The Michigan football team’s first practice in pads, held yesterday, went more than 30 minutes longer than scheduled.
And like Saturday’s first spring practice, it showed that transition almost always starts with confusion.
“I always tell them, if you don’t know where you’re going, run in place,” Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said. “There were quite a bit of the guys running in place.”
Quarterbacks Steven Threet, Nick Sheridan and David Cone received almost equal snaps, and Rodriguez said they are learning his system at a predictable pace.
Rodriguez said Saturday that junior running back Carlos Brown, who played quarterback his senior year of high school, hadn’t taken reps at the position – and “it would be a secret” if Brown was in the running.
But after breaking his finger this week in what Rodriguez called a “freak accident” while lifting weights, Brown is now expected to miss most of the spring.
Rodriguez said junior running back Brandon Minor has had “excellent practices” this week. At yesterday’s practice, defensive coordinator Scott Shafer emphasized the need for senior leadership on defense, and Rodriguez named fifth-year senior cornerback Morgan Trent as one of the team’s early vocal leaders.
The Wolverines have not been able to practice kickoffs or kickoff returns because of the low ceiling at Oosterbaan Fieldhouse, but the team has practiced punts, punt blocking, field goals and field goal blocking daily.
Rodriguez said film sessions have been nearly as important as the actual practices, but watching film has left him “usually more discouraged than encouraged.”
“You see a lot of things on film, like geez, that guy’s not running full speed and all that,” he said. “I think sometimes, I tell them the two worst things you can be are lazy and soft, and sometimes fatigue makes you both of those. We’ve got to stress that we’ve got to get in better shape.”
Spring game update: Rodriguez again confirmed the spring game will be held Apr. 12 at a location yet to be determined, possibly a local high school.
He called the spring game more of a “scrimmage” and said that, similar to last year, the offense will be pitted against the defense.
In last year’s spring game, the defense was awarded six points for a turnover and three points for a three-and-out, while the offense earned six points for a touchdown and two points for a pass of 20 yards or more.
“We’ll have a point system that nobody will like and can figure out, but that’s okay,” Rodriguez said.
Other Injuries: Redshirt junior running back Kevin Grady, redshirt freshman running back Avery Horn and fifth-year senior defensive tackle Will Johnson participated in yesterday’s practice after being minor injuries caused them to miss the start of spring practice Saturday.
Rodriguez expressed disappointment that sophomore wide receiver Zion Babb could not participate in yesterday’s practice.
“Most coaches say, if you get through a practice, got fundamentally better and didn’t get anybody hurt, it’s a good day,” Rodriguez said. “But that’s not always totally true.”