Michigan preseason camp: What we learned in the fourth week

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The Michigan football team completed its fourth week of preseason camp, and while practices remain closed, we’ll fill you in on what we’ve learned this week.

This rundown this week includes some of the things Florida coach Jim McElwain has said as the Gators prepare to face the Wolverines in the season opener for both teams, assistant coach Mike Zordich’s charge to the secondary, and Aaron Bills’ bird’s-eye view as he pursues the perfect rendering for the Wolverines.

Jim McElwain has no chill

Jim McElwain, Florida’s third-year football coach, boasted earlier this week at a pep rally in Gainesville, Fla., that the Gators would “beat the heck out of Michigan.” Florida faces Michigan at 3:30 p.m. ET Sept. 2 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Then, McElwain made a remark Wednesday about Michigan’s resistance in releasing a roster or a depth chart for its 2017 football team.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh hasn’t addressed any of McElwain’s comments; he hasn’t spoken with the media since Aug. 11, and hasn’t posted much on Twitter since then — save for an update on when Michigan will release its roster (Wednesday, if you’re marking your calendar in anticipation).

However, Michigan’s players have heard the chatter coming from Florida.

“We’ve got a lot of people we know and we grew up with [at Florida],” Michigan sophomore safety Josh Metellus said. “They’ve just been talking a lot and we’re just going to show them what we’re about.”

Mike Zordich voices his concerns

Days away from Michigan’s season opener against Florida, Michigan’s third-year cornerbacks coach, Mike Zordich, needs his players to pick up the pace.

Asked Monday how the cornerbacks are progressing, Zordich was quick with a response: “Not fast enough.”

It’s probably the most candor we’ve seen from any of Michigan’s coaches in the preseason. More from Zordich:

“I mean, we got a game to play in, what, twelve days?” Zordich said. “They’re working hard, they just gotta work hard more consistently and do the right things more consistently.”

Michigan lost cornerbacks Jourdan Lewis, Channing Stribling and Jeremy Clark to graduation and to the NFL. Sophomores Lavert Hill and David Long started at cornerback in Michigan’s spring game in April, and junior Tyree Kinnel and Metellus started at safety.

Adjusting on the fly

Metellus is cognizant of how young Michigan’s secondary is. Metellus is one of those youngsters. He’s a sophomore, even though he took on a senior-sized role in the Orange Bowl in December when he played the viper position, in place of injured linebacker Jabrill Peppers.

“It was a position I wasn’t very comfortable with at the time, so being able to play and actually do better than I thought I was going to do, it just gave me confidence that I could play on the college level at a faster speed,” Metellus said of playing viper in the Orange Bowl.

Grant Newsome sets a goal

Grant Newsome is preparing for his comeback on Michigan’s offensive line. More than 10 months after Newsome sustained a knee injury that nearly required doctors to amputate his right leg, Harbaugh posted a video to his Twitter account on Tuesday, with footage of Newsome’s physical rehabilitation.

Newsome was injured in Michigan’s 14-7 win on Oct. 1, 2016, when, playing at left tackle, he was hit in the knees by Wisconsin’s Derrick Tindal while pulling for former Michigan running back De’Veon Smith. Newsome said in April that he was “minutes” from losing the leg. He underwent six surgeries during a hospital stay of approximately 40 days.

Newsome will sit out the 2017 season, but in a subsequent tweet earlier this week, set a goal to return to playing football at Michigan.

Aaron Bills finds the skybox

Aaron Bills, Michigan’s director of football creative, clearly is not afraid of heights.

During a football practice last Sunday evening at Michigan Stadium, Bills climbed to the top of one of Michigan Stadium’s 47-foot tall scoreboards to get images that presumably will be used in future Michigan football graphics.

It reminds us of another post we saw last year: Harbaugh channeling Drake. (However, that was a product of Photoshop.)

RELATED:  Michigan preseason camp: What we learned in the first week | Second week | Third week

The post Michigan preseason camp: What we learned in the fourth week appeared first on Land of 10.

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