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Rose Bowl Notes: U-M begins practice

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Michigan's Rose Bowl practices on the West Coast have gone well, according to published reports, with head coach Lloyd Carr pleased with the intensity. Plus, Alan Branch talks to the Detroit News about staying at Michigan for his senior year vs. leaving for the NFL and more …
After U-M's first practice the day before Christmas, Carr told the News he saw what he hoped to see.
"They've had three days off, and the weather, it's a perfect day, nice, warm, and I think they practiced hard," Carr said. "We have a lot of things to get cleaned up, but we had good intensity."
The News also reports that receiver Adrian Arrington missed two days of practice due to flight delays, but has arrived to join the team.
Branch, meanwhile, said he gets asked five times a day whether or not he'll return for his senior year, admitting he has an idea which way he's leaning but nowhere near a final decision.
"Hopefully I wake up one day and just make a choice, so I can get everybody off my back," Branch said. "This semester, I had a lot of fun. Going to the pros, that's a grown-up world, and I don't know if I'm ready for that now. I like having fun right now. I've developed a really nice bond with a lot of the guys. There are pros and cons to everything."
Some analysts predict Branch would be a top-10 pick if he left early, but the thought of possibly playing for a national title next year is intriguing to the junior defensive lineman.
"My family is not rich, but they're well off," said Branch. "They don't need my money, or they don't need me to go right away, so that's why I think I'm in a good situation, because I'm not forced to do anything.
"I could come back, I could leave. There's no pressure from anyone in my family. They're just there to support me."
For the entire article from the News, click here: Alan Branch.
Other Rose Bowl related articles:
Michigan junior running back Mike Hart remembers the first time he met the late Bo Schembechler, on his first trip to Ann Arbor. As he did to Jamie Morris several years earlier, Schembechler challenged the diminutive running back with some biting words:
"You're too small to play here."
"He was challenging me right away, but I'll never forget that," Hart told the Orange County Register, acknowledging he spoke to the legend every week when he was living.
Senior captain and defensive end LaMarr Woodley, meanwhile, received a different challenge from USC head coach Pete Carroll after informing him he was going to Michigan.
"The first thing he said was, 'We're going to kick your butt in the Rose Bowl," Woodley recalled. "And we ended up playing them my freshman year, and that's what happened."
Woodley and his teammates will get their chance for redemption Jan. 1.
For the entire article from the Register, click here: Michigan in the Rose Bowl.
• MSNBC's Mike Celizic believes a Michigan win in the Rose Bowl could give the Wolverines a shot at the preseason No. 1 ranking next year, which could prove key in a run toward the national title game.
"Michigan has all the prerequisites for being a preseason number one, starting with three key returning seniors: quarterback Chad Henne, running back Mike Hart and defensive tackle Alan Branch from one of the top defensive units in the country.
"Beat USC, and Michigan will begin next year ranked either first or second. Then, if the Wolverines can just get past Ohio State during the season, it's title time. Lose to USC, and the preseason ranking slips a bit, maybe behind Ohio State, or even to the Trojans, who can vault to the top of the preseason heap itself with a big win over Michigan, still seen by many as the second-best team in the nation."
For the entire article from MSNBC, click here: U-M preseason No. 1?.
• Fifth-year senior Steve Breaston was the subject of a Los Angeles Times article focusing on the return man/receiver's poetry. Click here for the story: Breaston.
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