We’re less than a week from the start of fall camp so we’re bringing back the weekly roundtable, when Tom, Mike and Chantel debate three issues surrounding Michigan athletics. This week they talk fall camp, the 2014 recruiting class and Michigan athletes in the Olympics.
1.) Fall camp starts Monday, which means we'll get to hear from Brady Hoke Monday night. What do you think will be the main thing he stresses about the first day of the season?
Michael Rothstein: Simple. How they aren't there yet and aren't close. It was pretty much his mantra -- and Greg Mattison's mantra -- throughout most of last season. I don't expect that to change. There's not much you can really glean out of the first day of camp, at least not until there are pads put on midweek and coaches really have a chance to evaluate. But it doesn't mean those questions won't be asked. But the answer: "They have a long way to go." Whether they actually do or not.
Tom Van Haaren: Fundamentals. There are some new faces along the defensive line and they'll make sure those guys know the fundamentals of their job. That's what they'll always focus on, and really with a lot of the incoming freshmen having the opportunity to compete early, they'll need to stress fundamentals and prepare them as well.
I've been told that offensive lineman Kyle Kalis is physically ready to go, so if someone like him can grasp the offense and grasp the concepts then he could be seeing some playing time.
Chantel Jennings: I imagine we’ll hear the word "tremendous" at least 14 times, but it’ll probably be attached to words like effort, enthusiasm and heart. Like Mike, I don’t think he’ll be handing out praise to anyone’s game this early, but I do believe we’ll hear a lot about the tremendous attitude and tremendous effort of Team 133.
2.) Michigan's 2013 class is almost finished up, so looking forward to the 2014 class, what needs to be addressed most in that recruiting class?
TV: I looked at some numbers the other day along the offensive line and there are only five offensive line commits from the 2009 to 2011 classes still on the roster. Four of those five are still playing on the offensive line, which means depth is minimal.
I think offensive line again will be a focus just to help add on to the foundation from the 2012 and 2013 classes. Outside of that position group I believe that this staff will always look for top-tier defensive backs and defensive linemen as well.
CJ: I would think they’d look to land a few big names on the D-line. In the 2013 class, the Wolverines have only one defensive lineman (Taco Charlton) in the ESPN150, and he’s at No. 119. All five of the Michigan’s offensive line commits in the 2013 class are in the ESPN150.
The Wolverines had offers out to quite a few 2013 D-linemen in the ESPN150 this year -- Eddie Vanderdoes, Joey Bosa, Jonathan Allen and Tashawn Bower (just to name a few). Hoke has made it clear he wants to play in the trenches so he needs to keep recruiting big names there. The 2013 D-line class is good, but I think they’ll try to take a step up for next season.
MR: If Michigan doesn't land Derrick Green, it should really go hard after an elite running back for 2014. Thomas Rawls will still be on the roster then and so will both Justice Hayes and Drake Johnson, but for the Wolverines to run the power offense they crave with a heavy dose of running backs, they need a complete back and just don't have him yet. Or if Rawls becomes that, they don't have enough of them.
3.) Which Michigan athlete have you been keeping tabs on during the Summer Olympics?
CJ: I’m looking forward to watching Tiffany Porter race in the 100-meter hurdles for the UK. In high school I raced the 100-meter hurdles against Porter (then, Ofili) during my freshman and sophomore years. “Raced” being a generous term, considering she had won, cooled down, warmed up for her next race and prepared a five-course meal by the time most of us were out of the blocks.
MR: Michigan athlete? All of them for work purposes, although I'm curious how Nick Willis does in the 1,500 meters next week. He was the silver medalist in Beijing, the flag bearer for his country (New Zealand) in the opening ceremonies and seems to have a good shot to do that again. He doesn't get the attention many of the other Michigan competitors (Michael Phelps, Tyler Clary, Sam Mikulak) do because he doesn't compete for the United States, but he has a good chance to add to the Wolverines' medal count in London.
TV: Does Michael Phelps still count? I like seeing records broken and new achievements made, so he would be at the top of my list for this purpose. Other than that, I watched Mikulak in the prelims.