A4 Football Camp
It's only June, but that isn't keeping Jim Harbaugh from tackling every new week with a great headline. This weekend, Harbaugh invited Michigan quarterbacks past and present, plus NFL quarterbacks and dads, to participate in the first ever Aerial Assault. And the results were pure Harbaugh.
Michigan brought baseball players out to the QB camp. Going to have the QB's field ground balls and throw to first pic.twitter.com/LyoG28cQ9C— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) June 20, 2015
Media was in attendance, and asked Jim Harbaugh about his approach to developing quarterbacks.
While reporters hung on Harbaugh's every word, it was former Michigan quarterback Elvis Grbac who explained it best.
"A bunch of us, all the guys were saying... we never did camps like this. We were playing all different sports. I was playing baseball in the summer, and then basketball, and then football. ... It's a little different now. I would like to see more kids playing multiple sports. I think it's just better for them to be athletes."
As the game has been changing - with more off-season football camps, film work and the rise of private quarterback coaches - Jim Harbaugh is a throwback.
The day started with warm-ups and Harbaugh talking to the campers, but it quickly got more involved.
Things are about to get going!! pic.twitter.com/XsrWiPUcTu— Jay Harbaugh (@JayHarbaugh) June 20, 2015
Recruiting was had:
Competition permeated the entire event:
And, fittingly on the weekend of Father's Day, parents were a focus.
Rick Kaepernick (and Jack Harbaugh) talking to parents of QB campers about being a QB parent pic.twitter.com/kt96vfzbWO— angelique (@chengelis) June 20, 2015
The coaches also treated everyone to lunch. By the end, it was Brandon Peters, a Michigan commit and the second quarterback recruit to commit to Jim Harbaugh, who 'won' the camp.
As much as this was a quarterback extravaganza, it was also a get-together of sorts for the Michigan family. Michigan quarterbacks from 30 of the past 43 seasons were in attendance, and assistants like Ty Wheatley and Tim Drevno participated, as well. So did current players.
And even though headliners Colin Kaepernick and Jameis Winston couldn't make it, the day was still a success. Jim Harbaugh is planning to add even more next year.
To be honest, I wouldn't even be surprised if they mirrored Jim's daughter, Addison, and tried tree-climbing to improve.
This Is Michigan... (Fergodsakes?)
Michigan had been coyly hinting at something for weeks on Twitter, and finally they unveiled a new, beautiful addition to MGoBlue.com: ThisIsMichigan.com. The site focuses on the athletic experience, and encourages us to "Go Blue like never before."
"Our student-athletes leave this place with the world at their fingertips and the confidence to face any challenge," the site says under the section, We Are Michigan, where current and former student-athletes talk about their experiences. Other parts of the site talk about their advanced performance science, strength and conditioning, and even the psychological dynamic to finding a player's peak performance. And, of course, they tout the academic side of Michigan.
Over the last several years, we've seen a new level of advertising to college athletics, particularly in football recruiting. More quietly, we've also seen a steady rise in the use of performance science and psychology, particularly thanks to former Michigan State coach Nick Saban and former Oregon coach Chip Kelly. And up to this point, Michigan has been behind the curve - a university with bright minds on the academic side, but highly publicized struggles on the athletic side.
However, Michigan has very quietly been growing its footprint outside of the traditional football/softball/hockey, and now Jim Hackett is trying to do what Dave Brandon failed at magnificently: modernize Michigan's brand. While the amount of waves actually created by this one website is arguable, the athletic department is trying to make a splash in one place, specifically: with a host of potential field hockey players, softball players, golfers, swimmers, track athletes, and other future Wolverines. By aiming its advertising at the student-athletes themselves, and their parents, Michigan is banking on creating a successful new generation of UM athletics.
Big Ten volleyball is in Europe this month, and they're taking on Hungary, Slovenia, and Croatia for off-season competition. It's the first time the Big Ten has done anything like this, although individual teams are allowed by the NCAA to do a foreign tour no more than once every four years. One player from each school is participating, and Michigan is represented by Adeja Lambert, a sophomore outside hitter.
"It's the experience of a lifetime," Rutgers head coach C.J. Werneke said about the tour. "To be able to travel to three different countries, playing with some of the elite athletes in our country and against some of the best athletes and teams in the world, is a tremendous opportunity."
In addition to the competitions themselves, the players will get to visit landmark cities, learn languages and culture and take part in community service initiatives. It will be taking place until the 25th.
Michigan's female and male athletes of the year were announced:
Meanwhile, Haylie Wagner may have just finished her last game in a Michigan uniform, but she's already playing pro ball:
Professional softball only has five teams, which makes for elite competition.
Finally, we'll close with this tweet, because it's freaking awesome:
Wherever you go, Go Blue! pic.twitter.com/4z2fCH47JL— Abby Cole (@abbybcole) June 18, 2015
Follow me on Twitter, and Go Blue.