The Big Ten Network was on campus broadcasting practice and yammering with the coaches today. The first thing I noticed was how fit the players look. Minimal 'dunlaps' on the linemen (as in my belly dun lapped over my belt) and some of the skill guys look down right svelte! And, is it just me, or is the adidas yellow not really maize?????
Coach Rich Rod sauntered up to the BTN desk and just charmed this ol' girl to mush!
When asked what he felt the team still needed to work on most he replied, "Oh quite a bit--I still have my voice, but we've got 2 good weeks left."
He says the team is not ready for a game yet particularly because of all the young guys. All the little things still need to be taught. But they are getting better slowly.
Coach DiNardo pointed out that 8 of 11 teams in the Big 10 are running some variety of the spread. Rich Rod says that they keep changing his version of the spread, not really to stay ahead of the pack, but instead to more readily fit the personnel and their offensive skill set. The play calling will be geared to what the kids can do.
Get ready for a load of frosh on offense: McGuffie and Shaw at tailback/Odoms and Robinson at the slot/Darryl Stonum outside receiver are all true freshman who are gonna play right away.
At QB, Threet and Sheridan are very similiar, both are very intelligent guys, and according to Rich Rod they picked up the system, terminology, and signals much quicker than anticipated.
"We're just trying to get 'em to manage the game. A quarterback in our offense is like a point guard that can shoot the three, if his 3 point shot's not fallin' then he's gotta be a distributor and be smart with the ball." (sigh. oh richie....)
O-line is still a work in progress--lots of growin' pains. Only one starter coming back--Steve Shilling. True freshmen on '2 deeps' which Coach notes is "really scary". Just today they moved John Ferrar, a D-lineman, over to the O-line where they think he can be a starter. Still looking for 6-7 guys that they think they can win with.
Coach won't talk about number of wins or whatnot, he just wants to compete every game and deserve to win each one. First goal will be conference championship every year. He's going to be relying on the more experienced defense to start things out while the offense evolves.
And, I have to say, I'm warming up to the BTN, at least as far as Michigan coverage goes. ESPN's Dream Job winner Mike Hall is an announcer and he still looks like Doogie Howser! Why'd he leave ESPNU? More chicks in Chicago than Charlotte, NC.
The other announcers leave much to be desired, and I'm thinking that I can do a better job reading the teleprompter (if they put it on the big font that is).....
oooh.....can you feel it???