Technique Stressed in Opening Spring Practice

The Michigan Wolverines held their first practice session of the season yesterday and GoBlueWolverine was in attendance. Check inside for detailed position by position recaps, a list of recruits in attendance, and post practice audio from Michigan headman Lloyd Carr.

As is the case every year, the Michigan football team went through its first full spring practice session in helmets and shorts inside Oosterbaan Fieldhouse Saturday. The non-contact session focused mainly on teaching and technique, thus giving outside observers (i.e. the media) a glimpse at the preparation that the players and coaches go through on a daily basis.

Chad Henne sets to pass as Coach Debord looks on
On a day like Saturday when not much was revealed in terms of new schemes or player packages, the veterans always seemed to know exactly what to do and when to do it. Because of the non-contact nature of the practice, it's impossible to make evaluations of every position. There just isn't that can be determined regarding the play of the lineman and backs besides their techniques and responsibilities. That said, one can definitely learn a lot about the skill positions. Amongst those players, Chad Henne was the story of the day.

The junior-to-be was very crisp throughout morning, showing pin-point accuracy on both short and long throws. His best ball off the day was a beautiful a tear-drop pass on a twenty-yard out over the out-stretched arms of two defenders to Mario Manningham. With Henne's effectiveness, it should come as no surprise that the receivers looked very good as well. The aforementioned pass play to Manningham was only marginally better than one that was thrown to Steve Breaston. The Pittsburgh native got deep on the defense before catching a perfect over-the shoulder bomb for an easy score. Adrian Arrington showed very good hands, as did tight end Mike Massey who caught and ran with the ball like his lighter pass-catching brethren. Many of the defensive veterans exhibited the same efficiency. After having been out for a full year, safety Ryan Mundy seemed like he hadn't missed a beat. He appeared to make every read and check correctly during our observation.

Some of the younger players struggled with their techniques a little bit more than their older teammates, but practices like the one on Saturday are very effective at addressing some of those issues according to Coach Carr.

Coach Steve Szabo instructs the linebackers

"I think the advantage of these practices without pads is teaching," Carr said. "You can take a player, and show him, and repeat it, and he's much better prepared. So on Tuesday when the pads are on and you're doing the same things but it's a contact drill, he's better prepared, because he's been taught in a much slower methodical way."

The benefits of that one-on-one attention began to manifest themselves even on Saturday. Redshirt freshman quarterback Jason Forcier is the leading candidate for the crucial responsibility of being the team's back-up QB this year. Much of QB coach Scott Loeffler's day was spent correcting some of his young pupils incorrect tendencies. To Forcier's credit he didn't hang his head and learned from the tutelage. He seemed to get better as the day progressed.

There were a number of others that showed similar improvement. For full position by position recaps of player performances, be sure to click the links at the bottom of this story.


Recruits in Attendance
Ronald Johnson DB/RB Muskegon
Cameron Joplin TE/DL/OL Ann Arbor Pioneer at least 6'5...well built. Big Ten kid IMO.
Vince Helmuth RB/DL Saline. Michigan commitment
Cedric Everson DB/WR Detroit Mumford
Ryan Wheat OL/DL Flint Carman-Ainsworth
Mike VanDerMeulen DL/OL Marshall
Eric Haislah. CB Cleveland Glenville

2006 Class
OL Steve Schilling
OL Perry Dorrestein
LB Quintin Patilla -working out
LB Brandon Graham

Post practice Audio
To hear Lloyd Carr's post-practice comments now, click .

To download for later, click here.

Practice Recaps
Spring Report #1 - Offense
Spring Report #2 - Defense

Stay tuned for GoBlueWolverine's photo features on Michigan's opening spring practice session.

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