you're going to run into some circumstances like that and I really appreciate the NCAA because in the past they would have been very firm about not allowing us to also start practice. I think it's the fair thing to do.”
Anyone not show up to camp?
Will Jake Long be able to practice full speed the right from the start?
Is the one guy you're still waiting on information on an incoming freshmen?
“Yes. It’s an academic issue and I don’t really want to get into it.”
Any injuries over the summer?
“Steve Breaston… and then I don’t know exactly what the date was…had a stress fracture. They pinned it, so I don’t know that he’ll practice twice a day. When you get out and go full speed sometimes there sometimes some nagging soreness. But we expect that within a couple of weeks he’ll be back at full speed.”
When did he do it?
I think he had some soreness going back maybe into the fall. Those stress fractures… you just go on them and there's no problem, then all of a sudden the pain gets greater. Sometimes they heal themselves. With this one, they were concerned that he would go into the season and break it. So part of it was preventative. I can’t
When was the pin inserted?
Probably about 4 weeks ago.
Is it like the one Drew (Henson) had?
Can you talk about how you see the league in general with a lot of teams replacing quarterbacks?
“Well I don't think it's any less competitive. I think obviously what’s going to happen is there are going to be some guys have great years at quarterback. You don’t know a lot about them because they haven’t played much yet. But they’ll be some guys that will play very well and there will be some guys that will struggle. I think the coaching is so good in this conference that people are going to find a way that if quarterback is young, in some way they’re going to protect them. They're not just going to throw a guy to the dogs out there. I think that by the end of the season there’ll be a lot of good quarterbacks show up in this league.”
Will the extra practice to really help with your quarterback?
“Absolutely. You’ll get more repetition. He’ll get a week more worth of repetitions then he would've gotten had we not been able to practice.”
Do you have a day that you want decide your quarterback by?
“We want to be fair because these guys came to Michigan with the idea that they would have a fair chance to win the job. Competing hard like they are…it’s going to make them all better. Do I have a date etched in my mind…no. I want to give whoever it’s going to be more time than I would normally give them and I want to give the other guys that same time to recover. So I would assume it would be more than a week before the opener. “