Every Thursday, Tom, Mike and Chantel will discuss three issues in and around Michigan sports. This week, they tackle Michigan's fall camp, players turned coaches and the Olympics.
1. Michigan has started fall camp, what were you most surprised to hear coming out of the first few days of camp?
Michael Rothstein: Nothing, per se, surprised me -- well, save for Will Campbell's unintentional and completely harmless slip of the tongue during his interview Monday -- but I thought it was interesting when Brady Hoke said Jake Ryan would be in the mix to back up Brennen Beyer for however long Frank Clark is not with the team due to suspension. Ryan is one of Michigan's most promising defenders and is slated to be a starting linebacker, so it tells me they have a lot of faith in either his direct backup, Cam Gordon, or one of the freshmen to hold down that position if Ryan needed to drop down to rush end.
Chantel Jennings: I was surprised to hear that Amara Darboh amazed people, not because I didn’t think he could, but more because players don’t normally point to freshmen as players who stood out (even if they did). Michigan definitely tries to keep the attention off those youngsters. But both Roy Roundtree and Denard Robinson said they were impressed with some of the catches Darboh made. Mind you, this is a kid who's coming off a pretty intense shoulder surgery this winter, so not only is he recovered, he’s doing very, very well.
Tom Van Haaren: Nothing really surprised me too much, especially since Hoke is good at not giving anything away. There won't be too many surprises after a first practice since it's the first practice.
2. Football players often become coaches. On the current Michigan roster, who could you see leading a team from the sidelines?
CJ: I think by default, a lot of these guys, because of their future status as "former Michigan football player," will coach their son's or nephew's or neighborhood's football team. But as far as a player who could coach high school, college or pro, my money would be on Jordan Kovacs. He has that steady personality and ability to talk to large groups of people that I think would really allow him to excel as a coach.
TV: I know he's young, but I think freshman linebacker Joe Bolden will be a coach some day. He has the pedigree, since his dad is now an athletic director and his uncle was his coach. He also has the football IQ and smarts. From getting to know him and talking with him about what he knows about football he is far ahead of kids his age. I think he has a good career in football ahead of him, but once that's done he would make a fine coach.
MR: It's funny, because at the end of Stuart Douglass and Zack Novak's careers with Michigan basketball, a lot of people asked both of them about futures in coaching. Both essentially replied it takes a certain type of personality to do that. Also, frankly, a certain amount of dedication to football above all else in life. Coaches sacrifice a lot of time with family, friends, sleep and sunlight to do what they do. With that as a preface and looking more at college/NFL coaching than high school coaching, which has less time commitments, I could see Kovacs becoming a coach down the road. He'd be the definitive first option. A wildcard, to me, would be J.T. Floyd. I'm not entirely sure why, but I think he would have the mentality and confidence for it.
3. The Olympics are still going on, and regardless of your own personal athletic skill, which event do you think would be the most fun to participate in?
TV: Handball. I would play it right now if I had a court. It looks awesome and terrible all at the same time. I'm still trying to figure out why the athletes fall over when they throw penalty shots after giving two pump fakes.
MR: I'm going to pick two, one for summer and one for the far superior Games -- the Winter Olympics. Actually, I'm going to pick three. I've thought a lot about this. In the Summer Games, I'd like to play handball. I think it is an awesome game and not only fun to watch, but it also is something I was fairly good at when I played in summer camp as a kid. In those superior Winter Games, I'd go with curling -- I tried it two years ago -- and luge. When I was a kid, I really wanted to be a luger. Seriously. However, growing up where I did, it just wasn't going to happen for me. But I can sit and watch luge for hours on end.
CJ: I think gymnastics would be really funny. They have amazing control of their bodies and as Gabby Douglas said, they're "like superheroes. [They] do tricks that no one can do." Who wouldn’t want to be a superhero? Outside of that, I'd want to be on the U.S. women's soccer team just because -- let’s face it -- who doesn't want to be on that team? They're awesome.