Michigan teammates appreciate Stribling’s gifts

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Ann Arbor — Michigan had three interceptions against Wisconsin last week.

Channing Stribling had two, but the one that captured all the attention was Jourdan Lewis’ acrobatic pick to effectively end the game.

“It’s insane,” defensive backs coach Mike Zordich said Wednesday. “i haven’t seen anything like that from a defensive player. I’ve seen a few guys offensively do that. That was a hell of a play.”

While Lewis was out — he missed three games with a back injury — Stribling has been front and center.

But with Lewis back, Stribling often gets overlooked — except at Schembechler Hall.

“He may out here amongst the folks, but not in here,” Zordich said. “If you watch the game, if you’re at practice and you see Strib make a play and you see Jourdan make a play, it’s the same kind of enthusiasm. I think everybody understands Strib’s pretty good.”

Stribling has three interceptions, ranking him first in the Big Ten and fifth nationally.

Lewis said he felt a bit rusty when he returned to game action two weeks ago against Penn State, but Zordich said he did not detect any drop-off.

“He fell right back into it that Monday and stepped in,” Zordich said. “He looked like he never left the field. So I wasn’t surprised. He’s a special player.”

Jeremy Clark was lost for the season after suffering a knee injury against Penn State, which leaves Michigan a bit lean at cornerback. Brandon Watson has been the go-to player after Lewis and Stribling, and then there are freshmen LaVert Hill and David Long.

NFL action

Jedd Fisch, Michigan’s pass-game coordinator and quarterbacks/receivers coach, said he has worked with first-year quarterbacks the last seven years, and likes to dig into NFL clips to help teach.

He did it with Jake Rudock last season, and is in the same spot with Wilton Speight this year.

“Each day we start a meeting off with eight or 10 clips of an NFL quarterback or an NFL offense,” Fisch said.

“There’s different things to show them all the time, whether it be pocket presence, how they throw the screen game, how they maintain a base in the pocket when they’re going to throw the deep ball.

“I try to look for what may be something we struggled with the day before in practice or in the game and kind of give him examples of guys and show him some clips of those guys executing and excelling in that role.”

Little twist

Michigan went with the “train” formation last weekend, a vertical line of 10 players with Speight to the side. Fisch played coy and said he doesn’t know how many of those “special” plays Michigan has.

“I can’t remember,” Fisch said.

Sometimes it takes several weeks of practice before a play like “train” is ready.

“A lot of things we do or have done, it’s being a few weeks of doing things and, ‘OK, it’s ready’, or ‘It’s time,’ ” Fisch said. “You kind of work through different special plays or different formations. As it evolves and you feel everything is clean and crisp, then it’s game ready.”


Twitter.com: @chengelis