Staffer Dusty Rutledge on The Team

Dusty Rutledge has been with Rich Rodriguez longer than anyone – he's been a member or RR's brain trust going back to the Glenville days. The key staffer talks with Sam Webb about this key members of this year's team: Tate Forcier, Brandon Minor, Mark Huyge, Patrick Omameh and Ricky Barnum, Brandon Graham, Will Campbell, Boubacar Cissoko, and more.

Sam Webb: I am going to say a player's name and you tell me what you think on how they did in the spring; we are going to start out very obvious – Tate Forcier?

Dusty Rutledge: "Surprisingly advanced. You want short answers?"

Sam Webb: You can give me 30 seconds.

Dusty Rutledge: "Wasn't surprised at his skill level, surprised at home well he grasped the offense."

Sam Webb: Lets go to some of the leadership guys – Brandon Minor?

Dusty Rutledge: "A guy like Brandon Minor and Brandon Graham, those guys stepping up and becoming leaders is huge and critical for the program. They did a good job."

Sam Webb: Some of the offensive lineman that Rich (Rodriguez) talked about during the spring... he said the group as a whole really stepped up, but he singled out the performance of some guys, so I'm going to go over them – Mark Huyge?

Dusty Rutledge: "Mark Huyge – pleasant surprise. You know again, he was banged up all fall, high ankle sprain. Those are tough to come back from. He's a kid that is going to play a lot of football for Michigan this year."

Sam Webb: Patrick Omameh and Ricky Barnum?

Dusty Rutledge: "Barnum had the wrist injury, breaking the wrist really slowed his progression down. He has toughness, he'll put his face on you. Omameh is a guy that is extremely gifted athletically for an offensive lineman, so those two guys will be in the hunt for a lot of playing time this fall."

Sam Webb: Brandon Graham?

Dusty Rutledge: "Our best football player, Brandon Graham."

Sam Webb: What about a guy who might line up to next him at this point this year – big William Campbell?

Dusty Rutledge: "Raw, really raw. Will's a guy who comes in here, big, strong physical guy, but doesn't always play that way, at least first. In high school you get away sometimes, I'll stand up and throw guys around like flies. When he learns to take what we call the M Drill. We have a drill where it is offensive lineman versus defensive lineman and about three yards behind them, we have a fullback, tight end type against a linebacker and then about where the numbers are, we have a defensive back versus a wide receiver. He can take what he does in that drill and put that into every first, second and third down when we are in team, he has a chance to be a really special player."

Sam Webb: You talk about how big and strong he is, but let's flip it back around to the offensive guy that surprised me and a lot of people – Vincent Smith?

Dusty Rutledge: "He's really strong for his size, extremely quick. He is a guy that fits our system. He's a guy that hopefully we can get into space. So we look for big things for Vincent Smith."

Sam Webb: What about another guy… Gibby (Coach Gibson) really saw some flashes from him… Boubacar Cissoko?

Dusty Rutledge: "Boubacar is a ballplayer. I mean he is a competitive guy. Again, he's not played football very long. So some techniques and stuff, but sometimes bad habits are okay because if you haven't played long, you haven't been taught a lot, so those are easy to break. It's the bad habits that if you've been playing since you were four or five years old; those are tough to break."

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