The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Thursday, March 24, 2011 - 7A
Hoke sees plenty of room for Coaches create competitive
improvement, Vinopal gone atmosphere at spring practice
time at fullback,
Woolfolk and Floyd
By TIM ROHAN
Daily Sports Editor
With just three spring prac-
tices under his belt and only one
in which he saw his new players
in pads, Michigan coach Brady
Hoke was asked
to estimate the NOTEBOOK
where the Michigan football
team was, as of Wednesday, and
where he wants it to be.
"That's a huge gap, I don't
know," Hoke said, pausing brief-
"Grand Canyon-sized right
now," he continued. "That's
nothing that's shocking right
now to us. And they're hun-
gry, like I said, they want to be
coached. They want to do it the
This spring, Hoke and his
assistants are focusing on a
combination of implanting new
schemes and teaching the funda-
mentals Hoke wants his athletes
to play with.
Transitioning to the 4-3
defense and the pro-style offense
has been a process early on.
"When you're installing an
offense or defense, there's always
a little paralysis by analysis as far
as somethinking going on," Hoke
said. "New terminology and all
of those kind of things - plays
being a little bit different, tech-
nique being a little bit different ...
We're not playing as near as fast
as we need to yet, but I wouldn't
No matter how much the
growing pains hurt, Hoke
expects everyone to play with
toughness and effort - as those
are the constants players can
control at this point. As for the
speed of their play, that paralysis
is something that Hoke assured
would work itself out. He said
* the team wasn't playing nearly
as quickly as he expects it to play.
One player who hasn't slowed
down is quarterback Denard
Robinson. Hoke said that the
signal caller and backup Devin
Gardner were beginning to
pick up the nuances of the new
"I think they both have done a
good job," Hoke said. "And both
are very capable of being tre-
mendous quarterbacks in this
The transition has been pretty
much a smooth one, if not for a
few speed bumps along the way.
"There's an issue with foot-
work at times, you try and rush
yourself in a drop off of play-
action or something like that,"
Former Michigan safety Ray Vinopal was a starter in the Michigan secondary
for much of the 2010 season.
By TIM ROHAN calling inside runs for him, when
Daily Sports Editor guys were in shorts and t-shirts.
And wide receiver Darryl Sto-
The trash talk between num had three words to describe
Denard Robinson and Greg Mat- the practices: fast, competitive
tison started before spring ball and intense.
did. "I like the competitiveness,"
"I am on him so bad, 'You are Stonum said through the Ath-
the worst I've ever seen,' teasing letic Department. "Everyone
him," Michigan defensive coor- competes. It's like really intense.
dinator Mattison said last week. Everyone's talking trash. It
"And he gives it right back. I love reminds me of one of those
him. I love him." Under Armour commercials
Mattison used similar tactics - where everybody's live and
against Tim Tebow, when Matti- intense. It's alot of fun."
son held the same position there As the players adapt to Hoke's
- he had also recruited Tebow to offensive and defensive phi-
come to the school. losophies there will be plenty
Robinson told Mattison that of chances this spring for play-
this is going to be his worst ers to stick out. Michigan does,
spring in a lot of years. And Mat- however, return nine starters
tison jabbed back, "You better on offense and nine starters on
get two red jerseys on - not one." defense - not including Ray
The competition is already Vinopal, who, Hoke announced,
heating up for the Michigan was no longer with the team on
football team - which is just the Wednesday.
type of atmosphere that Michi- As for a depth chart: not so
gan coach Brady Hoke is trying fast. Hoke's more focused on
to foster in his first practices as observing how his players react
coach. to the challenge this spring pres-
"You do that by rewarding ents.
guys who play well, and guys "Nothing's given," Hoke said.
who don't play so well, maybe "You're going to have to earn it.
you don't get as many snaps - You're going to have to earn it if
you get moved down the depth you came out as a starter during
chart," Hoke said. "Its always the spring, from what you do all
fluid and it always will be. And summer. (It's) how you work and
we do a lot of competitions in all of that stuff - how you pre-
different situations. We'll do pare. And it'll be the same thing
red zone tomorrow. We did in fall camp. Again, creating
2nd-and-8, play-it-out, yester- competition and having compe-
day. And there's consequences tition. And if we all compete like
for losing - but that's what the heck with each other, we'll all be
game is." okay."
What kind of consequences? It's the offense versus defense
"Oh, they're good, they're rivalry, position battles and all
good - they're fun," Hoke said. else, maybe even a few friend-
Before the Wolverines even ly jabs between coaches and
put pads on, running back Ste- players, all of which build the
phen Hopkins commented on competitive atmosphere. The
how physical Hoke's practices deepest positions on the team
were. Michigan was hitting and with the most competition are
wide receiver and safety, accord-
ing to Hoke.
And through three spring
practices, teammates are already
starting to embrace the environ-
After Tuesday's practice -
Michigan's first in full pads -
defensive end Ryan Van Bergen
bragged during a video inter-
view with MGoBlue.com that he
sacked Robinson in each of their
first three practices.
"Three-for-three - all three
practices I got a sack," Van Ber-
gen said with Robinson within
"It reminds me
of one of those
"You did not get me yes-
terday," Robinson chimed in.
"Today you got me because I
made Mike Martin miss and you
"Trying to step up in a pocket
that wasn't there," Van Bergen
"No, I shook Mike Martin and
you came and got me," Robinson
said, eyes widening in disbelief.
"No - false," Van Bergen
quipped to the camera. "Three-
for-three (on) Denard Robinson.
Oh-for-three for him. Three-for-
three is not as impressive as oh-
for-three for him."
"Where's Mike? Where's
Mike," Robinson said, smiling,
as he walked away.
At least Mattison's defense
has won at least a few battles
against Robinson this spring.
Hoke added. "But both of those
guys have handled it pretty well."
The quarterbacks' progres-
sion will be important to keep an
eye on. And by the end of the 15
spring practices, Hoke probably
still won't be satisfied with his
team's progress as a whole.
"We'll never be where I want
us to be, period," Hoke said. "I
know me. I think it's pretty typi-
cal of the last two places that
we've started. At Ball State and
San Diego State, there's a point
where you have to start and
you've got a vision of where you
want to finish. I think it always
takes a little bit of time during
the spring to move the dial."
SEE YOU LATER, 'PAL: Hoke
announced that sophomore safe-
ty Ray Vinopal is officially no
longer with the team.
"Ray decided to go back to
Youngstown, (Ohio)," Hoke said.
"That issue is more of a family
Vinopal was moved into the
starting lineup when Michigan
played Penn State last season
after the Wolverines' bye week
- he started the final six games
of the season, totaling 33 tackles,
L5 tackles-for-loss and one inter-
ception on the year.
HOP ON UP: Sophomore
running back Stephen Hop-
kins - the biggest running back
Michigan had last year at 6-foot,
227 pounds - has been play-
ing "part-time" at fullback this
"We don't have a lot of full-
backs," Hoke said. "We have one,
really, with that type of body on
the team in (John McColgan).
Hop's doing some of it, and some
of the split back stuff that we
do, a lot of the old 49ers' stuff, it
really works out well with that
type of guy."
Hopkins was used as a goal-
line back under Rich Rodriguez
and rushed for 151 yards on 37
carries, for an average of 4.1
yards per carry, with four rush-
ing touchdowns in 2010. Hoke
wants his fullbacks to fit a cer-
"He's got to be a guy who
comes in 6-(foot)-3 and leaves
the program about 6-(foot)-1,"
Hoke said, referringto the physi-
cal grind it takes to play the posi-
tion. "Every Wisconsin fullback
I've seen, they get shorter as the
years go on."
SPRING FLING: This year's
spring game, set for April16, may
not look like a typical game, as
Hoke warned on Wednesday.
"We wouldn't play a (real)
game," Hoke said. "We have a lot
of situational scrimmage stuff.
And we've got (24) more days
until that spring game date. Just
in different experiences, I doubt
we'll play a game, game. (I'd)
like to, but we don't have enough
He added that he hopes to
have 50 to 60 percent of the
schemes installed by the end of
spring, with the remainder com-
ing in fall camp.
INJURY UPDATES: Running
back Mike Shaw has been taking
part in alternate conditioning,
Hoke said. Shaw broke his hand
before spring practice started
and is expected to be able to do
a little more, with a cast on, next
week. ... Center David Molk has
been hampered by a hamstring
injury, relegating Rocko Khoury
to take the majority of the snaps
at center - Molk is expected to
be fine by next Tuesday. ... Hoke
also commented on the status
of cornerbacks Troy Woolfolk
and J.T. Floyd. Woolfolk is doing
some group work and certainly
not everything yet. And Floyd is
further behind than Woolfolk.
Adamson ignores records to
concentrate on Indiana rivalry
By CAT STANLEY from 2007.
For the Daily This particular matchup also
means more to Michigan coach
Did mention of the record Matt Anderson than any other
startle her? Yes, but it didn't faze game of the season.
her. With a newborn baby of two
Sophomore Alex Adamson, days and the fiercest match
the starting goalie of the Michi- upon him, Anderson has a lot on
gan water polo team, enters Sat- his plate. But he feels confident
urday's match against Indiana enteringthe weekend's contests.
with the potential to become the Anderson also recognizes
third Wolverine ever to win five Adamson's hard work and dedi-
straight games against the Hoo- cation.
siers - a record she was unaware "Alex is a gamer," Anderson
of. said. "She proved it as a fresh-
Moreover, it's more of a man when she took over for
missed skip-shot to her than a our injured senior goalie (Brit-
factor that will actually affect tany May) and she's continued
her play, as a sophomore. You know she's
"Records don't matter," going to show up."
Adamson said after practice on Last year, Adamson went 4-0
Wednesday. "This weekend is against Indiana as a rookie. She
about coming out and proving also claimed a program-best 4.5
that we're the best team in the goals-against average.
East. The record is meaningless If Michigan wins, she has a
if we don't win that game." chance to surpass May and join
No. 7 Michigan will travel to the ranks of Betsey Armstrong
play No. 13 Indiana for one of (2002-05) and Camille Claren-
the biggest rivalry games in col- don (2001), who have each beat-
legiate water polo. This will be en Indiana more than four times.
the 37th meeting between the So far this season, Adamson
teams, and Michigan has won has earned the starting position
each of the past eight meetings in the cage, but she does share
the position with junior Morgan
"It's a great feeling having
someone I respect a lot there to
bounce ideas off of and get good
advice from," Adamson said. "It's
something that a lot of teams and
goalies don't have."
Anderson is not surprised by
thesgoalie's success this season
and said Adamson's confidence
level has improved from last sea-
"She does not doubt herself
like she may have as a fresh-
man, the first time she played,"
Anderson said. "To me, the key
is you need to practice with the
same intensity as the game, and
that's what Alex always does.
She believes in herself a little
more because she's been through
The Wolverines will face the
Hoosiers this Saturday at 2 p.m.
ET in Bloomington, Ind. Adam-
son will take position in the cage
and defend the biggest rivalry
Michigan water polo owns.
For now, her last words about
what Anderson refers to as "that
school down south" were: "I
hope they're ready for us."