Birk's Eye View: What you need to know from Michigan football media day
We'll have updates throughout the day here on AnnArbor.com from Michigan football media day, but he's a quick glance at the highlights:
The starting quarterback job is still up for grabs and probably will be for at least another week. In fact, Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said there's a good chance Tate Forcier, Denard Robinson and Nick Sheridan all will play in the opener Sept. 5 against Western Michigan.
"Until we play a game and see how they perform under game conditions we won’t know for sure if anybody solidifies the starting role," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez declined to identify a frontrunner. Asked if he's seen separation from the three candidates, he said, "Some days, and some days I don't."
"Again, it’s personal philosophy," he said. "Some guys want it to be established and the team to rally behind them or whatever. I just want them all to get better."
Much of the talk of Sunday was about Robinson, the bullet train few outside of the program have seen take live full-team reps.
Offensive coordinator Calvin Magee said Robinson is bigger than Pat White was when he came to West Virginia as a freshman, and quarterbacks coach Rod Smith said Robinson's speed compares favorably to White's.
“I don’t want to blow him up, but he’s fast," Smith said. "He’s fast. It’s fun to watch because when he breaks through - and I love Pat to death, but I’m not so sure this kid - he’s fast. They’re close."
â€¢ Smith also told the story of how Robinson got the nickname "Shoelace." We'll have video up on that later, but the recap: Robinson never ties his athletic shoes, even for game situations. Smith heard Robinson's high-school coach refer to him as Shoelace during a recruiting visit to Deerfield Beach last year, and the nickname came north this fall. "It’s the damndest thing I’ve ever seen," Smith said. "But anybody that runs that fast, I’m not going to tell him how to tie his shoes."
â€¢ Rodriguez said Brandon Minor was held out of Saturday's scrimmage because of a minor ankle sprain. I didn't talk to Minor on Sunday, but he was in uniform and walking without a limp.
â€¢ On the scrimmage in general, Rodriguez said there was good and bad. "There was some explosive plays offensively," he said. "As a head coach you worry is that because we’re doing plays on offense good or are we playing poorly on defense? I thought our defense made some stops as well."
â€¢ True freshman cornerback Adrian Witty still hasn't been deemed eligible by the NCAA Clearinghouse. At this point, it's unlikely that Witty will play as a freshman. Michigan's starters are established in Donovan Warren and Boubacar Cissoko, J.T. Floyd and J.T. Turner look like the backups, and Teric Jones, who had an interception Saturday, also could play as a true freshman.
â€¢ Rodriguez said he'd like to play 20 to 22 people on defense, but acknowledged, "I don't know if we're comfortable doing that just yet."
â€¢ Rodriguez on rebounding from last year's 3-9 season: "We think we've got the steps in motion to get it where everybody wants it. Unfortunately, it's not happening as fast as I or anybody else would like, but I still feel as confident as ever it's going to happen. And I think our players and coaches do as well."
â€¢ Lastly, a couple player notes: Slot receiver Kelvin Grady continues to draw rave reviews for his play; tight end Martell Webb has had a good camp, as has Mark Ortmann; David Moosman is working as the backup center; there's a battle going on at right tackle depth is still a concern across the board. "We're holding our breath on both sides of the ball," Rodriguez said.