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Posted on Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 11:11 p.m.

Michigan football team has 'sluggish' start to practice, but Michael Schofield impresses

By Kyle Meinke

NEW ORLEANS -- Michigan football coach Brady Hoke said Michael Schofield "obviously" is the starter at left guard.

The sophomore officially has beaten out oft-injured Ricky Barnum for the team's Sugar Bowl matchup on Tuesday against Virginia Tech (8:30 p.m., ESPN).

Barnum was listed on the depth chart as the starter for every game this year, including for the bowl game, but Schofield started nine times because of Barnum's one-game suspension and ongoing ankle problems.

"I think Schofield, right now, is obviously the starter there, but it's nice to have some (depth)," Hoke said Thursday shortly after the team's workout at Tulane University. "You can play Ricky and both guards, if you have to. He can play center. He takes a lot of snaps."


Michigan lineman Michael Schofield (75) congratulates Fitz Toussaint after a touchdown earlier this season. Schofield has been named the starter at left guard for the Sugar Bowl.

AP Photo

Hoke said Barnum is healthy after battling a series of ankle injuries that limited him for most of the Big Ten schedule. The junior has started only three games.

Right tackle Mark Huyge said Schofield has been impressive in workouts and that the sophomore has a high ceiling.

"He’s very fast, especially when he’s pulling and getting out in front and leading the running back," Huyge said. "He has great athleticism.

"I know he’s got the frame to put on weight and play tackle or guard."

Hoke said he was happy with the way the team shook off the rust Wednesday after a four-day break for Christmas, but that the team was sluggish to begin Thursday's workout.

The intensity picked up toward the end of the practice, and Hoke thinks the team will respond well against the Hokies.

"I'm not that concerned about (the layoff), to be honest with you," Hoke said. "We'll find out on the third, obviously, but i think we've managed it well, managed their bodies well, managed their minds well."

Hoke said there still is competition for starting spots at free safety between senior Troy Woolfolk and sophomore Thomas Gordon, and at punter between incumbent Will Hagerup and challenger Matt Wile.

There also is uncertainty on the defensive line, where reserve Nathan Brink has been ruled out and starter Will Heininger has not practiced due to a right foot sprain. His status is questionable.

Hoke said the rest of the team is healthy, though, and that he'll try to keep practices as normal as possible leading up to the game.

That means Michigan will be in full pads for its workout today at Tulane.

Dileo feeling at home

Sophomore receiver Drew Dileo, who grew up about 85 miles northwest of New Orleans in Greenwell Springs, La., said he's been hammered by calls and text messages asking him what to do while in the Big Easy.

Dileo said he now expects more than 50 friends and family to attend the Sugar Bowl, up from a prior estimate of 40. Among that group will be his four grandparents, only one of whom has seen him play at Michigan.

"It's incredible," Dileo said. "It's something I really could only dream about, and now it's actually coming true. ... Seeing the Allstate Sugar Bowl banner was kind of surreal."

Ironically, Dileo, who was an elite baseball prospect in high school, once was heavily recruited by Tulane to play that sport.

The Green Wave's diamond is located adjacent to their football practice facility, where Michigan will have all but two of its practices for the Sugar Bowl. The other two will be at the Superdome.

Roh returns to N'awlins

Aside from Dileo, perhaps nobody better understands this city than junior Craig Roh.

After all, he spent a week in New Orleans in the spring of 2010 helping to rebuild areas that were decimated by Hurricane Katrina.

"I worked at an art museum right across the street," Roh said shortly after practice. "I think I might go with some D-lineman."

Huyge eyes NFL

Huyge, who is a marine architecture and marine engineering major who has aspirations of designing yachts, said he will put that future on hold while trying to forge an NFL career. He said he will wait until after the bowl game to schedule workouts.

Odds and ends
Hoke said little-used tailbacks Jihad Rasheed and Michael Cox are simulating Virginia Tech junior running back David Wilson, who was named the ACC Player of the Year and is projected to be an early-round NFL draft choice, if he decides to go pro. ... Hoke said players will continue to lift weights on their normal schedules at Tulane.

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.



Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 4:13 p.m.

Another thought, that Capital Bowl win over FLA in 2008 was my favorite Offensive game plan for a bowl game ever! I've been hoping we would be that way always on Offense, looks like we will be that way in the very near future, we have great minds on our coaching staff, I wouldn't trade our staff for any in the nation. We are lucky to have these guys on our sidelines, they are forward thinking and aggressive in their game planning on both sides of the ball.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 6:53 p.m.

I know RW, if we had those guys healthy for the ohio game that year in which we lost 14-3, we would've laid a whoopin' on them, another lucky win by the cheater Tressel during his time.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 4:55 p.m.

Yes, I was happy for those kids finally being healthy and executing so well in a big game.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 4 p.m.

Mission, if I could up vote you a 1000 times I would've in a heartbeat. Found myself lol'ing big time. Scott cracks me up with his opinions, he must've really hated those stout Defensive teams that Bo had, although I didn't like Bo's over-conservative Offensive attitude, especially in Bowl Games.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 3:39 p.m.

I hope you are all correct and I never have to see a converted tight end at QB. I must admit I missed the Carr win against Florida. That was the humiliating year they got their #'s kicked by Appalachia state, Oregon and the spread offense, then they got thumped by Wisconsin and Ohio State. I lost interest. If we aren't going back to the Carr offense, why are they recruiting big tall and kinda slow receivers? I hope Shane Morris is mobile, if not he better have Tom Brady accuracy as a freshman. And why does Rich Rods horrible defense make everyone forget Lloyd Carr's horrible offense? They both deserved to be fired. It's Michigan. I want it all on both sides of the ball. Also I live in Boise, so I have come to respect speed. Isn't that little guy Titus Young playing for the Lions? Speed, and dynamic offense. Tough as nails defense. I want em both.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 6:25 p.m.

RWBill, nice Cazzie Russell reference. I was a big fan of his back then when I was a kid.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 4:51 p.m.

This comment substantiates my earlier reply that perhaps another hobby would be better suited for you besides part time Michigan fan. I became a fan of Michigan with the Rose Bowl year of 1964 and have not lost interest or turned off a game once (the explosion of Cazzie Russell onto Michigan basketball during the same era also solidified my loyalty). How could you miss the last game of Mike Hart, a never-quit-on-a-play Steve Yzerman attitude in football cleats who played through ankle injury most of his senior season, and became as loyal a Michigan player as we've ever had, or the last game of Rose Bowl record setting QB Chad Henne, and Jake Long? With a fortunate opening in my schedule I am headed to watch my first Michigan Bowl Game in person because 1) I think these seniors deserve my support for going through more difficult situations than any group in my lifetime, yet remained Michigan Men and eagerly did whatever was asked of them by 3 coaching staffs, and 2) Brady Hoke deserves support for setting bold, high standards and holding himself accountable before all others. We have an adult in the locker room again. Perhaps you'll watch part of the game if it's not too inconvenient, or perhaps not, I suppose it depends if you lose interest.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 4:32 p.m.

"why are they recruiting big tall and kinda slow receivers?" Help me understand what you're getting at there. There are two WR's currently in the committed list: Jehu Chesson, 6-3, 182 Amara Darboh, 6-2, 190 I don't recall either one being consider "kinda slow". They're not Jeff Demps fast, but few people are. Plus, I've never found pure speed to be as much of an asset as hoped. I'd rather have guys that can make the catch in traffic. Word is both those receivers are athletic and have a keen ability to make receptions. Also, might it be that the cupboard is somewhat stocked with speedy little receivers from the RR recruiting cycles? Jeremy Gallon, 5-8, 185, RS SO Roy Roundtree, 6-0, 177, RS JR Jeremy Jackson, 6-3, 198, SO Drew Dileo, 5-10, 172, SO Jonathan Keizer, 6-5, 205, FR Jordan Barpal, 5-10, 166, RS JR Terrence Robinson, 5-9, 177, RS JR Jerald Robinson, 6-1, 206, RS FR Joe Reynolds, 6-1, 191, RS SO


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 4:06 p.m.

Okay Scott, there you go, that is a much better post on your part, I was starting to worry about guys like you pining for more of the previous coach, you remember that guy, the WCIMFH, yeah I don't miss him very much at all!!!


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 2:55 p.m.

Nice and warm down here in the Big Easy.... Got to catch a little of the practice myself yesterday and yes kyle...... they were a little sluggish. Ended up indulging a little too much on Bourbon street and ended up losing a few items. Has anybody seen my Luggage tags, document wallet and engraved Sugar Bowl name badge ? My name badge has the same picture I use on this comment board. MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEANchigan football...... sluggish they are NOT!!! I need my document wallet and engraved Sugar Bowl name badge....I miss them A LOT!!!!! :(


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 6:46 p.m.

Oh yeah forgot one huge detail...his name is Ivan Putski!!


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 2:20 p.m.

Boy, I sure miss the good ol days when we played like Baylor and Washington. When we scored 32 per game and gave up 35. When we were beating up on Indiana and Purdue, and finishing between 7th and 10th every year in the B1G. When we were getting blasted in our bowl game 52-14. Good times. Those sure were the good ol days. Why did Coach Hoke have to come in here and mess up a good thing ?


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 12:48 p.m.

I like the way Brady Hoke is honest in his assessment of the practices and tells it like it is. if they practice well, he says so. If they don't, he doesn't sugarcoat it and make excuses. With him, you get the feeling he is not hiding anything from you, which is another reason why high school recruits like him, too. In the end, he will have the team ready to play because he knows what it takes to get them ready and realizes what is at stake. .


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 11:34 a.m.

Back to the topic: sluggish start; not too surprised given the lay off and new surroundings. Maybe it will be a good thing the game is on the 3rd. It gives the Wolverines a little more time to sharpen up. Let's see how the few next days of practice goes. Re Wash-BYU: Good thing Baylor was not chosen to play Michigan in Sugar Bowl as was a possibility. The results would have been similar, maybe 49-46; either team. Post Denard: This coaching staff has been willing to adapt to the talent of the players so it is unfair to conclude Michigan will revert to a pro-style only offense after Denard or Devin graduates. Let the spread vs pro style offense debate go until we get into the doldrums post bowl games, then we'll have until late August to reharsh that topic. I am looking forward to the break down of Mich vs Va Tech in the next few days. GO BLUE!!!


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 5:10 p.m.

edjasbord...perhaps it is arbitrary to assume the sluggishness on team's first on-site practice has anything to do with the game being played on the 3rd or 2nd of January. My 49-46 score on Baylor is based on ohio scoring 34 on the improved Michigan defense, at the Big House. These types of potent offenses could be very difficult to stop, but I like your optimism on how good the Maize and Blue defense is. I think Paul Mc Cartney sang about it best in the 1970s: Live and Let Die... GO BLUE!!!


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 4:38 p.m.

Plus, what's to say that Borge's eyes haven't been opened a bit with his experience coaching Denard? Borges seems to be a man who is willing and able to adapt. Heck, we might well be seeing the start of a semi-permanent cycle of "West Coast Spread." The QB doesn't need to be Denard Robinson fast. He just needs to be mobile enough to get out of trouble and to keep the defense honest. Surround that with sufficient strength and mobility and you have a winner. And it seems that's exactly what Borges is aiming at.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 4:28 p.m.

Actually we'll have until August 2013 or 2014 to kick around that debate. The Spread West Coast is locked in for next year and will continue to evolve as Michigan rebuilds ts offensive line next year and adapts.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 4:26 p.m.

I dont mean to pick on you, but there are big issues with your post: 1) I question your logic regarding the game being on the 3rd giving the team time to get over their sluggishness. Had the game been earlier, they would have practiced earlier. 2) Michigan vs Baylor would have been a joke - our decent-to-good defense would have held them in check, yielding at the most somewhere in the 20 point range, while their atrocious defense would have yielded 40 to 50 points to our offense. Think UM vs Miss. State last year. 3) but completely agree here - but I would argue to let the spread vs pro-style debate die. Only in a few schools do you find pure exemplars of each - perhaps a RR offense and a Shaw (stanford) offense. Most other programs, most coaches and coordinators who are smart and adaptive, incorporate elements of both. We like to use those labels for programs, but only seldom do they really fit.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 7:13 a.m.

Scott obviously has never seen highlight film of Shane Morris. The kid is more mobile than Drew Henson and has a cannon for an arm. Michigan is not going to look like Lloyd Carr's offense any time soon. Borges has never ran an offense that looked like Lloyd Carr's offense and never will. Borges wants to run a West Coast offense at Michigan which uses short and intermediate passing to set up the run. That is a very exciting offensive philosophy that still maintains the idea that, once you have established a lead, you can work the clock and maintain it. You said you watched the Baylor game yet for some reason you failed to consider the fact that, although Baylor scored 67 points, Washington, who runs a pro-style offense, also scored 56 points in that game. Just relax a little. Michigan is going to be much better under Hoke than it would have been otherwise for the simple fact that we will be able to play defense. We will win 67 to 14 instead of 67 to 56. Scott, Baylor lost 3 regular season games. I'd rather watch Michigan win than lose and I think the same holds true for you as well. Larry Weisenthal, Tom Brady never played against Tim Tebow in college. Chad Henne did and the offense that played in that 2008 Capital One Bowl was not the typical Lloyd Carr offense that Scott was talking about. In fact, the offensive philosophy utilized by Michigan in that game is more in line with what Hoke and Borges plan to become in the future. I think we can all agree that the 2008 Capital One Bowl was one of the most exciting games in Michigan history, and we didn't run the spread.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 6:58 p.m.

Slam dunk comment by you yet again Mr. Don, or should I call you Vito, that might be an offer you can't refuse.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 4:04 p.m.

There's this persistent belief that Big 10 coaches don't understand the value of a mobile quarterback. And that's just nonsense. Of COURSE they want a mobile QB ... who wouldn't? The issue is how much mobility is needed to accomplish the goal of winning the football game? Borges has a saying -- "You run for yards, you pass for miles." Borges is aiming the offense to a style that can move the ball in the air with a QB that's mobile enough to use his legs when needed, but not rely on the legs for the whole offense. Robert Griffin III had 18 carries for 55 yards in last night's game. He passed for 295 yards and no interceptions. He got 402 yards rushing out of three other backs. What was Griffin's value? Smart play in the pocket and mobility as a secondary element of his offensive attack. Golly ... I wonder what Borges wants? Ya think it's the EXACT SAME THING?


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 1:35 p.m.

Nice work, ThoseWhoStay! Michigan never had a problem scoring in bunches when it needed to in the Carr era. The Braylon highlight show against MSU and the 4th quarter onslaught at Minnesota are two games to add to your recollection of the Capital One Bowl. What has been refreshing has been watching Michigan return to a ball-control, disciplined offense that was better able to keep opposing offenses watching from the sidelines. UM was much, much better in time of possession, and that has as much to do with an improved defense as it does with an offensive scheme that was not in a hurry to rush to the line and snap the ball with more than 25 seconds still remaining on the play clock. What will be even more refreshing will be to see a return to an offensive line and running game capable of dominating teams in the second half once opposing D-lines have been run down a bit. That was another hallmark of the pre-Rodriquez era: a punishing offensive line that could control the clock in the fourth quarter when ahead or protect the passer when behind. This ability of our offense to stay on the field may be even more important next season given a difficult schedule and our depth problems on the defensive line that will be created by the losses of Martin, Heininger, and Van Bergen. There's some talent waiting in the wings, but they are not fourth and fifth year seniors who have played a ton of college downs. Here's to an offense that can protect a defense!

Larry Weisenthal

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 7:25 a.m.

Brady beat Tebow a couple of weeks ago, head to head. Handily. I never said that they played each other in college.

Larry Weisenthal

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 6:58 a.m.

>>I just finished watching Baylor beat Washington 67 to 56. My eyes started to well up with tears.<< Me too. Utterly pathetic defense. Reminded me of last year's Illinois-Michigan game. Flag football. Home run derby. I agree, it's enough to make you cry. Let's call it one dimensional football. One dimensional Brady did OK against two dimensional Tebow. I'll bet Brady plays more years than Tebow, also. And ends up with less short term memory loss. Alabama? Pro-style. LSU? Pro-style Baylor? Alamo Bowl Champ, over a 7-6 team.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 3:50 p.m.

Exactly. Watching that game was like sitting in a movie theater and glancing at the watch every few minutes hoping it would be over. In short -- that game was *amusing* but not satisfying from a football perspective. It was, as you so rightly say, reminiscent of last year's 67-65 game (an embarrassing football game for Michigan) ... and it was schoolyard flag football. Or to shift to another sport, it's like watching the Harlem Globetrotters play basketball ... the occasional smile, but when it's done nobody leaves thinking anything significant took place. The only drama in the second half was near the end when the Baylor DEFENSE held the Washington offense on that 4th down.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 6:09 a.m.

Requiem to Denard: I just finished watching Baylor beat Washington 67 to 56. My eyes started to well up with tears. Then I reminded myself that there is still one more year of Denard and one with Gardner before my team goes back in time to the Lloyd Carr offense. With the previously noted 'block of cement" at quarterback, two "big orange pylons" for receivers, and a short stocky trash compactor featured at running back- I'll be back to falling asleep 2 or three times during the game. Every Saturday will be like Thanksgiving, two pounds of Turkey and I can't keep my eyes open.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 4:24 p.m.

If you can't keep your eyes open during a Michigan football game I suggest you end the charade of being a fan and take up NPR to quickly put you into a comatose state.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 2:40 p.m.

I haven't seen much that makes Hoke seem anything like Lloyd at all, but I will miss the hell out of Denard, kid is a once in a decade talent and next year should be fun....

Billy Bob Schwartz

Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 2:22 p.m.

I can't believe you enjoyed that "game." What a bore. I muttered through the whole game, "Have these people ever heard of defense?" The answer was clear. All the time the announcers were bragging up the great record of offense, I kept calling it a huge negative record for defense. We got rid of that nonsense, and I hope we keep rid of it.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 12:38 p.m.

Scott, Sounds like you are Theo reincarnated. A 67-56 score is not true college football. It is either basketball or the finals of the intramural dorm flag football championship. Either way, it is not football in the true sense of the word. Set your eyes to the hills of Arizona where your king awiats you to be his new fan club president. The only problem is that he will probably be the one with 56 while the opponent has 67.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 11:39 a.m.

That thought is way too speculative. It is a wild guess at best. Hoke and staff will do whatever is best offensively to be successful on winning games in the future. I would best the ranch that we will not be seeing a John Navarre-style offense after Denard or Devin graduates. Again, that is a long-long-long way off.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 7:15 a.m.

Are you aware that playing defense is legal in college football? Whatever you want to call what happened between Baylor and Washington, it wasn't football. Crap, you can call it crap, that would be more descriptive but no, that wasn't football.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 7:03 a.m.

Eh, you have heard that Michigan is running the Spread-West Coast Offense, haven't you? If you've been believing that the "ultimate goal" is to go back to the Carr Crash (against spread teams) System, it's possible you're being too hasty. I doubt Michigan will go back to Carr Style or Rich Rod style football. Today's top college teams feature fast AND big players who CAN survive and thrive in Heavy Duty Football. Isn't it a bit silly to "yearn for" Denard's former lack of ability to be both a passer and runner? How about his perennial dive due to accumulated injuries IN the Rich Rod System? I will agree: IF Hoke-Borges-Mattison are thinking of returning to The Bo and Carr Era: they will be out looking for new jobs in about 3 years.


Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 6:52 a.m.

What's wrong with a pro-style offense? It will have a good run-pass balance. I think you are underestimating Shane Morris. He certainly doesn't have Denard's legs, but he can move around pretty good. Didn't he just run like a 4.6 at that prospect camp?