notebook: Rich Rodriguez: It's a 'privilege' for Michigan football players to wear winged helmet
When Rich Rodriguez kicked off summer camp, he said a handful of out-of-shape players would not “have the opportunity to wear the winged helmet” on Sept. 4 if they didn’t improve their conditioning.
At the time, no one realized Rodriguez meant that literally.
But Friday, the Big Ten Network visited the Michigan football team’s practice and later published a picture on its website of quarterback Tate Forcier holding a plain blue helmet - one without wings.
Forcier wasn’t the only flightless one, although the network did not specify how many others practiced without winged helmets. Rodriguez addressed the clipped wings issue Monday night, saying it was about more than just conditioning.
“It’s more, ‘Has he earned the wings?” he said. “Certainly, we want everybody that runs down that tunnel on September 4 ... is going to be wearing a winged helmet. In order to run down that tunnel, you’ve got to appreciate the privilege you have to play here.
“I think all of them will, and if they don’t, they won’t wear the helmet.”
Rodriguez declined to discuss the topic further, saying it was “a team thing.”
Tackle competitions take shape
Taylor Lewan and Mark Huyge are the chief competitors for the starting left tackle job, according to their linemate, Patrick Omameh.
“That’s pretty wide open,” said Omameh, who is penciled into Michigan’s starting right guard spot. “They’re both working hard. You can tell they both want it.”
Lewan is a 6-foot-8 redshirt freshman who played on the same defensive line as Craig Roh at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Ariz. Lewan played offensive line for the first time during his senior year.
Huyge is the more experienced of the two. He started the first three games of the season last year at right tackle for the Michigan football team before starting the next four at right guard when injuries hit the Michigan line.
At right tackle, Omameh said Perry Dorrestein, Michael Schofield and Huyge have taken snaps.
Awaiting the next No. 1 wide receiver
The No. 1 jersey has been reserved for only the best of the Michigan football team’s wide receivers for decades. The next to wear the number may not yet be on the team’s roster.
“We haven’t discussed the No. 1 jersey in, I guess, about two years now,” Rich Rodriguez said Monday.
Two years ago, the first-year coach came to camp unaware of the number’s tradition. He caused a stir by giving it to incoming freshman defensive back J.T. Floyd.
He rescinded Floyd’s jersey, and it has been left unworn since Braylon Edwards held it in 2004.
“I guess it’s kind of - it’s not retired - but I guess it’s semi-retired at the moment,” Rodriguez said Monday.
Junior Kevin Koger was named to the John Mackey Award watch list Monday, which is annually awarded to the nation’s top tight end. He’s one of 32 players on the list, including five from the Big Ten.
Two-a-days started Sunday, but Rodriguez said competitions at running back and quarterback remained wide open.
“Some drills are just kind of repetitive, but it’s fun when we do situational stuff like real football, last play, third and long. We really get into that. That’s when we start competing against the offensive and giving them some trouble.”
- Defensive tackle Mike Martin, asked about the dog days of summer camp.