Michigan's next European trip could take WWII theme

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Michigan football head coach Jim Harbaugh addresses the media during a break at the Michigan Aerial Assault QB Camp.

Ann Arbor — It appears the Michigan football team is heading to Europe next year with possible visits to Paris, Normandy, and London.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said after the team’s one-week visit to Rome where the Wolverines practiced three times and went sightseeing and held team-bonding activities he would have the players vote on next year’s destination. He said he took a straw poll.

“Right now we’re looking into going to Paris, and then Normandy and then London,” Harbaugh said Saturday during a break in the Aerial Assault Camp for high school quarterbacks. “Finish up in London with a spring game.

"Rome was great. There was so much to see. One of the things we thought about after the trip was to go to multiple places, not just stay in one place. There was so much to see in Rome, it was unbelievable."

Harbaugh said he hasn’t decided how many practices to hold overseas next year but plans to practice in Paris and London.

He was thrilled with the experience this past April in Rome and the fact so many of the players took advantage of opportunities to springboard the trip into study-abroad programs.

Perry future still unsettled

Receiver Grant Perry is back working out with the team, but until there is closure to his lingering legal situation, he will not play for the Wolverines.

Perry is facing two misdemeanor counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, one felony count of resisting arrest and one misdemeanor count of minor in possession, from an incident last October outside a bar in East Lansing during Michigan’s bye week. Perry is scheduled for a July 17 trial in Ingham County Court.

Harbaugh said earlier this month that Perry was back working out with the team during summer conditioning and would be in preseason camp.

“He won’t represent the team on the field in games until the case is finalized until there’s closure,” Harbaugh said Saturday. “He’s always had the opportunity to get treatment, he’s always had the opportunity to get academic support, he’s always had the opportunity to be in the university. He’s still a functioning member of the university. The latest step was to allow him to train and work out with the team to have an opportunity if it comes this season. It seemed fair, so that was the decision made.”

Extra points

Jim Minick, an associate athletic director for football and a childhood friend of Harbaugh, has left the staff to take a job in the military, Harbaugh confirmed. Minick is a retired lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps.

Also gone is Biff Poggi, UM associate head coach and special adviser who played an enormous role in facilitating and planning the team’s trip to Rome. Poggi, whose son, Henry, is a fullback at Michigan, is returning to Baltimore where he was longtime high school coach at The Gilman School and reportedly will coach at St. Frances Academy.

Harbaugh said he will replace both positions with individuals already on staff.

… Preseason camp begins July 31.

… Left tackle Grant Newsome, who suffered a gruesome season-ending knee injury last fall in the Wisconsin game, is expected to redshirt this year and participate as a student-coach while he continues to rehab his knee. “Grant will be a great influence on the team,” Harbaugh said, adding he fully expects Newsome to return in 2018.

… Harbaugh had the high school quarterbacks take the Wonderlic test administered to players during the NFL Combine. Why? “It’s important when you play quarterback to be book smart and street smart, both those things,” he said. Was Harbaugh more book smart or street smart when he was a younger quarterback? “I can tell you this, after long division, I lost my excellence in math, but I was so strong in the other subjects,” he said, laughing. “I wasn’t able to get an A or B in the legitimate math courses, the Calculuses and things like that. I worked very hard to get my C+. The other subjects were more my strength.”


Twitter: @chengelis