Dec. 23, 2013
The Michigan travel party departed Ann Arbor early this morning and arrived in Phoenix by Delta charter mid-day. A sunny 68 degrees greeted the Wolverines following the 221-minute flight. Brady Hoke met with the media at his introductory press conference for the bowl.
"I want to thank everyone for the great reception that our team received when we landed in Arizona," said Hoke. "We are very excited to be in the desert representing the University of Michigan and the Big Ten Conference. We will have our work cut out for us against a very good Kansas State team."
Hoke also discussed the health of signal caller Devin Gardner during his press conference. "Devin met with the doctors on Friday and is still in a boot. It's kind of day to day. But right now, if we were playing tonight he would not play. We're going into it that Shane [Morris] will be the guy."
After a short bus ride to the Hyatt Regency Hotel at Gainey Ranch, the team's home for the next seven days, the players had a couple of hours to collect their luggage, get acclimated to their surroundings and grab some lunch before getting done to business. The Wolverines had team and position meetings before departing for a late afternoon practice at Chapparal, the high school for two-time All-American left tackle Taylor Lewan.
|J.J. Putz of the Arizona Diamondbacks||Practice at Chapparal High School||
Desmond Morgan with
"This is a weird feeling being back home and practicing at the high school where I played at my senior year," said Lewan. "It's pretty cool and definitely something that I never thought would happen."
The team had a brisk one-hour practice under the lights at Chapparal, focusing on the game plan with heavy emphasis on special teams. Former Michigan linebacker Kenny Demens (Arizona Cardinals practice squad) and former baseball player J.J. Putz (Arizona Diamondbacks closer) attended the team's practice. There was also an 8 p.m. meeting that went over team regulations and expectations while in Scottsdale.