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Add FSU's White to those who think UM got jobbed

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. -- The way Florida State running back Marquez White sees it, Michigan is the “perfect” team to face in his final game, but he thinks the Wolverines should be in the national playoff.

He watched the Michigan-Ohio State game and seemed to question the spot on the crucial OSU fourth-and-1 play in the second overtime.

“Personally, I think they kind of got cheated out of the playoffs with that call,” White said. “I think they were one of the best teams. The call could have went either way. It’s not my call to make.”

He likes the Seminoles’ chances against the Wolverines.

 

Florida State's goal: Raise Harbaugh's blood pressure

 


 
“They’re going to be a really, really big challenge for us," he said. "A lot of people are already counting us out. But we’re used to that at Florida State. Nobody really respects us or gives us the respect we should even with the success we’ve had the last five, six years.”

Grappling guard

Michigan guard Kyle Kalis hopes to have a long NFL career, but when football ends, he thinks he could make it in pro wrestling.
 

Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett stretches for a disputed first down during a fourth-down play in the second overtime.

“I’m serious about that,” Kalis said. “Honestly, since I was a little kid growing up and watching the guys in WWE, it’s always been so appealing to me. I’m going to sound like such a meathead when I say this, but it sounds like the perfect job ever. You lift, and you train and you get ready to perform. It’s kind of like football, that’s why I think it’s appealing to me.

"Again, I’ve always said when football is over, hopefully it’s not for a really long time, I’m going to miss the physical aspect of it. I think that would be a cool way to keep that up in my life.”

He does not yet have name yet for his wrestling persona, but said he would think of something to pay tribute to his Irish or German ancestry.

“I can see myself being like a Stone Cold or an Undertaker,” Kalis said.

Walker making improvements 

Freshman back Kareem Walker didn’t have the season he had hoped. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said early this season that because Walker had to focus on academics he wouldn’t see the field and would redshirt.

But Walker is in Florida practicing and has impressed.
 
“Kareem is really hitting the hole well,” Michigan offensive coordinator Tim Drevno said Tuesday morning. “He’s using his vision. He’s getting north and south. He’s making some nice cuts out there. He’s really getting a good feel. Exciting to see Kareem do that.”
 
Walker is 6-foot-1, 207 pounds and will be among the backs competing for playing time next year.
 
“I always knew Kareem had it in there,” Drevno said. “It’s just a process. Everybody has different processes when they come to college. It just moves faster. It takes time to settle in, and he’s the guy that we think he is. He’s going to produce at a high level here at Michigan. Our strength program has done well with him, so it’s exciting to see what his future holds.”
 
Senior running back De’Veon Smith, who will be playing his final game for Michigan in Friday’s Orange Bowl, also praised Walker for how much he has grown this season.
 
"He had a couple great runs (Monday)," Smith said of Walker. " He's definitely grown as person from the day he stepped on campus to now. He's understanding what he needs to do to get on the field."

 

 

Smith said of the back who will be returning, Ty Isaac has distinguished himself during bowl practices that Harbaugh calls "Christmas Camp."
 
"I believe Ty has had the best Christmas Camp so far in my opinion from pass pro to running the ball," Smith said. "It's good to see. It shows a player is growing and developing. That's what coach Wheat (running backs coach Tyrone Wheatley) preaches, and he's in the mastering stage right now."
 
As Smith prepares for what his future may hold in football, he said he has spoken to the younger backs and imparted his wisdom to guys like freshman Chris Evans, who saw considerable playing time this year, about preparing for the upcoming season.
 
“These practices are basically the beginning of their spring ball next year,” Smith said Tuesday. “So I just tell them, ‘Stay in your playbook and you’ve got to understand how fast this is going to go. You don’t understand — this game is very important, like, very, very important. But if you want to put your name in the NCAA, you want to make a household name, this is the game to do it. This is the game to know what you can actually do.’”

achengelis@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @chengelis