Offensive lineman Steve Schilling and fullback/linebacker Mark Moundros are Michigan's permanent captains for the 2010 season. Their U-M teammates tabbed them with the honor in the first preseason vote in three seasons, head coach Rich Rodriguez announced Monday.
Head coach Rich Rodriguez gave everyone the opportunity to vie for single game captain honors throughout the last two seasons before having the team vote for permanent captains at the end of the season. Other seniors will still get the opportunity to be game captains this season to complement Schilling and Moundros.
"This team chose two worthy seniors to represent this program as captains," said Rodriguez. "Mark and Stephen are great representatives of the University of Michigan, both as a student and football players. They will work with our other seniors to lead this team throughout the season."
One - cornerback Troy Woolfolk -- received some scrutiny when he called sophomore quarterback Tate Forcier out for his lack of participation in summer workouts. The comments, made at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago last week, raised more than a few eyebrows, but Rodriguez insisted he wasn't upset with his senior.
"First off, I didn't ask his opinion. Second, I'm glad our seniors are taking some ownership and leadership in this team," Rodriguez said. "They want everybody to work as hard as they have, and are going to. I don't blame them for that.
"Tate has a lot of work to do to prove himself, and not just on the field but off the field. I think he's a very competitive guy and he's willing to do that. The rest of that stuff is all internal. Our guys … we've got a pretty close team, and we'll get even closer in the next few weeks."
Rodriguez quipped that he "hadn't watched summer workouts" when asked if Woolfolk's statements were true. He wouldn't disclose who took snaps with the first team at Monday's first practice, noting he was as anxious as anyone to see how the quarterback battle played out.
The coach did say freshman Devin Gardner was in excellent shape, consistent with rumblings from teammates this summer.
"Today … again, it's hard to judge practice, because there is nothing live, but I thought [Forcier] had a pretty good practice today, just judging on what today was. Denard had some good things, and so did Devin," said Rodriguez.
"It's going to be an interesting battle. I'm interested to see how those guys will respond to the challenge. Tate is just one guy that's got to respond to it. Everybody talks about the quarterback, but I prefer to talk about groups - the team."
But there's a chance one quarterback will separate from the pack by the season opener with UConn, he concluded.
"If someone clearly separates themselves from performance-standpoint during camp and is clearly the starter and is better than the other guys and has proven that, then he'll be the guy and will stay in the game as long as he performs okay," he said. There is always a chance of that.
"My hope is that we have more than one starter at every position. But there is a chance that could happen."