November 17, 2012; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines safety Jarrod Wilson (22) before the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan Football: Tidbits From MaizeMan -- Bowl Practices

Posted at 4:00pm — 12/30/2012

Michigan Football: Tidbits From MaizeMan — Bowl Practices

1) Its getting near the end of the season for players. Just a reminder that football is a long, long season. It is a grind and especially so for those first year players and especially those red-shirts who spent the entire year on scout team and then actually was involved in extra weight training. These kids also have just gone through their first semester of college academics, and for some, the most critical transition is how they handle the social aspects of college life.

2) For those freshman, bowl practices are somewhat of a relief and change of pace, because early on in those bowl practices they get to feel like they are running Michigan offense and defense. They are involved more in actual scrimmages, coaches spend some individual time with them and they get a renewed sort of feeling they are beginning to compete for a job next year.

3) Now some may say kids should compete year round, but they do not really understand what the structure of practices are during “game week”. Coaches are focused solely on the upcoming opponent and red-shirts are assigned the task of getting the players who are going to play in the game ready for that game.

4) This “adjustment” for incoming players is tough at times, not so much physically, although the adjustment in terms of pure time spent is magnified in college, but more so the mental grind of going from being a star in High School to a “scout” team player in college.

5) In addition, this mental struggle is amplified when these players see some true freshman already making an impact and some wonder “why them?” and not me.

I bring this up because many posters feel like these kids operate in a perfect world that every kid should or do have the same intensity at every practice. That every kids development should be based on either his “star rating” or his ability.

I have been around long enough to know that this “transition” between kids freshman and sophomore years or from their red-shirt freshman to freshman year, in a very high percentage, will determine a kids future at Michigan.

Rarely, (it does happen), but more times not, do I see a player change his approach and attitude as he gets older. What I do see in most cases is a kid who seems very grounded, has a good approach, does not let the social aspect of college interfere with his development, this I see very early in his tenure.

November 17, 2012; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines running back Vincent Smith (2) receives congratulations from offensive linesman Elliott Mealer (57) after scoring a touchdown against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the second quarter at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Now, that does not mean a kid will not contribute or get playing time when he is a Junior or Senior, but in those cases, it is usually those rare occasions, or it is simply that Michigan has not recruited well enough to fill the pipelines and therefore a kid will play, who would not play in normal years.

This is the world Michigan has lived in for the past 5-7 years. We have had players who are currently playing who we have watched in the past years who would be put in this group. The good news is Michigan has been able to recruit well enough that those position groups now have enough quality competition that if a kid decides to allow outside influences or he simply does not have the proper mental approach, he will not see the field.

One of the reasons Coach Mattison is such a quality coach is he can spot this tendencies in kids almost immediately and the way he demands perfection in practices almost puts the kids in a place where if they do not want to “get after it” daily, it will show up quickly.

This is one of the big reasons, COACHING MATTERS. Not the X’s and O’s type stuff, but the ability to simple “coach” day in and day out.

Oct 8, 2011; Bronx, NY, USA; St. Edward offensive lineman Kyle Kalis before a game against Don Bosco Prep at Jack Coffey Field at Fordham University. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Fast Forward:
I have seen in recent weeks, even the best freshman (red-shirts) those kids we all have high expectations, hit the freshman wall. For those who believe especially on the offensive line and defensive line these kids should of played, I have seen enough to say they would not have been any better.

All of the reports I have given of this class (IMO) is accurate. Now we wait till spring to see which of these kids show the correct approach vs. those who allow some influences to set in. Going to be an interesting off-season, but I will make this prediction the stuff we see in spring (like every year) will be the same stuff we see in fall.

Come to the message board and give us your thoughts, agree or disagree.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — MaizeMan

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