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April 07, 2014 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-04-07

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2B - April 7, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.cam

SPOIfDSMONDAY COUMN
IfDave Bran don had a conversation with Bo

A thleticDirectorDave
Brandon is dreaming. It's
the night of Michigan's
Spring Game, which took place
on the same weekend that
Brandon unveiled the lavish new
Schembechler Hall as well as the
announcement ofa preseason
international
soccer game
that will be
played in
Michigan
Stadium in
August. In
the dream,
Brandon is EVERETT
interrupted COOK
on the walk
to his car by a
statue.
The imposing figure is Bo
Schembechler, the most famous
figure in Michigan sports. It's
the first outdoor statue of an
individual in the 197 years of
the University, all part of the
new renovation to the football
facilities.
Confused, Brandon walks
over to the statue.
Bo Schembechler: Dave,
it's been a while. Gotta admit, I
don't love this new statue, but
you're the boss now, not me.
Dave Brandon: I knew you'd
be too humble to be a fan of it,
but it's a great opportunity to
draw attention to the Michigan
brand. Did you see the Towsley
Museum inside the new Hall?
It'll be a great recruiting tool.
BS: Looks great. Has getting
recruits really been an issue over
the last few years?
DB: Well, no. We've had a
top-20 recruiting class every
year for the past three seasons,
actually. Our 'J. Ira and Nicki
Harris Family Head Football
Coach,' Brady Hoke, is quite the
recruiter.
BS: Sounds like it. The team
has got to be pretty successful

then, right?
DB: Well, sort of. We won
the Sugar Bowl in 2011, but last
season we got to just seven wins.
Had one of the worst offensive
lines in college football even
though an NFL team will draft
two of the five starters in May.
Rushed for minus-48 yards
against Michigan State. Got beat
up by Kansas State in the Buffalo
Wild Wings Bowl. But, we've got
an exciting schedule the next
two years against non-rivalry
teams. Appalachian State. Utah.
Miami (Ohio). BYU. Oregon
State. UNLV. Playing against
new opponents is a great way
to build our brand, plus, we're
almost through with having to
play Notre Dame. Thank God.
Those games were always so
boring.
BS: But is the team going to be
any good? How'd they do in the
Spring Game?
DB: Bo, sorry, but it's the
Spring Game presented byPNC.
Sponsoring every event we run
helps build the brand. Anyway, it
went fine. Devin Gardner threw
an interception on the first play
of the day and couldn't place any
throws, the offensive line could
be even worse than last season's
and we didn't have enough
depth to play an actual game,
but besides that, I think people
were excited! Must be leftover
from the Big House soccer
announcement.
BS: What soccer
announcement? I didn't think
the Michigan soccer team could
draw that many people!
DB: Well, err, it's not exactly
related to Michigan. But it's
very exciting. Two of the most
famous clubs in the word, Real
Madrid and Manchester United,
will be playing a friendly in the
Big House in August. Trying
to set the record for most fans
to ever witness a soccer game.
After the success of the Winter

JAMES COffa
Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon shouldn't treat the University like it needs to sell itself out to make itself known on the national stage, writes Cook.

Classic, I think it'll go well.
Great for the brand.
BS: So in the span of nine
months, Michigan will be
hosting two events that
have nothing to do with the
University? What's next, Dave? A
WWE match? An NBA game? A
NASCAR race?
DB: Those are actually great
ideas! Let me write some of
those down. Can't ever have too
many opportunities to build the
brand.
BS: I mean, is the money at
least going toward something
worthwhile?
DB: Of course! Some of it's
going toward general student
scholarships, but we're also'
going to construct a new soccer
facility.
BS: The old stadium must be

pretty run down, then?
DB: Oh, yeah. I mean the
thing was built in 2010. How
am I supposed to build the
brand with all these decrepit old
facilities?
BS: So you're doing alot of
construction projects, then?
DB: Of course! Yost Ice Arena
and the Crisler Center just got
facelifts, and we're redoing
the entire South Campus.
We're getting rid of all the old
buildings and facilities, like
Ferry Field, and creating the
shiny new Stephen M. Ross
Athletic Campus. All of these
brand new buildings will really
show off the rich tradition and
history of Michigan.
BS: You're getting rid of
historic Ferry Field? Where
Jesse Owens set four world

records in 45 minutes? What
new facility is going there?
DB: Well, actually, a parking
lot. But that's beside the point.
BS: Dave, I don't know about
that. CanI give you some advice?
DB: Always, coach.
BS: You're focusing too much
on building up a brand that
already exists. The influence and
power of Michigan existed well
before you, and it will exist far
after you. You know what builds
brands? Winning. The basketball
team didn't build up its brand
with that fancy new Crisler
Center or with those highlighter
Adidas jerseys. It built up that
brand by making two Elite Eight
games in two seasons, without
excuses about age or anything
else. That team just won, plain
and simple, and that's why that

brand is so popular. The same
thing will happen with football,
or anything else. Start treating
Michigan like the historic place
it is, not like a second-rate
university that needs to make
a splash on the national scene.
This was Michigan well before
you got here, Dave. Don't lose
sight of that.
Brandon begins to respond, but
the Schembechler statue isfrozen
again. The athletic director stands
therefor afew seconds, scratching
his head, before getting into his
car and driving home. His dream
only ends when every last piece
ofpizzafrom the Domino's box in
Brandon's car is gone.
Cook can be reached at
evcook@umich.edu and on
Twitter @everettcook

NUSSMEIER
From Page 1B
defense swallowed the
attempt. The longest run on
the day may have been Green's
eight-yard burst through the
middle.

play-action throw down the field
to freshman Freddy Canteen.
In Doug Nussmeier's offense,
Gardner hands the ball off on
a quarterback read instead of
tucking and rolling with it. It's
about putting less on Gardner
and means a successful offense
happens when the ball isn't in

Smith was his hands.
stopped for a "That's the
one-yard gain " u plan. That's
on the first run you always have what coach
of the day and (, Nuss is always
racked up little to have a good talking about,"
after that. Gardner said.
"One thing r "Even when
we won't So that's one of we have read
tolerate is plays. I feel
them running our focuses." comfortable
on us in with it because
practice," it keeps me
Clark said. a little more
"They had the healthy
better edge here and there, but toward the end of the season."
for the most part, as a defense, Added redshirt sophomore
we did what we have to do to Ben Braden: "I think for any
contain them." offense, especially as a line,
In the Doug Nussmeier running is big. You always have
offense, a successful ground to have a good running game. So
game is a necessity, though. It's that's one of our focuses for this
counted on to make the 40-yard offseason is to just keep working

on technique for the run game."
Nussmeier comes from
Alabama, where last season,
the Crimson Tide were less
than 10 seconds from finishing
undefeated instead of 11-2.
Nussmeier runs an offense
filled with inside-zone runs and
utilizes an H back.
"I'm excited because I think
we're better," Hoke said. "From
the beginning of spring to the
end of spring ... they're starting
to grasp (the new offense)
pretty well.
"I think it will be fun to see
who emerges."
But in the Doug Nussmeier
offense, mistakes don't last
long and don't go unnoticed.
Good plays are unacceptable
until they're perfect, and no one
earns high praise.
So in the Doug Nussmeier
offense, big running backs won't
be swallowed up much longer.
As long as it's working.
He demands perfection,
because he's used to nothing else.
"He's insane," Gardner said
with a guilty laugh. "I think that
helps."

FIVE MONTHS f
From Page 1B
tenacity in the linebackers
and corners.
It took more than an hour
for stretching, punting drills
and positional warm-ups to
finally transition into an actual
scrimmage. And then? On the
first play, fifth-year senior
quarterback Devin Gardner
threw an interception. On the
next, a run was stuffed for no
gain. And on the last snap of
the opening drive, Gardner was
knocked to the ground while
throwing, yellow no-contact
jersey be damned.
Answers? We got a few.
Freshman Mason Cole did, in
fact, start at left tackle, and
he held his own against Frank
Clark. Freddy Canteen, the
freshman receiver who likes to
brag about his athleticism, made
a streaking 40-yard reception.
Devin Funchess has shed

the apocryphal label of tight
end, and the junior is still the
Wolverines' biggest downfield
threat as a wideout.
But Gardner made ill-
advised throws, like the ones
that plagued him last year.
The offensive line gave in to
the pressure so quickly that
the quarterbacks shrugged
their shoulders, helpless to the
assault. Canteen's catch, the
offensive highlight of the day,
was equal parts good offensive
execution and defensive
breakdown.
Afterward, Hoke sat in the
press room and explained it all
away.
"I thought we were just a
little inconsistent," he said.
Then show us that
consistency, coach. A fanbase is
waiting.
There are 147 days until the
mistakes matter.

Aug. 30, the Wolverines will
touch the banner and be greeted
by 'The Victors.' The captains
will meet at midfield, and then
the ball will be put on a tee and
booted across the field.
Then, 'Team 135' will etch
its chapter in the book that is
Michigan football.
In April, there are 147 days
left to fix the interceptions,
the dropped passes, the
missed assignments. Against
Appalachian State, Notre Dame
and the rest? That's when it
matters. Right now, there's
still time to turn a roster of
100-plus athletes into a Big Ten
Championship-caliber team.
That's why, even when they
don't know the names, the
children ask for autographs
from anyone walking off the
field in a Michigan uniform.
Right now, there's still hope.
Zdhiga can be reached
at azs@umich.edu and on
Twitter @the_zuniga

campus realty
MAKE YOUR PICK!
wi-

OFFENSE
From Page 1B
pass from Gardner, who was
looking for freshman receiver
Freddy Canteen on a fly route but
was intercepted by sophomore
Jourdan Lewis. It was Gardner's
first pass in front of fans since the
Ohio State game last November.
Before the scrimmage began,
though, all eyes were on the
offensive line and running back
drills. Freshman Mason Cole
practiced with the first team at
the starting left tackle position,
and redshirt junior Jack Miller
started at center, but both
could be bumped once redshirt
sophomore Erik Magnuson
and redshirt junior Graham
Glasgow return from injury
and suspension, respectively.
Cole did an admirable job
against Frank Clark, and only
a few members of the line gave
up would-be sacks - a vast
improvement from last season.
But even during preliminary
drills, the running backs
struggled to break through the
line. The only time they were
able to consistently generate
positive yardage was when the
defensive line was replaced with

a plastic strip.
And once the team began
scrimmaging an hour into
the event, the defensive line
consistently stuffed the backs.
The longest run of the afternoon
came from sophomore Derrick
Green, and it was for just eight
yards. The backs had the most
success when they ran to the
outside, avoiding work between
the tackles - illustrating once
again the line will need more
addressing this summer.
"Obviously we're missing
some pieces (on the line), but I
feel like they're playing well,"
Gardner said. "Coming into
the Spring Game, it's going to
be bland - you can't show too
much."
Entering the spring, Green
was the presumed starter,
but Saturday shed light on
sophomore De'Veon Smith as a
challenger for the spot. Redshirt
junior Justice Hayes is slotted to
be third, but all three had their
struggles breaking through.
Smith and Cole weren't the
only surprising starters for
the Wolverines on offense.
Nussmeier also had Canteen
starting out wide opposite junior
Devin Funchess, and the first-
year player has shown potential
early. The biggest crowd pleaser

of the day came on a 45-yard
play action catch and run from
Gardner to Canteen down the
left sideline.
When sophomorequarterback
Shane Morris took over the
second unit, he too looked for
Canteen out wide.
"He's earned his respect out
here (with) 14,15 practices now,"
Gardner said. "He's played well,
made plays and he's developed a
trust with all the quarterbacks.
We trust him and it's great he
came in as a big surprise."
With Funchess officially
deemed a wide receiver, junior
A.J. Williams is slotted as the
starting tight end, a position
where the Wolverines are very
thin after Jake Butt's ACL injury.
Recently converted tight end
Keith Heitzman also caught a
fewpasses. The formerdefensive
end played tight end in high
school, but predominately as a
blocker, so Nussmeier has been
trying outhis hands in practice.
With the Spring Game behind
it, Michigan sets its sights on
fall camp, where the rest of the
offense will be installed and the
entire freshman class will be
on campus. It's only then that
Nussmeier's offense can truly be
judged. But one thing is perfectly
clear: There is work to do.

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