Full Transcript: Coach Rod

Coach Rod's Thursday press conference ... some juicy tidbits here on who's doing well -- and on who's not in as good of shape as they'd hoped.

Coach Rodriguez: "Since the last time we talked, I guess we have finished three more practices. Tomorrow morning will be our first day in full pads. It will be the first time we can tackle, go live and we'll get probably a good two hour, two hour and 15 minute practice in and then they'll meet. Saturday, they will not have any practice. I believe the plan is for most of them to go to a position coach's house, have a nice little meal, get to know each other even better and then Sunday we start our two a days."

Question: What have you learned from the three practices that maybe you didn't know then?

Coach Rodriguez: "I think we're in pretty good shape. We're certainly not in game shape. Yesterday's practice was a little cool, two days ago it was really warm. Today it was pretty warm and we need that to get our guys in game shape. I don't know if any team in the country can say they are in game shape right now. I think we're in pretty good shape and they are a very attentive group from the standpoint that they are eager to learn. I think they have grasped our concepts pretty quickly and we've put a lot in. Probably more than we anticipated both offense and defensively. So we are right on track I guess installation wise."

Question: It is still very early but how about the job at right and left tackle; you got a couple of young redshirt freshman, Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield that we saw in the spring and then obviously a couple of veterans coming back.

Coach Rodriguez: "All the competition for all the positions that are very close. There has not been anything that separated the last few days. Again, until we go in pads tomorrow, it'll probably remain that way. I think what we thought, there would be some spots that would be some pretty heavy competition is still going to be there and it will probably be ongoing for the next couple of weeks."

Question: Have any guys missed any time to injury?

Coach Rodriguez: "No. We've had some guys miss some time for class. We still have summer school going on. We missed a few of the freshman today, a few of the upper classman, but most of our guys are finishing up class today. Some have finals tomorrow and some have finals the first of next week. I think tomorrow morning there shouldn't be too many issues and then Sunday we will have them all there. It has been a little bit of an adjustment that is why we are practicing so late but we'll get through that and next week it should be pretty clear."

Question: Has Mike Shaw practiced at all yet?

Coach Rodriguez: "Oh yeah. He's practicing and he's still involved in that class. It is ongoing with him."

Question: Justin Turner, surprised, disappointed; how would you describe that Turner is no longer with you?

Coach Rodriguez: "Like I said Larry, we've granted his request to transfer and I wish him well. I hope he gets everything in order and has a successful career, but my focus is on the guys that play for Michigan."

Question: (Talked over) make up for those losses?

Coach Rodriguez: "We'll shift some guys around. Teric Jones will probably play both safety and corner as he has in the past. We're okay there. We're not concerned with that."

Question: There were some reports that maybe Turner had maybe reconsidered or is reconsidering; is that the case or is the door closed on that?

Coach Rodriguez: "He doesn't play for Michigan."

Question: How anxious are you to get to Seattle and get this behind you?

Coach Rodriguez: "I think we're all anxious. Everybody involved in the process, the school administration, the coaches, the players, we're all looking forward to having this next process, which is this weekend completed and then when the committee finishes with their conclusion and ending that whole thing. It's in the middle of the camp, but it is something that we have to do, so we've prepared for it and as soon as the hearing is over, we'll fly right back and get ready for practice on Sunday."

Question: The guys that you mentioned that were not in game shape; how have they responded early in camp?

Coach Rodriguez: "As you would except. I think they've struggled at times at practice, because we try to keep our practices moving pretty well, so if you are not in great shape to begin with then you'll really struggle in practice, but eventually if you fight through it, practice will help get you there. The guys that were in great shape will still struggle some in practice at certain moments but they'll recover a lot quicker and that is basically what we're seeing. Four days, the guys that weren't in great shape, I think have worked to get closer to that end, but you are not going to get in shape in a week or two weeks. It is going to take three to four weeks and if they don't work to get in that shape and they are a guy that has a chance play, he won't play. You're only going to play if you can play at full speed all the time."

Question: You mentioned Devin Gardner the other day; how are your other early enrollees doing? Are they clearly ahead of your other freshman?

Coach Rodriguez: "The only other enrollee that is really struggling and that is more to health wise is Christian Pace. His knee bothered him a little bit in the spring, but I think it became more of an issue after the first practice and it looks like…we were probably going to redshirt him anyway, but it looks like he may need some procedures done on his knee and go ahead and take that redshirt year."

Question: Kicker, any early thoughts there? Is that going to be something that you are going to want to keep as much pressure packed situations as you can?

Coach Rodriguez: "We already started that, trying to put them under pressure situations at the end of practice. We run so many sprints and if the kicker makes so many kicks that would be less number of sprints they would run. We're going to do that throughout camp and try to simulate as much as we can, but it is a little different when you go out in front of 110,000 and national TV. We do have to put them under pressure and we have to put our punters under some pressure too to see how they will be able to perform. I think they'll be able to respond, but again, we have not got pads on yet. We haven't had a scrimmage yet, so we'll see."

Question: How are you dividing up the quarterback snaps?

Coach Rodriguez: "It's pretty equal really of all the reps. That's really a philosophy that some coaches will give the first unit 80% of the reps or the first quarterback 80…we've always been pretty balanced with the first and second group, about an equal number of reps and now the first week and a half of camp even the third group getting maybe, not a third of the reps but just less than that. We've given a lot of reps. About a week from now, we'll shorten that down to just having two groups going and being more like a 60-40% type of percent. Right now all three groups are getting close to an equal amount of reps."

Question: Denard (Robinson) had a great spring, has he picked up where he has left off?

Coach Rodriguez: "I think so. I think he's…he looks to me physically bigger and he is maturing physically. I think mentally he understands some of the concepts a lot better, which he should. I see his confidence continue to grow. He is so eager to please and so eager to do well, but he is taking steps every day but all three of them have been. It has been good the first four days…we are limiting their contact for the most, but they get banged around still once in a while, which they need to do. The ball security is such an issue for us that we got to get them banged a little bit yet, not let them get too much in the mix."

Question: Is Troy (Woolfolk) a better safety or cornerback?

Coach Rodriguez: "Probably corner. I think he feels more natural at corner. I think he can play safety in a pinch if we needed it, because he is a very physical guy. Size wise, I think he fits the corner position and he brings a certain physicalness to that position. He and JT Floyd both…JT has had a good camp so far and he followed that up with a good spring. They are two pretty instinctive guys, so we've been pleased with their play so far."

Questions: The guys said at media day that Denard is really coming into his own as a leader; have you seen the same sort of thing out of Tate (Forcier) in the first few practices?

Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah, he and Devin both…I think by position that they have to assume that. They're still young. When you're talking about a freshman or sophomore taking that kind of control it is probably more of a process that is going to happen naturally, but we've tried to stress to them to do that but I think they will get that as their play improves. In other words, they will get more confidence and the players will see that, but I have seen a little bit more of that than I had certainly last year and even more so than in the spring."

Question: How much has Tate improved? All the talk has been about Denard really since the spring.

Coach Rodriguez: "There are a couple of times a day that ball security, even though they didn't fumble, wasn't as good as we'd like, but I think you can see they are making a conscious effort to take care of the ball. The decision making is the same as well. Not just trying to force something in there. We haven't gone in pads yet. We'll probably have the first live scrimmage in three or four days. Until we get into a live scrimmage, it is kind of hard to judge that. But so far at least they are trying to do some of the things that they know we have to do to get better."

Question: Who are you looking at to return punts?

Coach Rodriguez: "It will probably be Martavious Odoms, or Jeremy Gallon, or Terrence Robinson, or freshman Drew Dileo. All four of those guys have got really good ball skills and they've done a good job of catching the punts. Then kick offs, the same guys plus Daryl Stonum."

Question: There is going to be obvious a lot of excitement with the Big House kicking it off, will you take your team over; will you walk through the stadium with or will do you anything without them getting distracted?

Coach Rodriguez: "Prior to that certainly. We'll have a couple of scrimmages over there then and we'll have what we call our annual ‘Beanie Bowl', which is a week and a day, a Friday, the previous week where we have time to wear their uniforms, have the band out there and go out the tunnel and kind of go through the whole game routine. That is kind of a neat exercise to do to kind of get them used to that a little bit. The veterans it shouldn't a big deal, but I think the place will be rocking. The dedication with the new Big House. We got something going on special with Brock Mealer leading us out and we haven't played in a game in such a long time. I know we're playing a high quality team and I think it is going to be a sold out Big House and everybody is going to be excited to watch us play. That's going to be an easy game to get the guys up for."

Question: How have Daryl Stonum and Junior Hemingway looked so far?

Coach Rodriguez: "Daryl looks fantastic and Junior is getting himself. He wasn't in good as shape as Daryl was, so he is probably hurting more right now as we speak than Daryl is. But Daryl came in great shape and is having a good camp. Junior has had a pretty good last couple of days, so he's getting there."

Question: How about Quinton Washington's progress?

Coach Rodriguez: "He's completely healthy and still learning. He missed so much time, I think it has set him back a little bit in spring. He's a big strong guy that came in, in great shape. Our offensive line as a group…the offensive line and defensive line, I was really pleased with how they came into camp. I thought they really did a nice job of getting themselves ready."

Question: Do you plan to release a depth chart before the UCONN game?

Coach Rodriguez: "Probably about an hour or two (laughter)…Dave's on me. (Dave: Monday of game week) That was a little early, I've been telling him that I won't pick the starters until Thursday or Friday. You'll get something around Monday, but there might be a couple ors, this guy or that guy. When we put it on there, it is not just coach speak, it is truly is…I hope that we have a lot of that. I hope have this guy or this guy because it means that we got more guys that are ready to plays."

Question: Do you have an ‘order' now for running backs? Has anybody separated anything?

Coach Rodriguez: "Not yet Angelique and I think it has been a little early. That's one of the most interesting races for probably for people to watch. I do not want to say running back but who are the running backs going to be. There are going to be at least two and probably three that we're going to play quite a bit – maybe more. I still do not know that order and probably won't know that one until game week."

Question: That's a position where you really need to see live bullets…?

Coach Rodriguez: "No question. You can see a little bit when you're in shoulder pads today but again it is not live, there is no tackling. So really tomorrow, starting tomorrow we're really see who is going to kind of start to kind of step up for that position."

Question: As far as Tate, can you at least address…there has been a lot…you've talked about his maturity and all the things that he needs to be doing and obviously the Troy comments from Chicago…have you seen him responding to thi

s in a positive manner? Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah. We've challenged all our guys. Sometimes it's because you're a quarterback and you're a guy that played like Tate, you get more attention with that. We challenge all our guys to see how competitive they are. We're not doing it for a test, but we just want to see how competitive everybody is. I've had quite a few talks with Tate and some of the others guys that if you're a true competitor you'll respond to it. So far he has, he has responded to it. He's not sulking or laying back. He's working his way back and trying to prove himself, but I want everybody to do that, not just Tate. It is not just him. Maybe the focus is on him for you, but for us the (focus) is on everybody."

Question: The captains Mark Moundros and Steve Schilling.

Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah the team voted, as I mentioned the other day. They voted for Steve Schilling and Mark Moundros to be their permanent captains and I'm sure they'll do all they can to keep that and do a great job of leadership, which they already have and then we'll have at least one additional game captain for every game. I thought it was a great choice and they'll do a great job."

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