Michigan preseason camp: What we learned in the second week


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

This rundown this week includes Jim Harbaugh’s first — and likely only — meeting with the media during Michigan’s preseason camp, how running back Chris Evans communicates with Michigan’s quarterbacks, and a rival getting a sneak peek of Michigan’s preseason drills.

Face time with Jim Harbaugh

Harbaugh made the media rounds Friday, first going on the air with the Big Ten Network and then meeting with media members who cover the Wolverines.

Harbaugh said he and his staff will start crafting its two-deep roster, but he won’t give away much about it. And while he gushed about Michigan’s freshmen, he remained guarded as to their chances to see playing time this season.

“I think we’ll know that more after this weekend,” the third-year Michigan coach said. “We’ll start giving it some thought and we’ll see exactly. I guess [freshman receivers] Oliver [Martin] and [Donovan Peoples-Jones] and Tarik [Black] are going to be out there. Probably Nico [Collins] too at some point. [Fullback] Ben Mason, very much. Then those defensive linemen; the defensive linemen are going to be in the mix for sure.

“[Defensive back] Ambry Thomas is a guy I didn’t mention earlier when I was talking about the rest of the freshmen, but he’s been sensational. I love him. Not too many guys on the team I get along better with than Ambry Thomas. He’s mature beyond his years and I love that about him. No softness whatsoever. Out there every single day, and his parents should be very proud of him. He’s a real ball player.

“There’s others. And [linebacker] Drew Singleton, he’ll have a chance.”

Chris Evans to QBs: You’re the best

Michigan running back Chris Evans has a message for quarterbacks Wilton Speight and John O’Korn:

“I always tell them both, separately, ‘hey you’re the best quarterback in the country,’ ” Evans said Friday. “Just go with that every day. I text them and I tell them that, you know what I’m saying? Just that they can feel, I’ve got someone in the backfield with me that believes in them. ‘If nobody believes in you, I believe in you.’ That’s what I tell them.”

Harbaugh said Friday that Speight and O’Korn have “stepped up” in the competition for the starting quarterback job. Many projected redshirt freshman Brandon Peters to challenge Speight for the starting job after a strong showing in the spring game in April.

“They’ve created a little bit of separation,” Harbaugh said of Speight and O’Korn. “They’re battling now. It’s one with the 1s, and the next day the other is with the 1s, and with the 2s. But we’re keeping a very close eye on it.”

Bryan Mone finds more family ties

Michigan defensive tackle Bryan Mone got some news from Cincinnati Bengals camp. His former teammate, Graham Glasgow, is rooming with Mone’s cousin, Josh Tuopu, a defensive tackle and an undrafted free agent who signed with the Bengals after playing collegiately at the University of Colorado.

Mone, whose family is from Tonga, also has a cousin in Wolverines camp, freshman defensive tackle Phillip Paea. Paea, from Berrien Springs, Mich., is of Tongan descent. He met Mone during his recruiting visit and compared notes, and Mone asked his mother if she knew Paea’s family. Paea said earlier this year that Mone’s mother grew up with his father in the island in the South Pacific.

“He’s just like a little brother,” Mone said of Paea. “Not just him, but the rest of the D-line. Took them under my wing. It’s important, because you want the best for them.”

Compliments abound within the trenches

You can feel the love among Michigan’s linemen.

Bryan Mone called defensive end Rashan Gary “a beast.” Then, he described Michigan’s offensive line.

“This O-Line is more beefy than last year,” Mone said. “More bigger.”

Patrick Kugler hasn’t seen much change in Michigan’s defensive line, other than the personnel

“I don’t think they’ve skipped a beat since last year,” said Kugler, a fifth-year offensive lineman. “They lost a lot of athletic guys to the NFL, but everyone who’s there has stepped up. You’ve got Rashan [Gary], who’s a freak, and Chase [Winovich], and there’s a lot of freshmen who are going to play, too.

Gary gave high praise to freshman defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon earlier in the week.

“He’s a young, humble guy,” Gary said. “That’s my roommate, actually, at camp. We’re in the playbook every night. When he [doesn’t] know a play, he wakes me up and I’m like, ‘What’s up?’ He’s up studying. That’s a young, hungry guy with the same mentality I had coming in.”

‘I always feel like somebody’s watching me …’

Or at least someone from Ohio State is watching you.

Michigan’s players, staff and coaches are very active on social media platforms. Matt Dudek, Michigan’s director of recruiting, posted about two minutes worth of footage of preseason drills on Periscope.

More than 24,000 people tuned in — including Mark Pantoni, Ohio State’s director of recruiting.

Pantoni responded in kind.

No word as to whether or not Dudek will continue to live-stream snippets from preseason camp. As of Saturday afternoon, his Periscope account remained dormant.

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

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