On the Fullbacks
"Brian Thompson is going to miss the spring. He has a broken bone in his
foot. That seems to be one of the most prevalent injuries in modern day football.
I don't know if it is the shoes. I don't know if it is the size of the players,
but it certainly is a frustrating injury. Brian would have been right in the
thick of competing for the starting fullback position. He does have enough experience
that he will be back and he will be in the thick of it in the fall. Obi Oluigbo
made some strides last fall and Roger Allison, the freshman from Lake Orion,
is an extremely talented guy. Late in the season he had one of those nerve injuries
that really impacted his ability to compete, so we'll just have to see what
he can do with that. But we do have the finest training staff and medical staff
in this country. Nobody will be playing that shouldn't be playing."
On how Allison is doing now:
"I think he has had a very good winter and he feels better, but until
you get on the field…until you've scrimmaged in some contact situations,
you just don't know. Sometimes guys can play through that. Sometimes they can't."
On the long snapping:
"Turner Booth and Pat Sharrow would have competed for that job. Turner
Booth made great strides in the last half of the season. I think he is extremely
capable. Pat Sharrow had foot surgery so he will be out for the spring. We'll
have to see how he does when he comes back in the fall. But there's a lot of
things we can do in the kicking game in terms of drills, working on coverage,
working on assignments, and the techniques. It is not just about catching the
punt. It is about those people who are covering it, those people trying to develop
techniques that allow them to block their assignments. So there is a lot we
can do before we get outside. Now actually kicking the ball…we're limited.
That's why we need to get a facility here so we can work on the kicking game
in the winter time."
On Kevin Grady:
"Going to the bowl game was a great opportunity for him to get to know
his teammates, to get into meetings, to know the routine of practice, and the
way practice goes with drills. Obviously he got a lot of repetitions out there.
That will enable to go into spring practice already having a foundation. Of
course, in the next 15 practices he will continue to build on that foundation…as
will Max Martin. I expect that our running back situation, if we stay healthy,
should be as competitive and as good as it has been in a long time."
On Jeremy VanAlstyne Leo Henige, and Tim Jamison:
"Jeremy VanAlstyne will be out for the spring. I would put Henige and
Jamison in the category that they will be limited in the beginning and we'll
see how they hold up and how they progress. But I feel very confident that both
of them, before the spring is out, will be able to return and get some good
work in. At least I'm hopeful."
On Jerome Jackson:
"Jerome has had discomfort from the conditioning, and he has missed some
workouts. We have to see if he is ready to go this weekend. We're hoping. But
it shouldn't be anything major. But certainly, we're hoping he comes back."
On the players that have looked good in winter conditioning:
"Will Paul is a guy has impressed me this winter. He is bigger, and Will
is a guy that can run. I think he has made some good progress. I think Shawn Crable and Prescott Burgess…I don't think there is anybody that has been
through that has not improved. Certainly if you look at those guys today in
comparison to a year ago, you see some significant increases in strength and
On how much pressure Jim Herrmann will put on himself this season?
"I think any coach, if he is worth his salt, will put more pressure on
himself than anybody else will. I think the key in being successful in anything
is being able to stay focused on the things that you can do and the things that
are under your control, to get better and to improve. Then you have to have
the toughness to ignore all of the critics…all of the people that think
they know more about what you're doing than you do. It's about working hard
to increase your knowledge to stay abreast of all of the things that are going
on around you. If you can do those things in your profession, you're going to
be very successful. "
On if he thinks Herrmann has been unfairly criticized:
"I don't give a damn about criticism! Anybody that is worth their salt
doesn't listen to it. Some people are paid to be critics. That's their job.
Some critics are better than others."
On how much better Chad Henne and Mike Hart can get from going
through a whole spring practice:
"I saw Michael yesterday and I said, 'you know Mike, anybody can have
one great year.' (laughing). The truth is, when you've had as much success as
they've had, it adds to the pressure. It adds to the expectations. How do you
handle pressure? You embrace it by continuing to work hard to stay focused on
the things that you can do to make yourself better. It's the same thing as being
criticized. If you listen to all the people that tell you how great you are,
you most assuredly will go downhill. It's about staying focused about what YOU
want to do. And if you want to be great, you stay focused. IF you don't, you're
going to suffer. I think both of those kids…what they did was remarkable.
And yet, the world is full of people that have had one great day and one great
year. So the measure of greatness and outstanding achievement, by my belief,
is consistency . That's really a challenge because we all live in a world where
people tell us we can't do this and we can't do that. I think those two kids
have a special maturity. I try to tell them, you don't measure a great season
by the number of yards you gain or pass for. Chad Henne could have a better
season next year than he had this year and not statistically do some of those
things. Sometimes you get wrapped up in I've got to score this many touchdowns,
I've got to do this, I've got to do that…no. You have to do things you're
asked to do and do the things that are under your control. So I try to tell
them…be in better shape. Be stronger than you were. Be smarter than you
were. You should improve in all of those areas. If you do, you've got a chance
to be a better football player this year than you were last year. To me, that's
what they'll try to do."
On the linebackrs:
"Chris Graham was very impressive. Not a particularly big guy, although
he has gotten bigger and stronger. And he is a very aggressive guy. John Thompson
is going to be a good football player here. This is a great opportunity for
him to develop. Of course McClintok has a lot of experience and should get better.
David Harris, I'm hoping, will bounce back. I think major knee surgery today
is a two-year proposition as far as performance goes. Guys I've seen, when they
come back the following year, they just don't play like they did. I think it
takes two years. This will be two years. David has had a really good winter.
I think he's healthy We're counting on him because Lawrence Reid was certainly
an unexpected development. Lawrence did a great job here at Michigan. It just
reached a point where the doctors felt like it wasn't going to get better, so
he decided that he wouldn't come back."