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  1. #1
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    Michigan's Long's preparations intense

    U-M's Long's preparations intense
    Mike O'Hara / The Detroit News
    Tuesday, February 19, 2008

    Jake Long has been working out like never before -- double sessions five days a week, a single workout on Saturday, rest on Sunday.

    Long studies film, runs, lifts weights and does drills to improve his technique to play offensive tackle.

    The focus is different from what Long did in four years as a starter at Michigan. There is no game plan to face a pass rusher.

    Long has spent the last seven weeks at a training center in Tempe, Ariz., preparing for the NFL combine in Indianapolis this week. In short, Long has practiced drills to be at his best to do drills for the pro scouts.

    "It's definitely different," Long said over the telephone.

    "You're watching film on how you're running, doing drills or things like that. You're not watching game film, practice film, getting ready to play football. It takes a little while getting used to it."

    This is a time when college football prospects run, jump and lift for dollars.

    Long, 6-foot-7 and 315 pounds, is rated by most analysts as the top tackle in the draft, April 26-27. He is certain to be a top-10 pick. Some projections have Kansas City taking him fifth overall.

    In his analysis for ESPN, Todd McShay called Long one of the prospects who "make scouting look easy."

    Long has not taken anything for granted. Soon after Michigan beat Florida in the Capital One Bowl, Long signed with agent Tom Condon, whose clients include Peyton and Eli Manning, and headed to the Athletes Performance facility in Arizona.

    Details count

    Long has followed a detailed program that includes everything from nutrition to stretching.

    "I'm trying to get as strong as I can, and trying to get as lean I can," Long said. "Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all mapped out. You have a certain amount of calories. I've really followed that.

    "I've been working on quickness. There are a lot of the combine drills that we see and go through. We've practiced the Wonderlic test."

    Because of the dollars involved in rookie contracts, it makes sense for a player to maximize his draft position.

    Last year's draft was an example of a draft position's financial impact.

    Tackle Joe Thomas of Wisconsin went to Cleveland with the third pick and signed a contract that included almost $23 million in guaranteed money.

    Levi Brown of Penn State went to Arizona on the fifth pick and got a deal that included $18 million in guarantees.

    The combine is one part of the equation used by NFL talent evaluators. Game performance, all-star games, film study, personal interviews, physical exams and investigation into character are other components.

    There has been a change in attitude toward combine workouts by players and agents in recent years. More top players are doing combine drills instead of waiting for their "Pro Day" workouts on campus.

    Long plans to do all the drills.

    "I think I need to go there and show people what I can do," Long said. "If I do well enough at the combine, I won't have to do them at the Pro Day."

    Michigan's Pro Day is in March.

    Why U-M mattered

    Long was heavily recruited out of Lapeer East High School. He chose U-M because of its tradition of developing offensive linemen for the NFL.

    The 2001 draft was a windfall for Michigan linemen. Steve Hutchinson (Seattle) and Jeff Backus (Detroit) were first-round picks. Jacksonville took Maurice Williams in the second round. David Brandon made Washington's roster as a rookie free agent, and all four started on opening day.

    Brandon had a short career, but Hutchinson, Williams and Backus have been full-time starters.

    "That's one of the biggest reasons I went to Michigan," Long said.

    "They've produced so many great offensive linemen. I knew if I went there, I'd get the best coaching. They'd turn me into the best linemen I could be."

    Long's senior season was a disappointment. Quarterback Chad Henne, running back Mike Hart and Long came back for their senior year with a goal of winning a national championship.

    Losses to Appalachian State and Oregon in the first two games ended any chance of winning a championship. Michigan got some salvation by beating Florida in the Capital One Bowl.

    Long's last two plays at Michigan were the "Victory" play -- kneel-downs by Henne to run out the clock. The experience was surreal, with the reality his college experience was ending before his eyes.

    "It was weird looking around, realizing it was the last time," Long said. "Around now, it's starting to sink in again for me. We're not going to go back and see those guys.

    "You've you got to move on. That's what it's all about."


  2. #2
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    Re: Michigan's Long's preparations intense

    Nice story and I wish him all the luck, but unless something's wrong with Pace, I hope that we don't see him in a Rams uniform.

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    Re: Michigan's Long's preparations intense

    If he shows quicker feet at the combine he might impress a little bit. He is starting to grow on me a little more, if Chris Long is gone and we can't trade down i wouldn't be extremely mad if we took him.But Chris Long is still by far # 1 for me

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    Re: Michigan's Long's preparations intense

    Quote Originally Posted by 39thebeast View Post
    If he shows quicker feet at the combine he might impress a little bit. He is starting to grow on me a little more, if Chris Long is gone and we can't trade down i wouldn't be extremely mad if we took him.But Chris Long is still by far # 1 for me
    Well said, I think that this accurately expresses what I'm thinking currently. I've also been thinking that if Long grades out well at LT AND shows the abitily to play OG, we could take him and start him at guard and wait and see what happens with Pace and Barron. At least that way our first pick can get on the field. Just some thoughts....

    WHAT SAY YE?

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    Re: Michigan's Long's preparations intense

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMarkable View Post
    Well said, I think that this accurately expresses what I'm thinking currently. I've also been thinking that if Long grades out well at LT AND shows the abitily to play OG, we could take him and start him at guard and wait and see what happens with Pace and Barron. At least that way our first pick can get on the field. Just some thoughts....

    WHAT SAY YE?
    But if we're convinced he can't beat out Pace and Barron at his natural position, why would we think he could, on day 1, beat out Setterstrom and Incognito?
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Michigan's Long's preparations intense

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    But if we're convinced he can't beat out Pace and Barron at his natural position, why would we think he could, on day 1, beat out Setterstrom and Incognito?
    Because neither Setterstrom nor Incognito are at the same level at their position as Pace is/has been at his, IMO.

    I for one am not convinced he can't beat out Alex Barron to be the starting right tackle of this team, though. There's also been some mild talk about moving Barron inside, for whatever that's worth.

    I think the point regarding Long potentially moving inside to guard is for those that claim our top pick has to make an immediate impact. Long certainly can if we want to try him at a couple different spots.

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    Re: Michigan's Long's preparations intense

    I think it would be easier for him to beat out Setterstrom and Cogs, than to beat out a FHOF in Pace and a former first round pick in Barron

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    Re: Michigan's Long's preparations intense

    Quote Originally Posted by 39thebeast View Post
    I think it would be easier for him to beat out Setterstrom and Cogs, than to beat out a FHOF in Pace and a former first round pick in Barron
    Quote Originally Posted by Nick
    Because neither Setterstrom nor Incognito are at the same level at their position as Pace is/has been at his, IMO.
    I don't know that I'm sold on that notion. Is Pace back? 100%? 90%....80%? Pace "has been" great, and is a "future" HOFer.......but what's he got in the tank now?

    Personally, I think he has more chance of taking the RT spot from Barron than he does taking LG from Sett or RG from Cogs.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Michigan's Long's preparations intense

    That's good that he's working hard and becoming a better player. The team who drafts him is going to be lucky. But fortunately, it's not us.

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    Re: Michigan's Long's preparations intense

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick View Post
    Because neither Setterstrom nor Incognito are at the same level at their position as Pace is/has been at his, IMO.

    I for one am not convinced he can't beat out Alex Barron to be the starting right tackle of this team, though. There's also been some mild talk about moving Barron inside, for whatever that's worth.

    I think the point regarding Long potentially moving inside to guard is for those that claim our top pick has to make an immediate impact. Long certainly can if we want to try him at a couple different spots.
    I have a couple of comments to this:

    1.) I don't think there is any way possible that Barron could play inside in the NFL. It's pretty much well known that he doesn't like to lift weights and he has never struck me as a very physical kind of player anyway. Therefore, Jake Long would probably project much better to the inside (albeit likely not his best position either) than Barron.

    2.) "...for those that claim our top pick has to make an immediate impact." When Billy Devaney was hired I believe in his initial news conference he said almost those exact words (or something very close to them). I think the Rams will NOT select anybody at #2 unless he's projected to be an immediate starter somewhere on opening day. Again, therefore, Jake Long at guard must be a viable option or we're not taking him- at least at #2.

    WHAT SAY YE?

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    Re: Michigan's Long's preparations intense

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMarkable View Post
    1.) I don't think there is any way possible that Barron could play inside in the NFL. It's pretty much well known that he doesn't like to lift weights and he has never struck me as a very physical kind of player anyway. Therefore, Jake Long would probably project much better to the inside (albeit likely not his best position either) than Barron.
    I tend to agree, but it's worth mentioning that it was talked about by more than just fans.

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMarkable View Post
    2.) "...for those that claim our top pick has to make an immediate impact." When Billy Devaney was hired I believe in his initial news conference he said almost those exact words (or something very close to them). I think the Rams will NOT select anybody at #2 unless he's projected to be an immediate starter somewhere on opening day. Again, therefore, Jake Long at guard must be a viable option or we're not taking him- at least at #2.
    RebelYell was the one who filled me in on those comments, and his account was that Devaney said they don't want to take a project at that spot and if the person isn't able to step in immediately then he isn't worth the pick. But again, Long can step in immediately - either by competing at right tackle or at either guard position. I would be shocked if he couldn't win any of those three jobs. He's certainly not a project either; I would contend playing as much as he did against Big Ten competition makes him about as NFL ready as anyone.

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    Re: Michigan's Long's preparations intense

    I agree that Barron moving to the inside isn't exactly inspiring because of his lack of interest in lifting weights, but would it be such a crazy idea to put Pace there? Other than him being an incredible obstacle for the QB to see around, it might be a way for him to maximize his ability at this point in time. He seems to be slowing down, but he doesn't seem to be getting weaker (assuming the injury heals up fine). Being on the inside of the line might reduce the number of blitz pickups he has to worry about, limit his need for quickness, and put an absolute beast in the middle of our line.

    I'm not crazy about the idea, but if we're going to talk about moving Barron then this doesn't strike me as being such an odd idea.

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