On Thursday and Friday of this past week, I hit the road to Detroit to check out the Sound Mind Sound Body camp at Chander Park Academy in Detroit, and it met or exceeded most of my expectations.
Big-name coaches? Check.
Big-name prospects? Check.
Cool--for lack of a better term--environment? Check.
If you made the trek Thursday, you would have caught Cass Tech's Mike Weber lending a hand to a team of BBQers in the camp "village." And if you were really lucky, you could have won some beads or stickers by spinning 105.1's prize wheel.
But the obvious benefit of the camp was having the opportunity to catch up with Brady Hoke, Greg Mattison and Fred Jackson, along with Mark Dantonio and Les Miles. And because today is my first day flying solo with my daughter--mommy went back to work today--I'm going to basically offer an outline and paraphrase conversations.
But there's good news! Over the weekend, the conversations were uploaded to SoundCloud. I'll link to those clips so that you can hear the exchanges for yourself, rather than just read quotes.
In no particular order, the following are the five strongest impressions that I took away from SMSB.
Brady Hoke's speech on Friday: Sure, he encouraged kids to play hard and commit themselves to football, but Hoke also stressed one important fact: The game doesn't last forever--so get an education and strive to become a productive man. Due to the noise in the auditorium, I didn't post that audio. Take my word for it, Hoke delivered a spirited message that the recruits should have taken to heart.
From what I could tell, just about every member of the Wolverines' coaching staff attended SMSB. I didn't see Doug Nussmeier, but Darrell Funk and Curt Mallory, among many others, were in full force on Friday. SMSB isn't a "recruiting" camp, it's meant to serve as a workshop on, well, the things Hoke talked about during his speech. However, it doesn't hurt to have a lot of maize and blue shirts in the crowd. Helps jog the memory of guys who remain on the fence, I suppose.
Greg Mattison's energy doesn't stop. It was mid-June and the guy sounded like he was about to field an incredible defense that coming weekend. If players can't get up for that attitude, they have no pulse. Mattison made me want to tackle someone. But instead of doing that, we talked about guys who can actually do that: Matt Godin received major props; Ben Gedeon got a shout-out; Henry Poggi, among several others, was also mentioned. Mattison said that he notices "the old Michigan" attitude during activities. Already stout, Michigan's defense is anything but short on talent and depth. Expect it to ramp up efforts this fall.
According to running backs coach Fred Jackson, the backfield could be the backfield that most expect to see in 2014. I asked him if Nussmeier's presence would influence the way that he coached. In short, the answer was no. It won't change much, but it'll definitely enhance the situation for everyone involved. Derrick Green and De'Veon Smith have made strides (Hoke said the same thing) and the possibility of Ty Isaac playing this fall are slim. A decision, according to Jackson, could be reached as soon as August.
Mike Weber didn't divulge much, but he said that he feels that Michigan's offense--particularly Nussmeier's system--would be a good fit for him. Wisconsin, Michigan State, Ohio State and Tennessee are high on his list, but he still strongly considers the Wolverines. He also said that the addition of Isaac "was unexpected," but that it doesn't change his view of Michigan, adding that he'd have to compete wherever he goes and the he's prepared to do just that.
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