Michigan’s seniors: ‘We didn’t come here to go bowling, or to sing karaoke’
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — In Nashville, they karaoke.
In Tampa, they bowl.
In South Florida, they …
“Practice,” Jourdan Lewis said with a grin.
For fun? Really?
“That’s fun,” Michigan’s senior cornerback continued. “That’s what coach calls team-building. You get together and you practice. I mean, it’s working. I mean, a lot of people might not understand it, a lot of people night not like it, but it’s working for us. It’s working for Michigan.”
At their apex, bowl games are designed to be “business” trips with a little bit of levity thrown into the mix, depending on the coach and the site. But Orange Bowl week inside the Wolverines’ camp has been especially notable, so far, for its relative lack of levity — at least compared to Big Ten peers.
While Iowa players were busy knocking down pins by the Bay and Nebraska’s coaches got to murder country standards in Music City, Michigan spent its scheduled “Beach Day” Tuesday by … not going, bagging the sand and surf to watch film on Florida State, Friday’s opponent, instead.
A 2-hour window for arcade-style fun Monday at a local Dave & Buster’s amounted to about 40 minutes before the herd was rounded up and bused back to headquarters. More meetings.
“We went through the same schedule in (last season’s) bowl game and it ended up paying off for us,” linebacker Ben Gedeon said of the 2016 Citrus Bowl, a 41-7 demolition of Florida. “So we knew — we kind of hit the ground running this year, we kind of bought in right away.”
Nothing? No side trips? No sightseeing? Nada?
“We have a lot of fun just hanging out with each other,” Gedeon said, then cracked a wicked smile. “Ryan Glasgow told me a joke at practice yesterday. (We) shared a chuckle. It was really a great moment. It was really fun. It was incredible.”
“I believe he said, ‘Imagine if you played quarterback.’ And I said, ‘That’s a truly funny observation, Ryan. That would be funny.’
“And then we moved on to our practice.”
Which is, you know, fun.
Otherwise, the agenda is more Jimbo, less limbo. When a window strikes, they’ll chill. They’ll shoot hoops nearby, maybe check out the offerings at the hotel hospitality room. But the moments are precious and few.
“It worked last year,” defensive end Chris Wormley said. “We beat a team by 34 points, and I’m guessing they went out and got to enjoy Orlando a little more than we did. But we got the win, and that’s what we’re here to do.
“I don’t think I’d be wrong to say that I’d want to be at the beach. But at the end of the day, winning the bowl game is what we’re here to do.
“We didn’t come here to go to the beach. We didn’t come here to go bowling, or to sing karaoke. I don’t have a good voice anyway, so that wouldn’t be entertaining.”
Viral, yes. Entertaining, maybe. The older Wolverines remember when Michigan dropped three of four bowl games from 2010-13, giving up an average of 34 points along the way. The schedule was a tad more flexible then, the mood a little lighter.
This week? This week has all the joy of an ingrown toenail.
And they’re cool with that.
“But we trust coach (Jim) Harbaugh and what he’s done,” Gedeon said. “He’s been in so many games like this. He’s talked about his Super Bowl (as a coach), what they did there. And we’re 100 percent bought-in to everything he has to offer.”
No Florida Georgia Line.
“I’ve been on a couple of bowl trips; I’ve been to beaches; I’ve been to pools,” defensive tackle Ryan Glasgow chuckled. “I’ve been to Florida before. So, no, I’m not envious. I’d like to have some fun, sure.
“But would I change fun now for losing, or have no fun now and win? I’d rather have no fun now and win. Winning is fun.”