“Our guys are ready to play.
“The team is cohesive.
“If we stay healthy we’ll have a good team.”
And therein lies the rub. Especially on the defensive side of the ball where the Cards are mighty thin. And not especially experienced, except at linebacker. Even if U of L avoids injuries, the defense could wear down as the season progresses.
To be successful, they’ll have to score a lot of points. Which, if Kragthorpe is half the offensive coordinator he and his AD Tom Jurich believe he is, the team will. Coach and three teammates all seem smitten with designated starting QB Justin Burke.
Scott Long: “He’s smart. He’s intelligent. That’s his best asset. Burke has been more vocal in practice since he was named starter.”
Greg Scruggs: “Burke is extremely intelligent, extremely confident. I like his poise. I trust him. He’s quiet, humble.”
Long: “Our team can’t overlook anyone.”
Well, that’s the adage and it’s been proven true over and over again. But . . . . . . . . Indiana State is awful. The Sycamores were 1-50 coming into the season. They played last week. And lost again. In overtime. To Quincy. Which is an NAIA school.
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I had an extensive chat with Louisville’s TV color announcer, and former Michigan Wolverine pigskinner, Doug James about the brewing controversy in Ann Arbor. Seems that some current and former players sang to the Detroit Free Press about having to practice too much, and way in excess of NCAA limits.
James said the allegations, whether true or not, don’t bode well for team unity and cohesion. James mentioned that Rodriguez, for whatever reasons dismantled some long Michigan football traditions upon his arrival. Such as naming game captains, which flies in the face of a long held tradition which has the team choosing captains annually. James also indicated there is some discontent among certain alumni over the performance of Wolverine AD Bill Martin, much of which stems from the Rodriguez hire. He also feels that Les Miles, currently LSU coach, wants to coach at Michigan.
Another big Michigan alum in town is a man never shy of voicing his opinion — I like that in a guy or gal — Bill Stone. On Media Day, he told me unequivocally that Rich Rodriguez would be gone after this, his second season.
When it comes to matters of Wolverines, if James speaks, I listen. As for Stone . . . well, there’s always a grain of salt handy.
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After Media Day at U of L, I advised that it was my belief that certain diehard U of L fans who have long had access to football practices even when “closed” were losing that privilege. That was confirmed by a couple sources I’ve spoken to recently. Some super fans have indeed been banned from closed practice sessions.
While it is perhaps somewhat understandable, given how much criticism has been leveled at the football program because of its decline during the Kragthorpe era, these are folks who are not inclined to go babbling on message boards. It is obvious that the inner U of L football family is closing ranks and circling the wagons.
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A more in depth look at the Cardinals including my season predictions for the team is coming up in this week’s print edition of LEO. It will also be available online Wednesday.
– Seedy K