“Hello. Good to see everybody.”
Jim, couple misses today but the new guys that you did get, what do you think about the class?
“Very excited about the class. First time we’ve had two Signing days, so many that you know about and proud to announce, officially, Shea Patterson—talked about him; Ronnie Bell, can officially announce Ronnie; Casey Hughes, who’s also a graduate transfer; Vince Gray; Michael Barrett. So, welcome to the Michigan family.”
You started talking about Ronnie the last time inadvertently, but what is it that you like about Ronnie?
“Love all his athletic Ability. Start off with production: 86 catches, close to 1200 yards, Simone Player of the Year in Kansas City, player of the year in football. He’s also an excellent basketball player and…love the family, love him. Production. Production being the key thing.”
MGoQuestion: What are you getting in Michael Barrett and do you envision him starting off at quarterback or running back or somewhere else?
“Envision him getting the ball in his hands. Wide receiver, slot receiver, running back: those two areas primarily for him. Spent some time with Anquan Boldin, who was also a high school quarterback. Played some quarterback in college, and eventually wide receiver. Somebody that can get the ball and make yards after the catch or yards after contact. A receiver who can run like a running back and, also, I think he’ll have the ability to be a running back. So, different areas that Michael could get the football, including quarterback.”
Now that it’s all over and you’ve had the two signing days, you’ve had the coaches moving in between, with all of it together, what did you learn about this…new world, I suppose? What did you take away from it overall?
“I don’t know what the numbers exactly will be but somewhere around 80% seemed to sign on the first signing day, and then there was 20% more that signed throughout college football. I think our numbers will be pretty close to that. There was a priority for the youngsters to sign on the first signing day. That’s the biggest thing, the biggest takeaway.”
[After THE JUMP: possible positions for Ryan Hayes and Casey Hughes, another spring abroad, and thoughts on new staff additions (including those no longer here)]
Did you like it? Are you guys still learning?
“No, I mean…understand it and feel good about it. A lot of the families felt really good about it. Those that didn’t had the ability to wait and make their decision or take more visits until they ultimately decided on the second signing day, so yeah, felt like [we] understand it and understand the motivations for it.”
With that, with the new signing periods, how did you January help you make inroads on future classes, particularly the 2019 recruiting class?
“Yeah, it was—how did it make us? It gave us the opportunity to do more recruiting for 2019s and 2020s and 2021s.”
Not one of the new recruits but I saw Ryan Hayes listed as a tight end. Is that where you see him starting out? I know there was some thought that maybe he would be a tackle.
“Yeah, I think he’s got the ability to. We’ll see where Mother Nature goes in his physical development. There’s a possibility of playing tackle and also tight end.”
Can you talk about having this signing day press conference here [Ed. A- Schembechler Hall] as opposed to the Michigan Theater or Crisler? Just maybe dialing it down a little bit or maybe times have changed or—any thoughts on that?
“Uh, no. Just what trans—where we decided to do.”
You mentioned Shea earlier. Do you guys have any update or timeline or anything on when you’ll know or expect to hear on whether he’ll play this year? Do you guys have a calendar?
So no anticipation—
“I don’t have any update on the calendar.”
Back to the 2019 guys, one of the new things with the calendar is that they can start taking official visits this spring. How have you guys approached that? Do you plan o having a lot of guys in or how will you approach that?
“Um…participate. We’ll participate. I anticipate participating fully in spring visits.”
One of the things is when they take a visit in the environment of gameday and all that. Is that something that would miss out in the spring or how important is that for a typical official visit?
“That’s a good question. I can remember a time where very few visits occurred during the fall. Most all the visits were after the football season took place and there were unofficial visits during the season. Official visits came afterwards.
“I think now you’re going to see a model where official visits will come in the spring and the fall and after the season, so a youngster that’s playing high school football, Friday night games, sometimes that can compact the official visit. So, does it make more sense to visit when you’re not playing a game on a Friday night? That’s the choice now. More options for the families, more options for the official visitors. More options is [inaudible] better.”
Jim, you mentioned Casey Hughes. What did you like about him? What stuck out and do you envision him sticking at corner or could he be a safety for you guys?
“Yeah, another thing to be determined. Think he has the ability to be a corner. Also has the ability by what compiles our best secondary to be a nickel or be a safety. Think he’s got the ability to play all three of those and we’ll determine that when he gets here.
“Coverage ability plus tackling abilities. He’s made quite a few tackles and he’s a strong tackler.”
You have a new strength staff in here you’ve been working with. What went through the process of making that change and how do you feel the results are? Your thoughts on how they’re doing?
“Uh, doing great. Doing great. Coach Herb—Coach Herbert and his staff are extremely hard-working, very detailed, and they’ve hit the ground running. It’s early but already seeing positive results.
“And what went into that was interviewing multiple interested coaches, and really feel we got the right man for the right place, the right job.”
Do you know for sure when you’ll start spring yet?
“I believe it’s March 22nd, if that’s a Thursday in the third week of March. If memory serves, that’s March 22nd.”
Related to spring practice, can you give us an update on any international hopes or plans?
“Yeah, we hope and are planning to go abroad. Paris and Normandy.”
Not sure when yet?
“We’re closing in on a date. It’ll be after finals are over. That’ll be somewhere around the 26th of April.”
Where are you with the 10th coach and how do you like how this staff is shaping or reshaping, I guess?
“Uh…we’re thrilled. Thrilled with the new additions. Sherrone Moore, Al Washington, they’re fantastic. Had a chance to go out on the road, be in meetings, offensive meetings, defensive meetings with both, and they’re tremendous.
“The tenth coach, we’re going through the process of interviews. That’s what we’re…that’s…that’s going on today.”
“Yeah, yeah. Focused on the offensive side.”
Is Ed Warinner in that pool? I know you guys brought him in as an analyst.
“Yeah, Ed is another great hire to talk about. Ed Warinner’s been just fantastic, so to a man, everybody that we’ve brought in, including our graduate assistants, just top notch. Feel great about Ed. Didn’t know Ed before but feel like we’re becoming best friends. Same with Sherrone and Al Washington. Great coaches, great men. Feel great. Feel great about our recent additions and our hires.”
What are Ed’s duties? What did you hire him for?
“On offense right now we are going through a self-scout period and looking at ways to get our offense up to where our defense is, and all those assignments are yet to be determined. His title is offensive analyst. As good a coach as he is, I plan on this being a long and trusting friendship with Ed Warinner and the Michigan football program.”
What transpired with Dan Enos? Was that a surprise to you or had there been some conversations that he potentially could be here and move on like he did?
“Uh, that—you know exactly what transpired. He was here, then he left and went to Alabama.”
Did that catch you off-guard at all?
Speaking of off-guard, about Otis [Reese], when did you know he wasn’t going to be coming here?
“Well, I mean, it’s really the same situation. One person closes a door, that opens a door for somebody else, and it’s our job to make sure that whoever turns the knob on that is what’s right for Michigan.”
What about Otis? Are you talking about Otis or Dan?
I wasn’t sure—
“What was your specific question?”
I just wondered, when did you know that Otis—
“Today. Today. Found out today.”
And that caught you off-guard?
“I wouldn’t say…we were informed today.”
I would assume now that signing day’s over you have some time with the last assistant—
“Wouldn’t say caught us off-guard. We understood that that was a possibility, yeah.”
You have some time now with the last assistant. Signing day’s over, you have until March 22nd. Do you plan on taking some time with this to see how the whole staff looks or how it all shakes out or do you want it done sooner?
“Well, it’s gonna happen soon. It’s gonna happen soon. Yeah, I’ve been—I’ve spent a lot of time and effort, as we do, as I do, for each and every person that you hire.”
Do you anticipate any more departures off your staff as well?
“I do not.”