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December 4, 2012Michigan's freshmen have learned at such a rapid pace that head coach John Beilein and his staff have incorporated a lot of offense in the first several weeks of the season. That will change, Beilein said Tuesday.
Rather than add more, they'll take a step back heading into Tuesday night's game with Western Michigan.
"We have enough offensive wrinkles right now," he said. "We're trying to close it up a little bit, almost experimenting with what we can do in games and what people can handle. Every day in practice we've been doing that. We've wanted to cut it down, and we're trying to.
"Because of the evolution of Nik Stauskas, that opened new can of worms to go one direction in certain areas. With Jordan Morgan, Jon Horford, Max Bielfeldt and Mitch McGary, that was another thing - playing big vs. playing small. We've got a lot in the package, so we've got to shorten it up. At this point, it's probably too much for them. Still, the offensive efficiency has been really good.
"We're just trying to execute. We can't when we have so much. Rather than add later on, we tried to see what was best for our team through trial and error. We'll tweak again, but now is not the time."
Beilein has been impressed with one aspect of his group as much as any.
"There's a lot of confidence that we are all on the same page out there," he said. "We're not coaching attitudes; just guys that want to win. We're more watching the action to see how we can teach it better - the old John Wooden saying, 'you haven't taught until they've learned.' Everybody is different out there. That's what it's more about.
"The whole coaching staff, we have young men we love to coach. How can we make them better as fast as we can?"
"He'll always ben an option late in the game to get the ball," Beilein said.
"Every freshman, you just don't know what to expect from him. I try not to be surprised at any time, really. We're really enthused with how he has handled it."
The moment wasn't too big for him in his first start at Bradley.
"He's on the road and I get this great big smile from him when he went on the court - it was as loud as many Big Ten arenas for the start," Beilein recalled. "He gave me this grin like this is what I've been practicing my whole life for - not just to play at home, but to go on the road and quiet fans. He did a good job of that."
He has more to give.
"There's a lot more in there as far as his skill level," Beilein said. "We've seen some of it, but there's a lot there."
"I don't know if is always going to happen," he said. "It depends what's going on late in the game. The top eight or nine - he's in there. If there's foul trouble, other things, he's in there.
"He's been working hard, putting in extra work. I didn't realize how much he'd fallen behind in some areas just by usually being on the scout team. That's why we want to do it now instead of January. Just the timing of what we do offensively and defensively - he's doing well on the scout team. He'll be fine. He's very bright, one of the brightest I've had in picking up things, him and Glenn Robinson."