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Posted on Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 7:16 p.m.

Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez 'pleased' with first spring practice

By Dave Birkett

Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez gave a brief update of spring football practice after Thursday's press conference to announce the first night game in Michigan Stadium history.

The Wolverines held their second of 15 spring workouts Thursday, and have their first padded practice Saturday.

“They moved around well," Rodriguez said. "You can see the veteran guys understand how we run practice and the enthusiasm was outstanding. What you’d expect after you’ve been working out inside for about six or seven weeks and you go out and it’s a beautiful day and the sun’s out. I was really pleased. I think we made progress."

Rodriguez reiterated that he'll be slow installing offensive and defensive packages this spring.

“Because we need to work on a lot of technique stuff," Rodriguez said. "But the guys responded very well and I think today with the weather we should have another good practice."

McShay: Brandon Graham is draft's best outside linebacker

ESPN Scouts Inc. draft analyst Todd McShay said in a conference call Thursday that former Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham remains his top-rated outside linebacker.

Graham did not take part in linebacker drills at the NFL combine last month because of a hamstring injury. He has a private workout scheduled April 8 at Michigan.

(Click here for complete archive of Brandon Graham stories).

"Depending on the 3-4 (defense) you run and what you're looking for, his height is a little bit of a concern," McShay said. "But I do think Brandon Graham, if you're looking for a 3-4 outside linebacker, is as good as you're going to get in this draft.

"Just his motor, intensity, toughness ... I went back and watched LaMarr Woodley as a senior coming out and compared him to Brandon Graham, there's not a big difference. We've seen how big of an impact that Woodley has made."

McShay projects Graham to get drafted 22nd overall by New England.

Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.


Terry Star21

Mon, Mar 22, 2010 : 8:32 p.m.

Dorsey plays defense all by himself, just like Ditka... UM 35 Conn. 0


Sat, Mar 20, 2010 : 9:53 a.m.

I agree, Jaxon5. Optimism is always abundant in the spring. The talk must translate into better tackling and overall better play by the defense in the fall. The U-M defense has been poor as a whole the past few years (except for Brandon Graham) and needs to improve significantly if they are to contend ibn the Big Ten again. Also, the ability to run the football and get important first downs on the ground to keep a drive alive is a key they need to get better at. The ability to finish ballgames strongly and not fall apart in the second half will also be a key component for U-M success. Coach Rodriguez will need to deliver on the field in 2010 instead of just talking a good game. Delivering results on the field is what truly matters. I'll believe it when I see it. I'm tired of getting all excited in the spring only to be greatly disappointed in the fall. Let's hope they can get the job done this year.


Fri, Mar 19, 2010 : 8:40 p.m.

We've heard the same quote before..."they moved around well". Thanks for including it here Dave. The problem is they just move around, and they don't stop the other team from getting into the end zone. Now, if they can combine the moving around, with tackling, we'll have a great season.


Fri, Mar 19, 2010 : 3:45 p.m.

Graham would be a great pick for NE. They love those Michigan guys. More importantly however is that NE desperately needs help on the D-line and defense in general. Tom B. will be back in the Super Bown in no time!

Blue Marker

Fri, Mar 19, 2010 : 11:02 a.m.

Sorry to disagree Theo...but Birkett is a hack. I promised myself not to comment on any of his stories but your comment couldn't go without reply. What's a matter Dave, no disparaging remarks about a teenager you've never met??


Fri, Mar 19, 2010 : 5:14 a.m.

Because we need to work on a lot of technique stuff," DUH! Long live the King. Read a comment while in Cleveland for business that basically was an open letter to U of M asking they sign RR to a lifetime contract. Besides a few????? here most RR supporters are the opposition.


Fri, Mar 19, 2010 : 12:08 a.m.

No surprises...2nd day of Spring practice, long way to go until September.

I like Chicken

Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 8:19 p.m.

Second day of practice, perfect weather, no opponent.....priceless.


Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 8:10 p.m.

The real question is, was he pleased with the first hour of practice or the last 8. Only time will tell I guess.


Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 5:43 p.m.

good stuff!!!