UM’s Ryan Glasgow & Co. cherish time with whistles
Ann Arbor — Senior nose tackle Ryan Glasgow and most of the Michigan veterans have turned in their practice pads this week for a coach’s whistle.
Glasgow, clearly attached to his, wore it while talking with media Tuesday.
Fourth-ranked and unbeaten Michigan does not have a game this week, so the players who have played a lot during the first half have three days off.
Meanwhile, the younger players are continuing to practice with a bit of a twist — the older players are helping coach.
“It’s pretty fun,” Glasgow said. “There’s a lot of young guys who are working really hard out there, all the freshmen ‘D’ linemen, so it’s nice to interact with them when they’re not doing scout (team). When they’re the main focus of attention you can kind of cater to them instead of when they’re on the sidelines of games telling you what you’re doing right, what you’re doing wrong.
“It’s nice to build a rapport with them and help them out.”
He said he also has fun yelling at the players during practice.
“I do it more in jest than anything,” he said, laughing.
The whistle, though, has been a shiny silver accessory.
“I think it’s more of a symbol,” he said. “I feel if I used the whistle (D-line) coach (Greg) Mattison would have yelled at me.”
Tuesday, Glasgow helped work with his younger teammates during drills.
He’d like to believe he’s a pretty good coach.
“Since I’m more of a technician on the field than anything,” Glasgow said. “I like to help them out with technique and try to get their minds right for a practice. Coach (Jim) Harbaugh’s practices aren’t easy, and when you’re out there taking a lot of the reps it can get tiring and so trying to encourage them.”
Harbaugh said Monday he has done this before during a bye, but this is the first time in his two seasons at Michigan he has had the players coach.
“Players who haven’t played as many plays or haven’t played at all will be practicing a lot of fundamentals, a lot of technique, a lot of individual work,” Harbaugh said. “(The older players will) be able to physically get themselves back, and the ones who haven’t been playing as much will get an opportunity to improve their game which will help us next week and the rest of the season and next year.”
This can be a helpful exercise for the older players.
“It’s a good feeling to put the whistle on and coach a guy,” he said. “A lot of them do it already but to do it full time during a practice, you learn a lot yourself. You learn a lot, crystalizes your thoughts when you have to tell somebody else what they could be doing better or give them a tip or a piece of advice.”
Harbaugh described this as being “like a beaver dam” with every player doing something and contributing to the common goal of improvement.
Defensive lineman Taco Charlton enjoyed coaching.
“Some of us actually may want to be coaches in the future, so it’s a little taste of what they want to do,” he said. “But it’s fun to help the young guys and show them different things. It was a chance for us to step back and help them out and show them different things to help out their game.”
Tight end Jake Butt, a co-captain, has played a coaching role since the summer, working with the young tight ends.
So, stepping in during practice as what he called an assistant to position coach Jay Harbaugh felt like old times.
“A lot of it was teaching. When you look back at this past summer I think I tried to take on that role already,” Butt said. “I got to take a bigger role in terms of coaching and helping lead these guys. It’s great when you have a group that’s hungry to learn and get better because it makes my job as a leader of the group and coach Jay’s job easy as well.”
It’s not that the players tune out their position coaches, but sometimes it’s easier for them to take coaching from a peer.
That’s how center Mason Cole planned to approach his role.
“You take it differently when you hear it from someone your age or just a year older than you,” Cole said. “It will be good for them and good for us.”