There seems to be a misunderstanding of what it means to be a gentleman in Big Ten coaching circles.

Ohio State coach Jim Tressel, in response to a question about whether there is an agreement among conference coaches not to recruit each other’s verbal commitments, said last week, “I guess only between gentlemen.”

Yesterday, Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez defended his recruiting practices.

“If not being a gentleman is recruiting a guy ’til the end, ’til Signing Day, particularly after he visits – guilty as charged,” Rodriguez said.

Tressel was reacting to comments Purdue coach Joe Tiller made on Signing Day about Rodriguez recruiting players who had already made verbal commitments to the Boilermakers.

Rodriguez denied knowing anything about such an agreement.

“I didn’t get a memo from the Big Ten or a handbook that says ‘This is how you’re a gentleman,’ ” Rodriguez said. “I feel pretty proud about how we recruit.”

He alluded to a situation involving John Weinke, a quarterback prospect who had originally committed to Michigan. After Rodriguez was hired, Weinke signed with Iowa.

“I didn’t say that guy’s not a gentleman,” Rodriguez said.

Too soft: It might just be a spring scrimmage, but Rodriguez was not pleased with his team’s intensity Saturday.

“I thought it was soft,” Rodriguez said. “I don’t think we hit anybody.”

It’s a trend Rodriguez has noticed throughout spring drills. The team displayed much more passion in earlier workouts, but that has diminished. In the fall when the team practices every day to prepare for games, Rodriguez said he won’t accept that.

“We have a lot more guys interested in talking about how tough they are than showing it,” Rodriguez said. “We have to explain the difference to them.”

He recalled that, when he played for West Virginia, there were 20 practices in full pads during spring workouts. Now, teams are limited to 15 practices, three of them in shorts.

“You used to get T-shirts if you made it (through spring workouts),” Rodriguez said. “I hit for 20 (practices), like a badge of honor.”

Manningham comes clean: Former Michigan receiver and NFL prospect Mario Manningham admitted to using marijuana while at Michigan, according to

At the NFL Combine, Manningham told NFL teams he never tested positive for marijuana. But the report said Manningham sent a letter to NFL teams saying he failed two drug tests at Michigan. He added that he no longer uses marijuana and has passed drug tests since quitting.

Manningham was once projected to be a first-round pick, but a sub-par performance at the scouting combine and off-the-field issues have many NFL teams worried.

Spring game plans change: Michigan typically concludes its spring practices with a spring game at the Big House that is open to the fans.

Due to Michigan Stadium renovations, this year’s final practice will not be at Michigan Stadium or open to the public.

The team will run a 100-play scrimmage at Saline High School Saturday afternoon, but the event is closed to the public.

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