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August 8, 2011There wasn't a whole lot to be gleaned from Michigan's first, non-padded practice other than weight gains and losses and attitudes, but head coach Brady Hoke was pleased with both when his first U-M team reported today.
Junior defensive tackle Will Campbell was among those praised today in both aspects. Accountability has been and will remain a staple throughout Hoke's tenure, and he was pleased to share what he'd learned about Campbell.
"Will Campbell left spring at 342 pounds and came in at 316, 319," he said. "Just watching him move around and do those things, you can see that. That's a commitment. A commitment is always important - he showed his teammates he's made a commitment.
"Will loves people and he's a tremendous kid. In his defense, you play defense, you play offense, come back to defense - that's hard. You never get your feet planted in the ground. I enjoy him. I remember working camp when he was being recruited and spending time with him. I think he's moving in the right direction."
Others caught Hoke's eye, as well.
"[Redshirt sophomore left tackle] Taylor Lewan gained some weight he needed to gain. I could go through the whole roster and there were guys that needed to get bigger, more physical [and did]," he said. "Strength is an important part, and playing with endurance is an important part."
Fifth-year senior defensive end Ryan Van Bergen reported at 290 pounds, up 10 from last year. He singled out junior end Craig Roh as another who'd impressed with noticeable gains, which will be made public tomorrow when the roster is updated.
Offensive linemen made their weights across the board, Hoke added, with fifth-year senior David Molk insisting a togetherness factor that had been missing made a difference. The linemen and everyone else put in their time this summer, and it showed during drills and other aspects of practice.
"We're ahead of where we were in the spring. I still think we're spoon-feeding it a little bit," Hoke said. "I always believed as a coach you have to have three things you have to hang your hat on. One of them the power play. We've got to hang our hat on the play pass, the power pass off that, and whatever may be in a two-minute situation.
"Defensively you've got to have three calls you think guys are going to execute at a fast level, playing fast and physical. There's no question in their minds what they're supposed to do. We made some strides in what we have in, but we don't have in nearly what we will."
There are just over three weeks to get it figured out before the opener with Western Michigan. The best news Hoke reported is that everyone is healthy.
"[Cornerbacks] Troy Woolfolk and J.T. Floyd are full speed," he said. "We're pretty doggone healthy."
• Hoke wouldn't go into detail on senior receiver Darryl Stonum's agreement to accept a redshirt for the season other than saying "he's done a great job doing what we asked him to do" following a suspension. Hoke reiterated he'd handle each suspension on a case-by-case basis, as he always has.
"There are always two sides to every story. I just know we're going to deal with things as they come," Hoke said. "I've probably been known to deal with them in maybe more of a strict manner than others.
"We're making a statement we want a championship culture here. That's what we want, and there is an accountability that we all have to have to each other to build a championship culture."
•?Hoke couldn't estimate what sophomore punter Will Hagerup's four-game suspension for violating team rules would do since he'd never seen him punt in a game.
"I think he has a great leg, but we'll see," he said, adding there were two vying for the position and opining freshman Matt Wile could handle both kicking and punting if he wins the job.
• The days of coaches getting three days with the freshmen before the team reports are gone, and Hoke misses them.
"You could teach them an offense and defense, specifics about fundamentals and techniques. Not having those three days puts you back a little with those guys," he said. "Even though these guys were here for summer school, we can't coach them.
"They are wide-eyed and going to make mistakes, and that's fine. As long as they make them aggressive, physical tough mistakes, we'll get by it."
• Kickers won't be confined to the practice facility or the outdoor practice field this fall.
"We need them to kick in the stadium a bunch," Hoke said. "That's a little different animal. You can be a great kicker on State Street, but you kick on Main Street. That's an important part, and we've got to do a good job of getting up there and putting pressure on them. We'll do that during the course of camp. The wind is a little different up there those are things you look at."
• Not much was gleaned on the running backs on day one. That will be the case until they get them in pads, Hoke said.
"We're in shorts right now. It's hard to get a great evaluation besides if a guy misses an assignment, doesn't protect well or maybe the wrong steps, something like that," he said. "It's physical-ness of the game when you're playing in pads it's hard to make the evaluation you want to."
• Overall, Hoke concluded, he was pleased with the energy on the first day.
"We had meetings last night, and their demeanor coming in this building wanting to improve and be better was good," he said. "Out of spirit and energy. That's what you want.
"We talk every night about Michigan and being Michigan those expectations we all have, and what Michigan is. As far as us believing we've got to prove it every day."
Follow Chris Balas on Twitter: @Balas_Wolverine