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Posted on Thu, Aug 5, 2010 : 12:03 p.m.

Another reason for Michigan football to start practice? Break in the new turf

By Michael Rothstein

CHICAGO - Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez wants to start the preseason for more reasons than you might think.

Sure, the beginning of a new season leads to renewed optimism, energy and for Michigan, a chance to forget the 2009 season.

It also means something else for the third-year coach - beating up the new FieldTurf in Michigan Stadium.


The new FieldTurf at Michigan Stadium will take some time before it's game ready, Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez says.

File photo

At Big Ten media days this week, Rodriguez said he still hadn’t seen the new turf inside Michigan Stadium. That’ll change soon.

“We’ll probably scrimmage over there a couple times in August,” Rodriguez said. “It should look pretty nice.”

New turf often leads to some football issues, though. When the turf is put down, it takes time to settle. There are two ways to fix that - play on it or hope it rains a lot.

Rodriguez is hoping for both so the dreaded turfmonster - when a player trips or slips on new turf - doesn’t show up in Michigan’s opener against Connecticut on Sept. 4.

Michigan first installed FieldTurf in 2003.

“You kind of get it, not worn down but prepared more so,” Rodriguez said. “When turf is first laid out, it’s a little softer than normal, than it would be, so that’s one reason we want to go over there a couple times.”

Rodriguez is so particular about the turf being perfect he has gone to extremes in the past.

He actually watered the turf at West Virginia even though it can’t, well, grow. Rodriguez came close to doing it when Michigan installed its new turf practice fields, but a rainstorm came the night before he was planning to do it.

He’s hoping he doesn’t have to do it again.

“When I’ve done it in the past, I think they’ve been like ‘This guy much be crazy,’” Rodriguez said. “Watering a turf field? He must have lost his marbles.”

Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan basketball for He can be reached at (734) 623-2558, by e-mail at or follow along on Twitter @mikerothstein.



Thu, Aug 5, 2010 : 7:43 p.m.

Going to the opener against U-conn, we need everyone that is going to make sure they have the victors as a ringtone. At 3:30 (kickoff) have someone call u or just set it to go off, 109,000+ lets make history on and off the field... Go Blue!!!!

Macabre Sunset

Thu, Aug 5, 2010 : 2:14 p.m.

At some point (hopefully) during the Connecticut game, Michigan will score its 30,000th point in the history of the program (the total currently stands at 29,998). I wonder if there are any plans to celebrate this milestone - a positive reminder of what the greatest football program at any level has accomplished. So much has been destroyed in the last two years.


Thu, Aug 5, 2010 : 1:06 p.m.

looks like you're the only one calling it an excuse.. thanks. maybe we'll use it if we lose. I hadn't planned on that. really tho- i guess you don't follow much football if you don't know about turf issues.. doesn't surprise me.


Thu, Aug 5, 2010 : noon

Gee - the season hasn't even started yet and there is already a built in excuse for poor play and losses. It was the turf! (kind of like the crested field excuse that threw the quarterbacks precision off at Oregon a few years back).


Thu, Aug 5, 2010 : 11:33 a.m.

Actually UofM watered the field turf (I believe) all the time. I remember pictures in the Ann Arbor News with these huge farm-equipment-looking machines that had huge sprayers extended like wings, going up and down the turf and hosing down the fake dirt that they put in it.