Hope everyone had a great Easter or Passover. A weekend full of fun, family, religion, and loads and loads of Cadbury Creme Eggs. I am convinced that if you eat enough Creme Eggs in one sitting you will reach Nirvana. It's equivalent the spice essence. You either die or become an interstellar messiah. Worth a shot either way.
Still my mind seemed to wander back to Ann Arbor. And for good reason.
Berenson Signs On For Three (3!) More Years
You read right. Red's sticking around. USCHO.com is reporting that Bill Martin did something right. During Saturday's Hockey Banquet Martin announced that Berenson had been signed to a three year extension which will keep Red behind the Michigan bench through the 2009 season. Oh happy day! This couldn't be better news for the hockey program.
My read is this: with the talent staying, and the talent in the pipeline, Red thinks this is a championship calibre team. Red's a proud guy. There's no way he would've signed on for three more years if he was going to spend it pulling out what little hair he's got left. He's got designs of going out on top, and that's good news for all of us.
Kudos to Martin for taking care of such an important deal, quietly, quickly and professionally. Now about the Crisler renovations...
Speaking Of Which (Basketball Update)
Patrick Beverly has announced that he's just about at a decision. Scout.com and The Diag are reporting the Chicago stand out guard will announce his decision between Michigan and Arkansas this week. Um. Let's see. He just came back from a visit. Everything went well. Its warm down there. They've got "brand spanking new" facilities. They just made the NCAA tournament. And he wants to make an announcement on his choice of school.
Verdict: Bad, bad news. Seems to fit the way things have gone for the basketball team, great build up, followed by collapse. Hopefully Beverly will sit back and weigh his options a little more before making his decision. I think the more he looks at things, the more Michigan stands out. Going into this weekend visit, which was supposed to be St. John's according to the Trib, Michigan was the clear favorite. Now I rate it as a toss up. However, if playing time's as important as it seems, it should give us an edge. Our academic facilities blow Arkansas out of the water, but our practice facilities and weight rooms are a serious problem.
Hopefully, Beverly's comments about the facilities weren't lost on Bill Martin. Michigan should NEVER lose a recruit to Arkansas. If it happens and the basketball team continues to be mediocre, Martin's can only look in the mirror for the reason why.
No One Important Got Hurt!
Michigan Football wrapped up its final spring practice on Saturday without a single starter getting hurt. Whew. The football team wrapped up its 15th spring practice with a series of drills and an offense-defense one quarter scrimage. None of the starters, for that matter none of the second string, appear to have played in the scrimage. Michigan is going into the off-season healthy. A welcome change from the season of seemingly infinite injuries. Mgoblue.com has the photo's from Saturday's practice up here.
Photo Courtesy UM Photo Services
The majority of coverage from Saturday's final practice revolved around junior-to-be running back Mike Hart. The generic copy line would be simple, "Michigan Has a Healthy Hart". Hart told reporters that the hamstring and ankle injuries that kept him out of 6 games last season have finally healed. Hart said he finally started feeling normal around January, and is able to cut and run as well as has since coming to Michigan. He also told reporters he's taken a much more aggressive injury prevention regimen which hopefully will keep him in the lineup all season. The Free Press, Detroit News, and Ann Arbor News are all drooling over the prospect of Hart and Henne back at their freshman production levels.
In other good news, Carlos Bown broke loose during the spring scrimage and provided everyone who jumped up and down when he signed with something to talk about during the summer. Brown, who has seen time at corner and as an option quarterback this spring, went back to his normal running back position and busted out a 55 yard TD run during the scrimage. Carr's given Brown a lot of praise during spring practice. Apparently, this is why.
Brown's emergence gives the backfield three different backs with three different looks. Hart will shoulder most of the load as our every down back. While an excellent between the tackles runner, Hart has shown the ability to juke defenders out of their cod pieces and pick up yards where none seem to exist. Even so, he'll need to be spelled and thats where the youngins' come in. Human wrecking ball Kevin Grady, who has dropped 15 pounds this winter and now looks like he was chisled out of granite, and scram-jet freshman Carlos Brown will give Hart a breather this season. What's better, both will scare the crap out of opposing defenses as they both present very different concerns for the suckers on the other side of the ball. Juke it, smash it, or simply out run it, Michigan's backfield will be a true threat again next year.
Finally, the gamesmanship continues on the defensive side of the ball. While speaking with the Detroit News Alan Branch said that the only difference between last year's defense and this year's will be intensity. Hopefully that doesn't mean they'll be trying to give up fourth quarter leads even harder this year. Fear not. Branch is doing what everyone expects, laying out a smoke screen to cover the fact that it will be a very different defense from the last few years. With the number of complaints Lloyd muttered to the press during spring practice, and the number of quotes from defensive players talking about new assignments, its easly to ascertain that we'll see a much different defense this year.
One consistent statement from the players has been about the "intensity" of practices. While I'm sure Herrmann got after his players from time to time, that mustache wasn't scaring anyone. English's gleeming dome, complete with the bulging vien of anger which pulsates across his forehead to the peak of his skull, casts a far more intimidating shadow than anything ole' Jimbo could possibly arrange. Its one thing to have an old, fat german dude telling a 360 lineman how to cut inside. Its another to have "The Vein" glaring down on you, secure in the knowledge that 360 or not, he could still kick your ass. Under those circumstances, you'd better believe practices and games will be a little more intense.
I don't know if "the vein" exists or not. But I like the visual.
Football practice resumes on August 6.
More, Because That's What You Crave
For a far more indepth set of personal observances, head over to Mgoblog. Brian was there on Saturday and doles out some droll takes on the last practice.
iBlog For Cookies went absolutely apeshit with spring football. Check out his breakdown of EVERY scholarship player on Michigan's roster and the spring preview directly below. Unreal and, as always, right on the money.