"We are delighted to announce that Pat Massey and Jason Avant have been
selected by their teammates as the captains of this team. I think traditionally
they have selected men who are selfless and are committed, and tough, and competitive
and certainly that is the case with these two men. They are top shelf and I
know that they will be great leaders. "
On how the voting works and if he tries to influence it:
"One man, two votes. One on offense, one on defense. You have to be a
4th year, or 5th year senior to be on the ballot. You list every senior on offense,
and every senior on defense, and they circle two. When the vote is taken, I
select two juniors to go out of the room with Fred Jackson and they count the
votes. I don't want any thought that I would ever try to manipulate the voting.
We spend a lot of time talking about leadership from the first meeting in the
winter. Throughout the spring and during the summer they have a chance to watch
the guys that are leading and pushing through the heat and all of the things
that go on in the summertime. And then they have almost two weeks in the fall
to continue to assess. It's a very important process, but no, I would never
change any vote."
On how he decides if there should be tri-captains:
"What would occasion that is if there are two guys on one side of the
ball and the votes are very very close, then I would make that decision."
On if he has ever been surprised by the choice of a captain:
"Eric Mays 1997 was, I think, a surprise to the coaching staff. But the
thing about it is, as a coach, I want to trust their judgement. There are guys
that I would have voted for that didn't get selected as a captain, and looking
back, almost invariably, the team made the right choice. It’s a big deal
because you go through a lot of things in the course of a season. It is the
quality of the leadership that enables you to be a team that doesn't crack,
or doesn't fold when things go bad or when the pressure builds. I think traditionally
they have done a great job and you want them to select the men that are going
to play their part and be accountable, as well as being someone that holds everyone
On leadership from players other than the captains:
"Well I think on both sides of the ball there were other guys that had
the same qualities. The truth is, that senior class has to provide quality leadership.
Without people around you that are doing their job, and excited about their
roll whatever it may be…leadership is a tough enough job when everyone
is doing their job."
On if a special teams guy could be captain:
"Jay Feely could have been a captain. He was as tough as they came. And
I think there have been other guys that have great leadership qualities. One
of the things we've done here in the last two or three years is we choose a
special teams captain every week. It's an honorary thing. We choose them as
coaches. Mike DeBord makes a recommendation and we talk about it in a staff
meeting. We're trying to recognize achievement and leadership, and give them
the opportunity to go out there before the game for the coin toss. So we try
to factor in the special teams. I think it has been a great thing for us."
On if any decisions on starting positions have been made after Saturday's
"No, although we did have an excellent scrimmage at the stadium. It was
one of the hottest days. I'll just say this about training camp. It's the hottest
training camp I've ever been to. We've pushed this team hard and they've really
responded…particularly considering the heat. A year ago it was just the
opposite. I would much rather have it hot this time of the year because invariably
you get into the stadium and it is warm in September. I think that has been
a plus for us. I think this freshman class is a very very good class potentially.
The thing that has changed is you use to bring freshmen in three days early.
Now we don't do that. That makes it a much tougher adjustment for them. They
have really hung in there. You've got a lot of guys in there that have shown
a lot of promise. We've probably got seven or eight of those guys that I can
see right now contributing. That number could go up depending on what happens
this week or injuries. It is a very very good class and I'm pleased about that.
As far as positions, we're getting to the point where we are going to make [some
decisions], but we still have a week here in training camp. We've been here
for fifteen days now with six more to go. I do think we have made a lot of progress.
We've got some things that I think we need to continue to work on. I think the
defense is improved in a lot of areas, and yet you never know what you have
until you get to the game. The pressure of game competition is really where
you find out where a guy is, but I am pleased with where we are."
On Ryan Mundy's injury status:
"He has not returned to practice, but I'm hoping he will do that here
at the end of the week."
Check back later for audio comments on the freshmen (including Brandon
Harrison's move to safety) and some of the defensive improvements thus far in
Also, if you missed it: go to the article on MGoBlue.com for the preseason AP Poll, including Michigan's #4 ranking.