Michigan Wolverines: Mike Kwiatkowski

Exit Interview: TE Mike Kwiatkowski 

February, 21, 2013
"Exit Interview" is a concept started at WolverineNation last year where we chat with players leaving Michigan about their experiences with the Wolverines and, in some cases, what's next.

Mike Kwiatkowski began his Michigan career like almost every other student. In the stands. As a spectator. But he eventually found his way on the team and for his final year, into the starting lineup for six games this season. He made four catches for 37 yards in his career.

WolverineNation caught up with Kwiatkowski as he prepares for a future in pharmacy.

Exit Interview: LS Curt Graman 

February, 15, 2013
‘Exit Interview’ is a concept started at WolverineNation last year where we chat with players leaving Michigan about their experiences with the Wolverines and in some cases, what’s next.

Curt Graman didn't play much in his career and other than a brief stint at tight end, a position he played in high school, his specialty was as a long snapper.

WolverineNation caught up with Graman last month.

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Depth chart analysis: Tight end 

January, 10, 2013
Over the next few weeks, WolverineNation will look at every position on the Michigan roster and give a depth chart analysis heading into the offseason.

If any position sees an uptick in production next season, it will be Michigan’s tight ends. While the group saw more time this season than any of the prior four, as the Wolverines transition into a full-on pro style offense, they will be relied upon every play to do something, be it block or run routes.

It is a group, though, which still needs more bodies as well as more experience to be what Michigan will truly be looking for at the position as things continue to evolve.

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- He pulled the seven of them in front of the rest of their teammates in the Michigan team room Tuesday afternoon and for a second, cornerback J.T. Floyd wondered what was going on.

The seven guys up there, though, were about to get a nice gift for their parents. Free education for at least a semester if not the full year. While it likely wasn’t the excitement of Oprah Winfrey giving away cars to everyone in her audience of her television show, there was enough excitement there to produce cheers, yells and high-fives all around.

Defensive lineman Nathan Brink, offensive lineman Joey Burzynski, long snapper Jareth Glanda, fullback Paul Gyarmati, tight end Mike Kwiatkowski, wide receiver Joe Reynolds and quarterback Steve Wilson all found out they were no longer just walk-ons for Michigan’s football team.

“That was fun. I announced it front of the rest of the team and there were hugs and kisses,” Hoke said. “Not kisses. Excitement and all that kind of stuff.”

The walk-ons were unaware of what was going on at first, at least according to Floyd, who asked one of them after it happened.

Some of them, though, might end up playing large roles with Michigan this season. Burzynski lost a competition with fifth-year senior Elliott Mealer at left guard. Kwiatkowski pushed starting tight end Brandon Moore. Both Brink and Glanda are highly likely to see time this season.

So they all have roles to fill.

“The meeting room went absolutely crazy,” Floyd said. “Guys were jumping up and down. Those guys are an instrumental part of our team and they help us out in every facet of the game, with special teams, offense, defense, scout team.

“Those guys are great guys and guys we love to compete with.”

No longer suspended, status still unknown
Hoke said the status of running back Fitzgerald Toussaint and defensive end Frank Clark is still not announced, but he anticipates a decision before Saturday’s kickoff.

He did offer some clarity, though, to how the two are currently being viewed. He initially suspended them after their legal issues, but now it is more of a wait-and-see type of thing since Toussaint and Clark have been practicing.

“They would be practicing, maybe not playing,” Hoke said. “They’ve been practicing. Usually if you’ve been suspended, I don’t let you practice.”

Hoke wouldn’t commit to whether Clark or Toussaint will travel to Texas this weekend.

This and that
If Toussaint does not play, Michigan could look at a running back by committee with sophomore Thomas Rawls, senior Vincent Smith and redshirt freshman Justice Hayes. ... Freshman defensive lineman Chris Wormley had successful ACL surgery Monday, according to Hoke.
Fifth-year senior safety Jordan Kovacs has been praised during fall camp for his consistency during his time at Michigan, through his play and his demeanor. And defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, who has singled out very few players during fall camp, was quick to point to Kovacs as the most consistent player the Wolverines have had so far this season on defense.

"That young man has had a tremendous camp," Mattison said. "You talk about consistency -- if you graded every play, I'd like to see that grade, because he's really working hard and he has been the most consistent."

Mattison said several other players have had consistent practices, but no single player has strung together consistently solid practices the way Kovacs has.

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan coach Brady Hoke said on Thursday that suspended players Fitzgerald Toussaint and Frank Clark "still are not practicing with the team."

Hoke had said on Monday that there was no set timetable for either player's return.

He further said Thursday that they have not been at Michigan’s physical practice. When it comes to whether either was actually inside Schembechler Hall, Hoke wouldn’t give an answer.

(Read full post)

The Inside The Game Ohio State-Michigan positional previews with BuckeyeNation’s Austin Ward and WolverineNation’s Michael Rothstein continue today with a look at perhaps the biggest question marks on the offense for both schools.

The wide receivers and tight ends.

Ohio State
Ward: Urban Meyer didn’t sugarcoat his assessments in the spring, and those words have surely been ringing in the ears of the targets in the passing game all summer.

Maybe the new Ohio State coach was simply trying to send a message to the receivers about how important they are in the spread offense. Perhaps Meyer is truly concerned about the talent he’s inherited at those skill positions -- or maybe it’s a combination of the two.

Regardless, after posting some of the worst receiving numbers in the country last season, the Buckeyes are counting on more from the passing game and the group already on campus is going to be responsible for the improvement.

Devin Smith and Evan Spencer both have the ability to produce on the perimeter, and Corey “Philly” Brown has emerged as a viable candidate in the hybrid pivot position thanks to his speed and elusiveness. All of them earned a starting spot coming out of spring practice, but the player that perhaps excited the most for the Buckeyes during camp was Michael Thomas. The true freshman pulled down 12 catches in the spring game -- only two fewer than the highest total anybody posted for the entire 2011 season.

But the guy who might really help the offense and quarterback Braxton Miller take off is tight end Jake Stoneburner, an invaluable security blanket with a knack for turning his catches into points. Of the senior’s 14 catches last season, half of them went for touchdowns.

Rothstein: The biggest question for Michigan this season, offensively or defensively, is who is going to catch the ball consistently for the Wolverines. The coaches have preached having confidence in fifth-year senior Roy Roundtree and junior Jeremy Gallon, but neither has the size the graduated Junior Hemingway did.

Both have had productive seasons in the past -- Roundtree caught 72 passes for 935 yards as a sophomore in 2011 and Gallon had 31 catches for 453 yards last season -- but neither has shown great consistency.

Otherwise, Michigan is staring at a bunch of unknowns. Receivers Drew Dileo, Jerald Robinson and Jeremy Jackson have shown promise, but hardly ever in game situations. Incoming freshmen Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson both have the size and speed potential offensive coordinator Al Borges desires, but no experience.

Tight end, where Kevin Koger was a reliable option the past three seasons, is an even bigger question. The tight ends on the roster combine for two career catches, 28 yards and even less experience.

Fifth-year senior Brandon Moore -- once a highly-touted recruit -- is the likely starter here but otherwise the Wolverines are looking at two freshmen, Devin Funchess and A.J. Williams, and a fifth-year senior walk-on, Mike Kwiatkowski, to fill the role.

As good as Michigan’s run game may be, its receivers and tight ends could stall the offense unless they are able to identify consistent producers.
No position on the Michigan roster has more questions and needs more help entering next season than tight end.

Kevin Koger? Gone. Steve Watson? Gone.

And considering offensive coordinator Al Borges plans on incorporating the tight end into the offense more and more as the seasons progress, this becomes an important position. Never mind Koger was a safety net for quarterback Denard Robinson.

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Harbaugh: Split With 49ers Not Mutual
ESPN NFL nation reporter Nick Wagoner discusses Jim Harbaugh's comments on "The TK Show," saying that the split between Harbaugh and San Francisco wasn't mutual.