Dec. 28, 2012
TAMPA, Fla. -- The University of Michigan football team held an earlier practice on Friday (Dec. 28) due to the DeBartolo Team Luncheon and a team activity at Splitsville in the evening.
The Wolverines took the field at Tampa Jesuit High School at 9:20 a.m. under sunny skies. The practice in shoulder pads and shorts focused on key game strategy, special teams and individual work. The offense and defense split up into both ends of the FieldTurf field to work against the 'look' teams. The defense collected multiple interceptions and stripped a few ball carriers. Offensively, the Wolverines worked on the passing game and some inside running packages.
The skill position groups went head to head in skelly drills for two periods, and practice ended with a full team session of third down. The Wolverines ended practice at 11:15 a.m. in order to get showered and changed for the noon luncheon.
The team bused to the Tampa Convention Center for the Outback Bowl's annual DeBartolo Team Luncheon. At the event, Outback Bowl president/CEO Jim McVay, Michigan head coach Brady Hoke and South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier spoke to a room of nearly 1,000 guests. Hoke was quick to credit the Gamecocks and their play on both sides of the ball, calling the Jan. 1 match-up "a great opportunity and a great challenge" for Team 133. During the course of the luncheon, the U-M travel party was treated to a three-course meal: salad, crusted chicken with vegetables, and red velvet cake.
Two young fans pose with the Wolverines before the luncheon at the Tampa Convention Center
At the conclusion of the luncheon, offensive coordinator Al Borges, defensive coordinator Greg Mattison and several Wolverines players met with the media. Among the U-M players were seniors Will Campbell, Kenny Demens, Jordan Kovacs, Denard Robinson and Roy Roundtree and junior Taylor Lewan.
Finishing off the day was an evening event at Splitsville, where players, student staff and strength staff members ate dinner and played games with their South Carolina counterparts. The upscale entertainment venue features 12 bowling lanes, six billiards tables and a full-service gourmet dinner lounge. Michigan lost to South Carolina in the bowling competition but it did not deter the Wolverines since multiple players were unable to partake due their participation in bowling leagues.
The team files into Splitsville; Jordan Kovacs (from left), Elliott Mealer and Dan Liesman enjoy dinner