Posted: 11:11 pm Tuesday, September 1st, 2009
By Jason Lieser
Michigan’s ex-Blue Devils say their college practices are no more intense than what they endured at Pahokee.
Linebacker Brandin Hawthorne and running back Vincent Smith, key seniors in Pahokee’s 2008 championship season, said they were surprised by the Detroit Free Press‘ report this week that Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez violated NCAA rules by forcing his players to practice beyond the legal time frames.
The Free Press cited information from former and current players.
“Everything seems fine to me,” Smith said. “I feel like that’s just players who were unhappy about something else. We’re not being overworked.”
Hawthorne laughed at the idea that Michigan players are being pushed beyond NCAA limits and said friends on other teams seem to be on a similar schedule.
“It’s just like any other school,” he said. “We work to win. It’s typical.”
Both players enrolled at Michigan in January after graduating a semester early from Pahokee. Wide receiver Martavious Odoms, an ’09 Pahokee grad who is now a sophomore at Michigan, and former Cardinal Newman kicker Brendan Gibbons also are on the team. Odoms and Gibbons were not available for comment Tuesday.
After enrolling early, Smith said he had trouble adapting to Michigan workouts but said it was an issue with his conditioning rather than the coaching staff. Smith blacked out during one off-season session, but said he was not fully healthy that day in the first place.
“I had a cold that day and I was a little out of shape, too,” he said. “But after that day I never felt like that again.”
Pahokee coach Blaze Thompson said he has never heard a former player complain about Rodriguez’ practice schedule.
The Free Press quoted Hawthorne as saying, “It’s crazy. I work out at 8. We’ll work out from, like, 8 to 10:30. We come back later, have one-on-ones, seven-on-sevens, a little passing. Then I’ll go watch a little film.” Hawthorne said his comment was not a complaint and he was not implying that Michigan violated NCAA policies.