U-M Spring Game Primer!

Michigan’s first Spring Game under head coach Jim Harbaugh is only five days away and there is a lot to learn about what Team 136 is going to look like on the field this year. To help sort out two collections of Wolverines, Harbaugh held a Spring Game Draft, complete with a dress code and proper draft day accommodations.

 

Offensive coordinator Tim Drevno captained Team Blue, while defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin manned the Maize squad. Although final results of Michigan’s first Spring Game Draft have not been released publically yet, several players have gone to Twitter regarding their draft day experience. Here is what I could find so far:

Team Maize — Durkin
Jabrill Peppers
Mason Cole
DeVeon Smith
Alex Malzone
Chase Winovich
Maurice Hurst

Team Blue — Drevno
Graham Glasgow
Jourdan Lewis
David Dawson
Shane Morris
Ian Bunting
Jack Wangler
Antonio Whitfield
Jake Butt

One part of Jim Harbaugh’s program that is becoming clearer and clearer by the day is how much value is being placed upon true competition. Since it is the spring, each workout is being treated an opportunity to work in a new, different and innovative way to improve on the football field. This has resulted in a bevy of position changes

Speedster Dennis Norfleet has primarily seen the field as a kick and punt returner in addition to some work in the passing game. Norfleet has worked out at defensive back for at least one full practice and is being primed to know the responsibilities of nickelback.

After playing quarterback, running back and linebacker in high school, Chase Winovich is trying his hand at the offensive side of the ball once again. Winovich has worked at tight end a lot this spring. In two tight end sets, Winovich has seen a lot of work with the first unit so far.

After Jack Miller left the program due to personal reasons, Michigan had a need to fill at center. As such, Mason Cole moved over to the middle of the OL and worked out for several days at center. He appears to be running second behind Glasgow at the moment, with Kugler making a charge for the backup role.

Ross Douglass, who came into the Michigan program as a defensive back and return man, moved to running back last year. Douglass is now back in the defensive backfield learning under Jackson and Zordich. Douglass will be out for the rest of spring with a high ankle sprain.

Running back Ty Isaac, who has received quite a bit of praise when healthy this spring, is a free agent for the Spring Game and will not participate. He has been sidelined with a couple injuries so far this spring.

As with any Spring Game, Michigan is using this opportunity to host a bevy of highly touted prospects. The Wolverines are coming off of a weekend in which they had several big time prospects form New Jersey come check out the U-M program. 2016 five-star Paramus Catholic defensive tackle Rashan Gary headlined a group that included: four-star wideout Ahmir Mitchell, four-star defensive end Ron Johnson, four-star wide receiver Brad Hawkins and defensive tackle Corey Bolds.

Michigan recruiting coordinator Chris Partridge has a strong standing in the state of New Jersey and it shows in the impressive visitor list that he was able to pull in. Early returns have been good from this group. Bolds received an offer on the trip and Gary told the Michigan staff they would be in his recruitment until the very end, which will likely be National Signing Day.

This weekend, the Maize and Blue will see several highly rated prospects in Ann Arbor to check out the 2015 Michigan football squad. Here are some of the confirmed visitors:

2016 four-star QB Brandon Peters
2016 four-star LB Dontavious Jackson
2016 three-star S Chris Brown
2016 four-star OL Terrance Davis
2016 four-star WR Dez Fitzpatrick
2016 four-star WR Donnie Corley
2016 four-star RB Matthew Falcon
2016 three-star LB David Reese
2016 four-star OL/DL Michael Onwenu
2017 five-star DE AJ Epenesa
2017 four-star S Isaiah Pryor
2017 RB Antjuan Simmons
2017 LB Derrick Hubbard
2017 RB Todd Sibley
2018 OL Emil Ekiyor

More are sure to join this list in the coming days.

By Bobby Pawlsun Guest Blogger

 




 

Personnel Changes Coming To Michigan

Personnel Changes on the way at Michigan

With Harbaugh at the helm, Michigan is tapping every resource within its reach in order to get better.  This has resulted in several personnel changed in Ann Arbor already with three potentially headline changes still on the way.

Coming off of a dominant performance in the Division 3 State Finals in 2012, Grand Rapids Christian wide receiver Drake Harris was on of the Midwest’s hottest prospects.  Combining size (6’4”, 180 lbs.) and speed with superb ball skills, Harris showed the tools necessary to succeed at the next level.

His hamstring was not one of those tools.

Instead of building on the momentum from a monster junior season, Harris spent his entire senior season on the sidelines, choosing to rest an injured hamstring that occurred during pre-season workouts.

“He would be the first to attest that he has been banged up with a couple of injuries this summer,” Christian coach Don Fellows said before the 2013 season. “He has had a leg injury, and he is almost back, healed up right now. We shelved him for July.”

This injury proved to be of the long-term variety, as it hampered Harris for much of his true freshman year at Michigan, one that began in January of 2014 as Harris enrolled early.  Harris, however, took a redshirt in order to focus on the health of his leg.

This spring provided hope that Harris had finally turned the corner in his recovery and would be a valuable asset for the Michigan Wolverines under Jim Harbaugh’s first year as head coach.  Early reports touted Harris as a standout performer with the potential to stretch the field this season.

His progress has taken a decidedly south turn for Harris, though, as he reinjured his hamstring during practice earlier this week.  This injury re-aggravated his prior injuries, and Harris has since been asked to consider taking a medical hardship at Michigan.

According to several people who know the Harris family, the redshirt freshman wideout does not see this as an attractive option and will seek a second opinion from a specialist on how to rehabilitate his hamstring injury.  If Michigan does not reconsider asking Harris to accept a hardship, then Harris is expected to transfer to another school to continue his athletic career.

Incoming Senior Cornerback: Wayne Lyons

Along with an impressive assistant coaching staff, Jim Harbaugh has brought aboard one very important recruit’s mother to assist the Wolverines in several areas of day-to-day operation.

Gwendolyn Bush, who was introduced as the athletics player development staffer, is the mother to former Stanford senior cornerback Wayne Lyons.  The 6’1, 193-pound cornerback from Florida tallied 30 tackles last season after amassing 69 with two interceptions the year before.

Michigan assistant coach Mike Zordich confirmed Lyon’s addition earlier this week.

“Wayne was here over the weekend, we spent some time with him and I’ve watched a lot of film on him,” Zordich said. “I think he’s the right kind of body, a bigger body, he’s a lot like Channing [Stribling]. A lot of length.

“From what I saw with him at Stanford, he did pretty well.”

Lyons is expected to compete for a starting position at cornerback once he arrives on campus.  Based on early spring reports, Jourdan Lewis is the closest thing Michigan has to a lock at corner.  Blake Countess has also received praise for his work ethic and Channing Stribling continues to look solid as well.

Shoring Up The QB Position

Since arriving at Michigan on December 30, 2014, Jim Harbaugh has added bodies to the quarterback position with gusto, bringing Zach Gentry along through recruiting in addition to former Houston QB John O’Korn.

And Harbaugh isn’t done yet.

Once Jake Ruddock visited Michigan for a practice last weekend, the Iowa graduate transfer knew that Michigan presented an opportunity for immediate playing time.  This was a factor for Ruddock, who is reportedly not interested in transferring to a school where he would not be considered a favorite to start.

In lieu of his visit, Ruddock sees playing time in his future.  Upon graduation from Iowa, Ruddock will be announced as a transfer quarterback to Michigan with the opportunity to play in 2015.

This assuredly stabilizes a position that has been highly suspect during spring workouts.



Michigan’s Jack Miller Now Says He Didn’t Leave Michigan Over Concerns About Head Injuries!

Michigan Spring GameI thought this was a little fishy.  Jack Miller now says he didn’t leave Michigan because of concerns about head injuries.  I wasn’t buying it at all as it was NEVER mentioned as part of his reasoning for leaving the Wolverines.  Jack Miller left because he was burned out and no longer felt like he could commit mentally or physically to the program.  The grueling Harbaugh practices were too much, he didn’t want to do it and decided he was going to get on with the rest of his life.  He didn’t have an NFL future so why stay another year?  Miller understood that there was no upside to staying another year. I’m not sure where the “head injury concern” narrative started.

This is the article by ESPN’s Joe Schad that twisted what Miller said into the “head injury” concern.  This is the reason people trust ESPN less and less by the day.   This is all Miller had to say “However, I’d be lying if I said that the concussion thing doesn’t scare me a little.” At no point did he say it was a factor in his decision to leave Michigan.

Read more about Miller’s most recent statement.



PODCAST: New Podcast “The Maize & Blue Sit-In” With Gregg Henson And Art Regner.

Today we launched a new podcast on Wolverine Sports Radio called “The Maize & Blue Sit-In.”  The show features me and Art Regner talking Michigan Athletics.  It will be a weekly show posting on The Wolverine Sports Radio App mid-week.

Here is Episode 1 of “The Maize and Blue Sit-In” with Gregg & Art

On today’s show we discuss Dylan Larkin’s decision, Helmet stickers, Michigan football camps in the sunbelt and much, much more….enjoy!

Click here to get the Wolverine Sports Radio App

We also have a new sponsor for the Big House Nation podcast on Wolverine sports radio.  Check out this deal from DraftKings.com

If you’re into fantasy anything, whether its football, basketball, baseball, or golf, they have a one-day league for you.  These one-day leagues allow you to get in for as little as $1.  There’s no season-long commitment that comes with traditional fantasy leagues. Guys, give this thing a shot… it’s a lot of fun.  Visit DRAFTKINGS.COM  and enter the promo code “VSPORTO” to get a 100% matched deposit bonus up $600.  Draft Kings is going to dish out over $1 BILLION in prizes this year… start playing and start winning” 

 



PODCAST: Big House Nation Podcast 3-15-15

​Today on Big House Nation Gregg talked with former University of Michigan Sports Information Director Bruce Madej.  Bruce started at Michigan in 1978 and for 38 years had a front row seat to Michigan Wolverines History for over a quarter century.

Click here to listen to Big House Nation

Click here to get the Wolverine Sports Radio App

We also have a new sponsor for the Big House Nation podcast on Wolverine sports radio.  Check out this deal from DraftKings.com

If you’re into fantasy anything, whether its football, basketball, baseball, or golf, they have a one-day league for you.  These one-day leagues allow you to get in for as little as $1.  There’s no season-long commitment that comes with traditional fantasy leagues. Guys, give this thing a shot… it’s a lot of fun.  Visit DRAFTKINGS.COM  and enter the promo code “VSPORTO” to get a 100% matched deposit bonus up $600.  Draft Kings is going to dish out over $1 BILLION in prizes this year… start playing and start winning” 

 



Forty Niners Owner Trashes Jim Harbaugh Again!

I can’t figure out what Jed York’s angle is with this Jim Harbaugh campaign.  Today he slammed Harbaugh again and claimed that the Niners were “getting away from their core strengths.”  Huh?  Harbaugh had huge success with the Niners in just four years, what is this dummy talking about?

It’s clear that Jed York is another clueless owner like William Clay Ford, he’s made one mistake after another and running off one of the best coaches in football is his biggest mistake of all, remember, Harbaugh was not intent on leaving San Francisco, he was ready to stay and make a long term commitment.  It is obvious the problem all along wasn’t that Harbaugh “wore out his welcome,” it was York from the start.

Click here to read the whole story!

We’re trying to win a Super Bowl,” York said, via the San Francisco Chronicle. “We haven’t been able to do that. And I think what we’re trying to do is build a team that focuses on our core strengths. I think we got away from that a little bit. I think we tried to do too much and be something that we weren’t. I think you’re gonna see us get back to the basics, get back to letting our players go out and make plays. . . . You look at our offense last year. It wasn’t I think where it should have been. I think we have better talent than what our results showed.”

 

 



PODCAST: Big House Nation 3-16-15

Check out the latest Big House Nation Podcast.  Today I talked with former D1 Coach (Father of Drew) Dan Henson about what Michigan is trying to accomplish in spring practice.  It’s a great inside look from a coach’s perspective.

Click here to listen

Click here to get the Wolverine Sports Radio App

We also have a new sponsor for the Big House Nation podcast on Wolverine sports radio.  Check out this deal from DraftKings.com

If you’re into fantasy anything, whether its football, basketball, baseball, or golf, they have a one-day league for you.  These one-day leagues allow you to get in for as little as $1.  There’s no season-long commitment that comes with traditional fantasy leagues. Guys, give this thing a shot… it’s a lot of fun.  Visit DRAFTKINGS.COM  and enter the promo code “VSPORTO” to get a 100% matched deposit bonus up $600.  Draft Kings is going to dish out over $1 BILLION in prizes this year… start playing and start winning” 

If you’d like to ask a question on the podcast, please leave a message at 214-702-1053.  I’ll include as many as I can in the show.

 



Is Jack Miller The Last Wolverine To Exit The Program?

Michigan’s starting center, Jack Miller left the program to pursue “other opportunities,” from what I am told, that is true, but it isn’t the whole story.

While Miller may indeed have lost his passion for the game, it happens more often than you would think, I am told he is among a few players who are simply not cutting it in the Harbaugh system.  I’m not here to trash Jack Miller who played hard at Michigan for four years, but it appears there are a few more players that will follow Jack Miller out the door.

According to my sources Spring practices has been nothing short of insane, they are practicing more than they did under Hoke, some practices are running nearly four hours, they are hitting more than they did under Brady Hoke and they are conditioning like maniacs.  I’m told the offensive lineman are having a particularly difficult time keeping up with the pace and many are exhausted.  The O-Line is being pushed like never before by Harbaugh and Drevno, they coaches believe the O-Line had a tendency to quit when the going got tough last year and have vowed that won’t happen in 2015.

My sources tell me to prepare for more attrition by the end of spring practice.  You have been warned.

 



Christian Laettner Proves Jalen and Chris Webber Were Right About Him

Christian Laettner was on SVP & Russillo today whining about Jalen Rose and Chris Webber’s comments about him in the 30 for 30: The Fab 5 documentary.  In the show Webber and Rose called Laettner a “bitch” and a “pussy.”

Watch the video below and tell me they weren’t absolutely right.

 



Har-bust?

harbsHere is a great article from John U Bacon about Harbaugh’s first three months at Michigan.  The article is interesting and not at all over the top, it’s just an update on what is going on with the program.  Do yourself a favor and have a laugh today, read the comments below the article.

I’m not sure exactly what it is, but MSU and OSU fans cannot help themselves when reading about Harbuagh, they have to respond, they have to comment. They have to hate! I know sparties and buckeyes claim they are unconcerned about Harbaugh, but their actions and comments certainly tells me that Jim Harbaugh has captured the attention of programs to the north and the south for some reason.

My favorite comments are below.

comment

comment 2

Did you enjoying yourself?  These comments are laughable.

Jim Harbaugh will never be a bust at anything he does, he’s 51 years old and has never failed at anything football related.  He’s won as a player and he’s won as a coach.  He turned San Diego around, he completely rebuilt Stanford and he took the Niners to the NFC Championship in 3 of his 4 years in the NFL.  The guy is a proven commodity, what more does he have to do to gain that respect from the opposition.  Unlike Urban Meyer and Mark Dantonio, Harbaugh had a long NFL career or he likely would have won a national championship by now.  He started his career later at a small time school and quickly hit the pinnacle of the sport, there is zero chance he is a bust.

As for the back to the NFL narrative, these people really need to get a grip.  Jim Harbaugh is at Michigan to stay.  It made zero sense for him to return to Michigan in the first place from a logical perspective, if he’d stayed in the league he would have gotten a ton of money from the raiders and never had to leave his house.  He wants to be at Michigan, he’s always wanted to be at Michigan and it is at Michigan he will stay, for a long time.  Part of Harbaugh’s move from the NFL to college was the realization that he was indeed a “college” coach and not a “pro” coach.  He likes the college atmosphere, he likes the kids and he’s a teacher at heart.  Those claiming he’s going back to the NFL are wishful thinking.

Say what you want, the comments from MSU and OSU only speak to one thing….discomfort with the direction in Ann Arbor.  Get use to it, it’s going to get a lot more uncomfortable…quickly.