"We are delighted that we were able to
sign 20 guys. Marques Slocum will be part of that class, as well. We signed
21 guys, and I like their character, I like their potential, and I look forward
to the opportunity to coach them when they get here. It's a little bit unusual.
We do have four guys who are already here, started school in January. The advantage
there, certainly, is that they will have the opportunity to participate in
our winter program in terms of developing their strengths, their conditioning,
and of course have the opportunity to play in spring practice. But it also
is somewhat of a more difficult adjustment to college coming in the middle
of the year, because normally when they come in, they come in as a class, and
so these four guys, their adjustment's are a little bit different because the
weather certainly has been colder. And Ryan Mallett, we told him it never got
less than 40 degrees here (laughter). But we don't have any control over weather."
On Ryan Mallett:
was in our camp going into his junior year. Scot Loeffler I think had gone
down there that spring, and it was very obvious, even at that age, he was going
to have the kind of size and athletic ability and all of the physical tools.
But he's also an extremely bright guy. I think he has a tremendous upside because
he wants to be a great player. He's played for an exceptional program. His
head coach, Barry Norton, is one of the fine high school coaches in the country.
So he comes out of a great program. He ran an offense that -- it's a very complicated
scheme in terms of the terminology they use, the formations they use, the motions
they use. So he's coming in here with an excellent background as far as his
high school preparation."
On Ryan Mallett as a recruiter:
"Because he committed so
early, certainly he met a lot of players -- nine of the 20 signees were in
our camp. So he had an opportunity to meet all of those guys, and certainly
on his recruiting visit. And then he's contacted a lot of them by text messages
or phone calls. So I don't know how it would rank with others, but certainly
I think he has significant impact."
On if he can predict how many might make an impact next year:
"No, I can't
predict. I think certainly with the exception maybe of the cornerback position
and the defensive secondary, I think some of those guys by virtue of our
losses will certainly have an opportunity. But it's all going to be determined,
I think more than anything else, by the kind of condition they report in, how
much time they spend here this summer, and how quickly they can pick up all
of the things that they need to know to be able to build a foundation and get
prepared to play because really, training camp, once you start, you've got
three weeks, and it's a very fast pace. So if a guy is not in shape, he can't
learn as well, he can't concentrate, he can't continue to push through all
of the things that you go through as a freshman in terms of the transition
as well as the complicated things at each position."
On what he enjoys about recruiting and what he doesn't:
only thing I don't particularly like is the travel, the airports, security.
It's a wear on you because, I was telling somebody the other day, you used
to be able to go down to Detroit Metro for a 7:00 flight. If you were there
at twenty to, a quarter to, you could jump on a plane and they would let you
off in front the airport. Now it's a little bit different. I experienced a
lot of delays, and because of the weather, and that's the thing -- then every
time you're delayed, every time you're late, it sets your schedule back. That
part of it is the only thing I don't enjoy about it. I like meeting the families
because I think any time you got a chance to watch a guy compete, in that setting,
you learn some things. So the high school coaches, it's always fun to go in
and talk to those guys because we have a lot of things in common."
On the defensive back recruits :
going back, probably in some case twos and three years, we've watched these
kids. We've had them in camp. We've had them on campus. We're trying to bring
kids here who have outstanding character, who academically can compete and
who have the athletic skills and the competitiveness that it takes to survive
in an environment like this.
"I think Donovan Warren is the real deal. When he visited last year during
the season, he impressed me as a guy that was really goal-oriented, as guy
that was not afraid of competition. I think he has all of the skills that it
takes, but I think all of the guys that we recruited, or else we would not
have recruited them, they have all of the ability and all of the qualities
that we're looking for. It's a matter of how well they do when the competition
"Of course you all know about Troy Woolfolk, Butch's son. Troy is a guy
with wonderful speed and an athletic ability. Mike Williams from St. Bonaventure
is really a guy I think is going to be able to compete early.
"I think that James Rogers is a guy that, you know and a lot of times,
it's interesting to read some of the things that are written about guys, the
rankings and all of the stars, the five-star and, you know, it's kind of funny.
I think we had him in our camp, he's got great speed and is a three-sport guy,
no four-sport, four sports. I don't remember recruiting a guy plays football,
baseball, basketball and track. So he's a guy that brings a lot to the table.
"Artis Chambers is one of the four guys that's already here. So he'll
get an opportunity to compete in spring practice, which will I think give him
a leg up as far as his knowledge and understanding of the game."
On what he says to recruits about getting close to the end of his coaching
"I think what we offer at Michigan is a
great education. That's first and most importantly. I think some guys are
more serious about the degree that they are going to get than others. And
certainly that is right at the top of what opportunity we offer here, as
well as a great football program. Regardless of my situation, I think part
of the landscape is that a lot of coaches are replaced. A lot of coaches change
jobs. I think by and large, when you make a choice because of who the coach
is, whether it's a position coach, whether it's a head coach, you can't be
sure that he's going to be there."
On Marques Slocum:
"He's in school and he will not participate
in spring practice."
On not get many players from Michigan and Ohio:
"I don't think a boundary
line means much. I think you find football players wherever you can. A lot
of it goes back to the background of our coaches. I think that's the most
important thing is that the guys that you take are guys that you have evaluated
carefully and believed very strongly in."
On Austin Panter :
Panter is in school, and he's the second junior college player we've recruited
since I've been head coach; the first being of course, Russell Shaw, who played
such an important role in that 1997 team. But Austin Panter is an interesting
story. He was a qualifier out of high school. But he wanted to go to junior
college because his dad is a former high school coach. Some of the offers he
got, he felt like he could play at a higher level, and he's just been a dominating
player at a junior college level. He's a very smart guy and a guy that I think
is going to really make a significant contribution. It's all based on what
I saw on film and based on what I've seen in our winter conditioning workouts."
On if there have been any staff changes since the Bowl game:
"Well, any time there's a coaching change,
you're free to talk to those people involved. Normally, when somebody
leaves the program, whether it be a player, whether it be a coach, I leave
that announcement up to him."
On if any new hires have been made :
On if Ron Lee is still on the staff:
On Ron English's ability to recruit California
of course, grew up in Los Angeles, went to Cal Berkeley and recruited there
when he was at Arizona State. So he's got a great background in terms of
the contacts and he's a guy with great communication skills and great passion
for what he's doing. And certainly, he did a great job this year there, there's
no doubt about that."
On the wide receiver recruits:
Babb, his dad was an outstanding track athlete at Southern Cal. He is a guy
that really is a big, strong guy, runs extremely well. I think he could play
on either side of the ball. He's athletic, he's tough. We like him a lot.
"I saw Junior Hemingway play basketball last Friday night in Conway,
South Carolina, and I was extremely impressed with this guy as an athlete,
as a competitor. He comes from a great football program, great family. He's
a guy that I think is going to have an excellent career here."
"Toney Clemons is really probably from a speed standpoint, a guy that
is going to make a difference because he runs extremely well. He's got excellent
size, excellent hands. I think all of those kids have a chance to contribute
possibly as freshman."
On Martell Webb:
"He is a
big kid, runs extremely well, very competitive, team-oriented guy. He plays
on an excellent team. The night I saw him play, the game went right down to
the wire. I don't think he came out of the game. But Martell is I think the
real deal. We've had a lot of great tight ends here and I think he's going
to be another."
On the possibility of him playing basketball at Michigan:
would have to ask Tommy that. Do
I think he has potential? I'm not much of a basketball coach. But my guess
is, when I watch Big Ten basketball, I think to compete in one sport is an
incredible challenge. And, you know, to do it in two, I think it's very difficult
to do because more than anything else, you really don't get a chance to start
basketball practice until January. And as you know, basketball season starts
On whether Kelvin Grady will play football at Michigan:
going to play, as my understanding based on the last conversation I had with
him, which was probably a year ago, is he made a decision he was going to start
out in basketball and then maybe as a sophomore make a decision on whether
he thinks he wants to compete in two sports. So I think that's down the road
On Artis Chambers:
think he comes from an excellent program. Mike DeBord has an excellent relationship
with the coach. He has excellent size, he runs well, he's tough."
On whether there were an abnormal number of de-commits this year:
did not find that in our case, I think we had one guy. But certainly as you
look across the country, I think the truth is, the pressure is extreme. I
think recruiting in those last few weeks, it's a tough deal for a guy to
deal with for a high school kid, because almost all of the parents were involved,
only go through it once. There are some who have a son, two sons, and so
they get some experience the first time around. But the pressure is intense.
Sometimes a guy simply changes his mind. I think there are a lot of reasons
why they do it. But I think certainly the pressure on an 18-year-old kid to
make that decision when he's got a lot of things about each school that he
likes, I think it's tough on him."
On recruiting players that have verbally committed
"If a guy tells us that he, sometimes it gets announced
that a guy is committed, and he may not be. Or, he may have committed and
yet he calls or one of his coaches calls and says, coach, he would really
like to look at Michigan. So in those cases where a guy initiates contact
-- but as a general rule, I've always tried to respect a guy's decision,
and if he says he's committed elsewhere, then I wish him luck and move on."
On whether he favors an early signing period:
"I think there are pros and cons to it. I'm really
kind of ambivalent."
On negative recruiting by other schools, like the
false rumor about English being interviewed by the Vikings when he clearly
"There is probably a lot
more misinformation out there than there is good information. So having to
deal with those things is a part of it, and, it's part of the deal."
On whether Renaldo Sagesse can come in and contribute right away:
"He certainly has the size, he has the athleticism, and
yes, I do think he will come in (prepared to play). But until you get him
on the field and you find out really how their foundation is and how fundamentally
sound they are; he comes from a good program that we've been very familiar
with down through the years, and it's an excellent school, Vieux Montreal.
I think there's a good chance that he can do that."
On if there is an advantage for a kid like Steve Watson, that his father
is grounded in football:
"There's no question. Steve grew up as
a ball boy for the Denver Broncos. His dad played in the NFL and coached
for a long time, and his dad has coached him. When you look at the high school
film, it's very obvious that he has really been tutored to a high degree.
I mean, he runs great routes. You could just tell in watching him that he's
got a sound football background."
On David Molk and Mark Huyge:
I like about both of them is their athletic ability. Mark Huyge is a basketball
player and he played both ways. When I watched the film, I was really impressed
with him on the defensive side of the ball, the way he ran. He's a guy that
really is athletic, and of course, that fits into what we are trying to do.
I think from that standpoint, he's got a good future.
"David Molk is a smaller guy, but a guy that has wonderful athletic ability
and very, very good strength at this stage. I think he's a guy that has the
kind of mobility, the kind of toughness, very bright guy. I didn't mean to
short him there."
On Ryan Mallett sitting behind Chad Henne for a year :
think he understands that part of the advantage for him coming here is the
fact that he could spend a year watching Chad Henne and being around Chad
Henne. And I think that's really a valuable part of the particular situation
he'll find himself in. I think being here this spring and being in the meetings,
he's going through winter conditioning, the window of three weeks, that's what
makes it even more amazing to me what Henne was able to do as a true freshman.
I think Henne being here is really in the long run a great thing for Ryan.
On if Mallett will redshirt:
"Well, no. I think we'll try to play him some, if he is the backup quarterback
and it may not be a lot. And it may be, you know, you never can predict that.
But I think the advantage of playing some, knowing that it's not going to be
a lot, or not planning that it's going to be a lot, the great thing about not
redshirting him is that every single week, he's going to prepare like he's
going to play, because he may. So mentally, the pressure is on him. I think
his dreams are to be the starting quarterback here for three years, and I think
in three years, you know, at the end of that time, you might say, well, we
should have redshirted him. But he may not have stayed anyway, so there are
On if he is worried about holding on to his first commit of 2008 for a
"I simply tell every
guy that commits to us, before he commits, I always tell them, don't commit,
don't tell us you're coming unless you're sure. Because when you change your
mind, you're going to take some criticism. You're going to be out there and
there's going to be all sorts of stories about why you changed your mind. So
you're much better served if you have any doubts to hold off, don't make that
decision public until you're absolutely sure. And I think that's one of the
reasons down through the years that we've had very, very few guys who have
changed their mind. But it's always a possibility. And it's the worst of possibilities
I think for both the school, because now you've lost a guy and you've lost
time recruiting someone else."
On Ryan Van Bergen:
Ryan Van Bergen is going to be one heck of a player. He can really run. I mean,
he's a guy that brings great athletic ability to that position, and I think
the question is how big he'll be, if he gets big enough, he can move inside,
but he's an outstanding athlete."
On if he said he saw Quintin Woods in school yesterday:
you said Quintin Woods, I take that back. I was thinking Patilla. See, I told
you it's not a perfect world. No, he is not in school. I can't really comment
On if kids have asked how long he will stick around in the aftermath of
the published reports about his amended contract:
"Honestly I don't remember that question
On if he has heard the question from other people:
"I've read some, or
I've had people tell me it's in the paper."
On if anything should be read into his amended contract:
"Well, I think you
can read into it whatever you choose to read into it."
On if he can give any insight into why the change to his contract was
"At some point here,
I'll have something to say about that. But I don't. You've got access to
what's in there and I really don't have anything to say other than that."
On if Marques Walton is still with the program:
"No, Marques is
not with us."
On if Brandent Englemon will be back next year:
On if Ryan Mundy will be back next year:
On if there has been a problem trying to schedule a 12th game:
working on it. It's an issue because there just aren't many schools out there.
I can just tell you that we're hoping it will be resolved here in the not-too-distant
On if it would it help if the game was moved to December:
based on -- of course, we had some discussion about that -- I think that's
going to probably change. Finishing two weeks earlier, I just think everybody
looks at it (as a disadvantage to our conference), and my feeling is that's
going to change."
On if he sees it changing this year:
"I don't know this year."
On if he is okay with that change:
it bothers me from the standpoint that I think in the Big Ten that allowed
a player, when you think about the student athlete's year, we've allowed them
to go home for Thanksgiving because they do not get to go home for Christmas.
So really, football, they get no break in there if you play Thanksgiving weekend.
They get no break until Easter or spring break, I should say. So I think from
the players' standpoint, we have the best deal. I think from the competitive
standpoint, if you look at last season and this conference, I think the argument
is pretty strong that it is a competitive disadvantage when you don't play
because of the length of time between the end of the season and the bowl game.
So I think it's what it is."
On skipping that Thanksgiving week and play the following
"That's a good point, because that's really one of the
suggestions that I've made. I think the Big Ten athletic directors are trying
to address that issue, but I think regardless of if they don't do something
in the Big Ten conference, then each school would be free to make some changes
that would allow them to play the 12th game after Thanksgiving."
On Steve Schilling and Antonio Bass:
is working out and we're really optimistic that he'll be able to play spring
practice, at least in some capacity. We just have to see if he's ready to go
as far as contact, but he's made real strides. He's really healed fast and
we're excited about that.
"Antonio is working hard. He was in the training room yesterday but I
can't tell you anything. I don't have anything to tell you that would be different
On if the long layoff after the regular season was a major factor
for Michigan and Ohio State:
"We don't have any excuses. I think that case can be
made but I don't care to make it."
On the Rose Bowl loss:
fundamentally, the biggest thing in the game was that for us, we turned the
ball over twice in the second half at the short end of the field. So we put
our defense in terrible field position. Then we gave up a big play in the third
quarter that really, or in the fourth quarter I guess, that tore the game open.
We had gotten back into the game. But we didn't protect the passer very well.
Their speed there was very good. But we didn't run the football effectively,
and any time you turn the ball over twice at the short end of the field and
give up a big play for a touchdown, that's 21 points."
On if Will Paul is returning for his fifth year:
"No, Will is
not. He's graduated. Ryan Mundy will finish his degree this spring as well."
On Marell Evans:
"Marell Evans is from
the same high school that Brandon Minor is, Varina High School. We saw him
a year ago when we recruited Brandon. We really liked him. He's a guy with
excellent size, going to be a big guy and has very, very good athletic ability.
He comes from a good program. You know, we like him a lot."
On Brandon Herron:
"He's a guy that needs to develop
size-wise, but he's an outstanding athlete. I think he's going to need a year
as far as developing his strength. But Steve Szabo really liked his athleticism."
On if there are any guys that he isn't sure where they will end up
Babb, there was one point there where we -- and the same for James Rogers.
Both those kids could play either side. And yet we are going to play them where
they are listed. We are going to start them out (at that position). I don't
think there's anybody else that I can think of where we're unsure."
On the number of in-state kids that decided to attend
"There are always guys that normally
speaking, you're going to lose some guys. It was I think an unusual year
in the state, without getting into any specifics (about players) because
I think those guys can speak for themselves. There were a lot of guys that
went out of state a lot and obviously we would rather keep them in state."
On Mike Massey's shoulder :
"He had surgery
and he will not play spring ball but he'll be fine."
On Vince Helmuth:
think he's a wonderful athlete. Our fullback, I think particularly since we
went to the zone blocking schemes, he's a guy that really has to be nifty and
nimble. Based on what I've seen, and I've only seen a couple of workouts, but
he has a chance. Now we have to see when we put the pads on how he holds up,
because he's 18 years old, even though he's a big, strong guy, he's going to
be blocking guys down in and down out that are 240, 250. So, you know, normally
like Obi Oluigbo, it took him really two, maybe three years to get to the point
where he could take that pounding. So we'll just have to see how he picks it
up but I think he's going to be an excellent player."
On Avery Horn:
"I think the thing we like
best about Avery is this guy has got great speed. We were looking for a guy
that could break the big play, and I think certainly, he has the speed to do
On if he is surprised that people are fascinated by his future plans:
think 'fascinated' is the word (Laughter). Look, you know, I've
tried to answer that as best I could, but it seems as though everybody interprets
it differently. Like I'm hinting; I've hinted. I've said everything I have
to say on it."
On if he has spoken to Brian Griese, Cato June and Marlin Jackson about
the Super Bowl:
talked to Brian a couple of times. He was in during the season. But I have
not talked with Cato and Marlin. But they are out there; (please) send money
(Laughter). They did well. I'm happy for them. I mean that ring is hard to
get. I think we're all here, southeast Michigan, we're all delighted for Tony
Dungy, what a great guy, great coach, and to see him win that game was really