Michigan cornerbacks coach Mike Zordich has been impressed by David Long. Angelique S. Chengelis, The Detroit News
Ann Arbor — Michigan cornerbacks coach Mike Zordich knows that a few carefully dropped comments at a news conference find their way into print,onto the internet and social media and then find their way to the intended target.
Zordich needs to get his message across to cornerbacks, say, Lavert Hill or David Long? Nothing like a perfectly timed media availability to share it.
As the Wolverines prepare for the upcoming season that opens Sept. 1 at Notre Dame, Zordich, however, has zero complaints about his position group.
“I am in a good place,” Zordich said, laughing, on Wednesday. “The fellas have got the room in a good place.”
Last spring, Zordich was not pleased with Hill’s absence from spring practice because of an undetermined injury.
“We’re not waiting for him. I’ll just say that,” Zordich said, questioning Hill’s ability to push through the issue.
Before the 2017 season, Zordich expressed his disappointment in Long, asking why he wasn’t keeping pace with Hill heading into the season.
“Hopefully some of them will read this article,” Zordich said at the time. “You hear the youth thing. Well, that’s no longer an excuse.”
Michigan cornerbacks coach Mike Zordich talks about the development of Lavert Hill. Angelique S. Chengelis, The Detroit News
Since Zordich’s comments about Hill during the spring, the two have cleared things up. He’s happy with the progress Hill, All-Big Ten second team last year with seven pass breakups and two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, has made.
“He’s awesome. From the spring and,” Zordich stopped to laugh, “our little hiccup with each other, he’s great. He’s great in the classroom. He’s been doing a hell of a job in meetings. He’s being a leader, and that’s good to see.”
Hill was injured the previous spring, as well, and rebounded.
“He’s a really good football player, so he should answer the bell,” Zordich said Wednesday. “The bell should be his he’s that good. That’s what you’re going to see this fall, as you did last year.”
So Hill heard Zordich’s message through the media?
“I think so,” he said. “It’s all good. That’s where we want to keep it.”
Zordich is pleased with his primary group of cornerbacks heading into the season with Brandon Watson, Long, Hill and Ambry Thomas. The freshmen — Myles Sims, Gemon Green and Vincent Gray — have “some talent” but still have a “long way to go” he said.
Running back Karan Higdon said Thomas is the fastest player on the team, and Zordich confirmed he is “straight-line fast.” Thomas has been beat on some deep balls in practice, he said, because his technique isn’t quite sound enough yet. Zordich has stressed the importance of remaining calm and maintaining poise.
“Which he’s starting to learn to do, which is great to see,” he said, adding Thomas has continued to show improvement. “In his footwork, at the line of scrimmage. All the man we play, we’re very (particular) about our technique and that part of it he has gotten better. We’re hard on them about our technique, because we play so much man. We’ve got to be really good with the fundamentals. That’s where he’s getting better.”
Long and Hill are the primary corners, picking up where they left off last season. Long was Big Ten honorable mention and also had two interceptions. He had six pass breakups.
“He takes coaching,” Zordich said of Long. “He studies. He’s a great notetaker. He’s a professional, he really is. He’s a great kid, great person. Really excited for him. He just works at it.”
Zordich was jokingly asked how many more times he will use the media to share his message to the corners.
“Depends on how many times they screw up,” he said, laughing. “Believe me, I get them in the meetings. We have great talks.”