CHICAGO — The Michigan football team’s captains have traditionally been announced before the regular season.
But Wolverine coach Rich Rodriguez will appoint captains on a game-by-game basis. The players will select the year’s captains after the season.
He elaborated on Michigan’s plan for leadership Thursday. “Apostles,” a group of players from each class, were selected by their teammates as leaders and mentors, a system he brought from West Virginia.
Rodriguez met with the apostles for a barbecue at his home in Saline on Wednesday before leaving for Big Ten Media Days.
At West Virginia, about 10 to 12 of Rodriguez’s athletes were apostles each year. There are about 20 Wolverines in this year’s group, including fifth-year senior tight end Mike Massey, fifth-year senior defensive end Tim Jamison, fifth-year senior cornerback Morgan Trent and redshirt freshman quarterback Steven Threet.
“A freshman or sophomore might see something I don’t see, and he can pull one guy to the side and encourage him and get on him hard,” Jamison said. “If it was only two, you wouldn’t see everything on the team. I feel like it’s going to be great.”
— Courtney Ratkowiak
Slocum gone: Junior Marques Slocum’s departure from the Wolverines was officially announced Wednesday, but Trent estimates the defensive tackle stopped working with the team near the beginning of the summer.
Slocum was a five-star recruit according to scout.com in the class of 2005. The Philadelphia native struggled with eligibility and didn’t play until his sophomore season in 2007. He had eight tackles in eight games.
“Academically and football-wise, he didn’t meet the requirements to play football at the University of Michigan,” Rodriguez said.
— Dan Feldman
Boren blues: Rodriguez continued to deflect questions about his departure from West Virginia, the lawsuit and his personal ethics.
But on both Thursday and Friday, he said one controversy irked him above the rest — junior offensive lineman Justin Boren saying as he left for Ohio State that the program’s “family values” have eroded.
And all the Boren discussion has bugged the players, too.
“It’s aggravating,” fifth-year senior defensive end Tim Jamison said, noting the question he was asked most often this week was related to Boren’s comments.
And fifth-year senior tight end Mike Massey didn’t even bother addressing the question of Michigan’s family values. He immediately went on the defensive, simply insisting the Wolverines were “way too busy to notice” Boren’s departure.
“It was one of those things where you heard it, you forgot about it and you maybe talked about it a minute, then moved on,” Massey said. “It was a non-issue. Our guys didn’t take it as anything. I’m not lying to you.”
From the Ohio State perspective, Boren seems to have quickly become a well-adjusted Buckeye. Ohio State quarterback Todd Boeckman said that being an Ohio native has probably helped Boren fit in and that Boren has already “clicked” with the offensive line.
“They’ve been hanging out all summer, so it’s been kind of nice for him,” Boeckman said.
The general consensus from both Rodriguez and the Michigan players was that attrition is normal in transition, no more Wolverines are planning to leave and the Wolverines now have players who are fully committed to the new system.
But after hearing Massey say that the question of Michigan’s closeness was “only a big deal within the media,” it may not be surprising that the person with the most to say about the issue at Big Ten Media Days was ESPN analyst and Ohio State alum Kirk Herbstreit.
“(The way Boren left is) like getting kicked square in the shorts,” Herbstreit said. “It might have been truthful, but I don’t think it was the right way to leave, in my opinion, because he’s got friends who are on the team right now. He seems to care about the program. He could’ve just left.”
— Courtney Ratkowiak
Andy Reid contributed to this report.