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September 2, 2005

Audio: Malone names starting center

Michigan assistant coach and offensive coordinator Terry Malone is first up on the weekly assistant coaches show, brought to you by WTKA (The Ticket 1050, Ann Arbor) and TheWolverine.com. Malone names a starting center and talks about expectations in this audio interview (with transcript included).

Here's Malone:

Terry Malone Audio, Part I

Terry Malone Audio, Part II

On the new look of the offense:

"Well, structurally it will be very similar to what we were doing last year, (though) we do have some wrinkles to break out. Basically it's the same Michigan offense but I think you are going to see some new faces out there that are pretty exciting that we have been watching at practice the last three weeks. We are very anxious to get them out there on the field and turn them loose."

On the offensive scoring average of a year ago:

"I don't really put a whole lot of weight into that. There are a whole lot of things that we do to evaluate what the offense does.

"First of all we want to protect the ball and not have turnovers and put our defense in a bad position. We want to control the clock and have a good ball control offense. And we want to be able to strike in a lot of different areas, in the run game, the air, short passes, long passes. I would hope as the season goes on we are a difficult offense to get ready for, and a pretty balanced attack."

On the offensive line:

"We are going to find out on Saturday. I think we have a real good group up front -- they are disciplined, tough kids. They have a couple of great backs to block for and that always makes an offensive line better when you have some great backs to block for."

On the running backs:

"There are plenty of carries to go around. Michael [Hart] is our starter and he is going to carry the brunt of the load but he is going to have two partners to run with that he did not have last year. I think that makes it a much healthier situation for everybody."

On what you can do with three capable backs:

"You know, one of our parents suggested that we get into the wishbone but I discounted that because it was a parent of one of the backs."

On Chad Henne:

"He's a very sharp kid, a real student of the game, an absolute video rat. He has picked up all the offense. He is just going to get better and better. The thing about last year is mind-boggling, to step in week after week like he did. He is a special kid."

On Chad Henne having more control:

"Yeah, the more experience you give a kid, like John Navarre did when he was a fifth-year senior ... he had a lot of responsibility at the line of scrimmage. I don't really buy the sophomore jinx deal. I think it has a lot more to do with the guys around him. Chad just has to realize that he doesn't need to do everything. He just needs to run the show, be a leader and make plays when they are available."

On Chad Henne's progress:

"I think you are going to see a more physically conditioned athlete. He has a had a complete year with Mike Gittleson and Kevin Tolbert and he has really done a great job of getting stronger. He is more physically mature than last year so I think that's one of the things this fall that is different than last fall."

On fall practice:

"Well, we have had so many practices in a short amount of time that I end up thinking back to the bad ones we had. I would probably say we would be about even. I know one thing, that our team is ready to take on somebody else."

On using the shotgun with Henne:

"The reason we don't go into the shotgun is we believe a big part of our rhythm of our passing game is the quarterback drop. He gets into a rhythm, he gets timing there. That is where he can tell if the play is on time or if he needs to take an alternate course."

On Steve Breaston playing quarterback:

"Stevie Breaston is certainly a special player. He has concentrated completely on being a wide receiver this fall camp and he has made some real nice improvements. In order to really perfect that position you have to keep playing it. That is what Steve has done this fall. Look for big things this year from him."

On using the shotgun:

"We will use the shotgun in certain parts of our offense but we just feel we are more diverse when we are under center and the defense has to prepare for everything we do under center."

On the center position:

"Adam Kraus is going to start for us at center, he has done a great job for us in fall camp. Mark Bihl is right there with him. I think we came out of camp with two very good centers."

On the third tight end behind Tim Massaquoi and Tyler Ecker:

"I have been very pleased at the tight end position with Mike Massey. He has really done a good job in just one year in the program. He is really athletic, really fast and really tough."

On how the defense was shocked by the offense:

"Spring was so long ago, but I can't really remember why we would have shocked anybody to tell you the truth. Maybe our players were shocked, but I don't know if it had anything to do with our play-calling. But we have such good players on offense."

On how you determine between making a long or short pass:

"The different route we call calls for a different type of read, and depending on what the defense does to him, make a read from one man to the next. Part of it is the timing he has with his feet to tell him to get rid of the ball or throw to a different receiver."

On some of the new wrinkles in the offense:

"The way college football is today we don't really have enough guys to practice offensively and defensively separate all the time. There are times when we get together and help our defense with different looks that they might be seeing. We service each other, and they help us with certain things we might see. We do have some great athletes on our offense, and we put them in different spots. It will be a lot of fun."

On Adam Kraus and LaTerryal Savoy being from Louisiana and dealing with Hurricane Katrina:

"I am really glad you brought that up because this morning our staff door swung open and there was the Kraus family. Steve and Marge and his sister Elizabeth drove up from New Orleans in the last 24 hours.

"Things at home are absolutely devastating and our heart goes out to them. They are going to spend time with us here in Ann Arbor until things settle down back home. It is a heart-wrenching thing that they are going through. It certainly hits close to home when one of ours has this happen.

"I know that people are going to respond like they never have for the people in Louisiana, Mississippi because that is what makes this country so great. That we do take care of our own. I know we will rise up like we never have."

On prepping for the season opener:

"Today is always one of the really special days we have at Michigan. We practice and the band comes over and visits us. We don't get nearly enough of a chance to watch our band perform, but on this day we got to see our band perform for us. They are absolutely spectacular. They really are a special group, very dedicated and enthusiastic people. We got an extra strong push from them today -- not that we needed one, but they gave it to us."

On Chad Henne's running ability:

"I think that is an excellent weapon to have and now that Chad has his feet on the ground more, you will see a little more movement out of us. Not be as predictable as before."

On calling more plays from the line of scrimmage:

"We have been doing that for quite some time -- maybe not as much last year as we would have liked, but with Chad being more of a veteran guy we can do that. We don't want to get into a totally on the line of scrimmage offense. We want our guys to be aggressive and come off the line and know what to do."

On Chad Henne knowing his progressions:

"Chad has really matured, he has grown football-wise, he has really developed knowledge of our offense and he is also physically matured. He is a different looking kid physically. When you have that you can start moving him around."

On using Steve Breaston at quarterback:

"We did one time against Ohio State, down by the goal-line. Steve did a pretty good job with the ball, he got it into the end zone for us. We have dabbled in that and Steve was certainly a terrific quarterback in high school that we have always had that package ready to go. We just haven't keeping him healthy enough to have him every week.

"Last year he had the foot and the hand. What we really wanted to do this year was let him dedicate himself to be a receiver. Concentrate on all the technical things that go with being a receiver. It may look like you just line up and run real fast but that's not the case. You really have to practice your trade in order to be a great receiver and that is what Steve has dedicated himself to over the last six months."

On replacing Braylon Edwards:

"The fact of the matter is you don't replace Braylon Edwards. It's not going to happen -- there is not one guy who is going to step up and play. Last year he was an absolute amazing football player and lots of times the offense jumped on his shoulders and rode with him. We are not counting on one guy to do that. Although we miss Braylon very much, we have a much more balanced attack with a lot more weapons to go to and use. Where we lose in talent in one person hopefully will make us more diverse and tougher to defend."

On Mario Manningham and Antonio Bass:

"Those two kids are two kids that when we started practice, if you didn't know they were freshmen, you wouldn't have known. These two guys are two very special athletes. Maybe not right away, but as the season goes on, I think these two guys are going to come in and really help us in big games. They have not shied away, they are very competitive and when you mix that with great talent, that is a good combination to have. I am anxious to see those two guys play on Saturday."

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