The Wolverine

April 2019

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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APRIL 2019 THE WOLVERINE 45 M ichigan head coach Jim Har- baugh has taken his team on spring trips to Rome and Paris. Next up: South Africa, specifically Cape Town and Johannesburg. The Wolverines will leave the first week in May and plan on staying for 10 days. Director of football operations Mark Taurisani and operations coor- dinator Scott Goldschmidt traveled to scout it out and have done their home- work in preparation, Harbaugh said on his 'Attack Each Day' podcast. "Mark Taurisani and Scott Gold- schmidt advanced the trip for us and came back raving about it," he noted. "They said it's going to be the best trip this team has ever taken, by far. There were pictures from it, and I thought they were standing a little too close to the rhinoceroses and elephants. "The scenery in Cape Town was just magnificent. I used to go over the itin- erary on these trips, but I want to be surprised this time." Harbaugh confirmed in Paris last year that Bobby Kotick and Don Gra- ham were the donors responsible for funding the prior overseas trips. Kotick took care of the bill for Rome, while both he and Graham paid for U-M's trip to Paris. "Two great Michigan guys, espe- cially Bobby. Can you imagine?" Har- baugh said in Paris. "It's impressive. They're the best. "Bobby doesn't want anything said, doesn't want anybody to know that. But it's a hard secret to keep." Kotick is the CEO of Activision Bliz- zard, the company responsible for the popular video game series "Call of Duty." He was an honorary cap- tain during a 2016 game in Ann Arbor. Graham runs The Graham Group, an investment-management firm. U-M's trip to Italy last year cost roughly $800,000, while Paris eclipsed $1 million. South Africa figures to be much more expensive, though Har- baugh believes it will be worth it. "The amount of vision, knowledge and experience this group of players gets out of this is priceless," he said in France. "You can't put a value on it. It's a wonderful experience." — Chris Balas JIM HARBAUGH SAYS JOSH GATTIS WILL CALL PLAYS Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh met with the media for the first time during spring ball March 18, a day af- ter the club's first practice. Much of the talk that afternoon sur- rounded the Wolverines' offense, and how much it has changed since the hir- ing of offensive coordinator Josh Gattis from Alabama in January. "He'll coordinate the offense and call the plays," Harbaugh confirmed. "We're all working together now and learning — he's so good at explaining his style of offense and has been show- ing us how to coach it. I've been enjoy- ing it and learning so much from him. "The biggest difference people will see from us will be our pace — it will be more up-tempo and less huddling. I like it because it has an attacking feel in terms of the way we'll go downfield with the passing game. "We'll also have multiple personnel groups like we always do, but we'll attack in several formations as well. Our RPOs [run-pass options] could be a run or a pass, and I like that it'll have an attacking feel that defenses have to be aware of. Other teams won't be able to figure out what our tempo is all the time." — Austin Fox U-M TO EXPERIMENT WITH SPRING POSITION CHANGES Jim Harbaugh also revealed March 18 that several of his players will be experimenting with position changes this spring, with one prominent vet- eran — junior Ben Mason — perhaps even playing both sides of the ball. "[Redshirt freshman] Hassan Haskins will be concentrating at run- ning back after going both ways last year," the U-M head man said. "He's also working through something that will be looked at once spring ball is over, and he'll need a procedure. "We're looking at [redshirt fresh- man] Ben VanSumeren at running back as well, because he has an upper gear for speed. He'll play linebacker, too. "[Redshirt freshman] Michael Bar- rett is back on defense at the Sam [line- backer]/viper spot [after playing some wideout last year]. "[Junior] Ben Mason is playing both ways, at defensive line, fullback, tail- back and tight end. He averaged 20 or so plays a game last year, but we want him at 60 to 70 plays [per game] this season. He could play as either a three-technique [defensive tackle] or as a defensive end on the line." — Austin Fox ZACH CHARBONNET WILL MISS ALL OF SPRING BALL, MORE ON INJURIES It was known that early enrollee freshman running back Zach Char-   MICHIGAN FOOTBALL Michigan's Spring Trip To South Africa Set Jim Harbaugh said of his team's annual overseas trips: "You can't put a value on it. It's a wonderful experience." PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN 2019 MICHIGAN FOOTBALL SCHEDULE Date Opponent Aug. 31 Middle Tennessee State Sept. 7 Army Sept. 21 at Wisconsin* Sept. 28 Rutgers Oct. 5 Iowa*^ Oct. 12 at Illinois* Oct. 19 at Penn State* Oct. 26 Notre Dame Nov. 2 at Maryland* Nov. 16 Michigan State* Nov. 23 at Indiana* Nov. 30 Ohio State* Dec. 7 Big Ten Championship Game$ * Big Ten game; ^ Homecoming; $ at Indianapolis

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