Monday, December 18, 2017
Colleges

Tony Dungy speaks to Michigan as Wolverines prepare for Outback Bowl

TAMPA — Before engaging in a two-hour workout in cloudless, crisp weather Thursday at Jesuit High, Michigan's players found themselves assembled around a prominent alum of a Big Ten rival.

Tony Dungy, who played quarterback at Minnesota from 1973-76, spoke to the Wolverines in an appearance setup by Michigan football media relations director Justin Dickens. Dungy and Dickens worked together five years in the Indianapolis Colts organization.

"Justin and Tony have a close relationship, and when you have a resource who understands about the game and preparing men for life, I think it's to an advantage for us to have him come in," Wolverines coach Brady Hoke said.

The gist of Dungy's message? "We'll keep that among the team," Hoke added. "It was power­ful though."

NO REGRETS: Odds are, South Carolina fourth-year junior QB Andrew Clifford won't step on the field Tuesday once pregame drills conclude. Yet the seldom-used former Wharton High star said he wouldn't trade his four years in Columbia for anything.

A 2,200-yard passer as a Wharton senior in 2008, Clifford has thrown five passes — completing three — in his college career.

A onetime Gators devotee and son of a former University of Florida player, he signed with South Carolina after a whirlwind courtship with Steve Spurrier, who needed a QB early in 2009 after Chris Smelley transferred.

"I wouldn't replace anything, especially being a part of all the firsts that we've accomplished at our school," said Clifford, who graduated in May with a degree in sports/entertainment management. "I wouldn't do anything different."

MCQUAY STOPS BY: Among the visitors to Michigan's practice was four-star Armwood safety Leon McQuay III, who said the Wolverines remain among his five college finalists. McQuay, also considering Southern Cal, Oregon, Florida State and Vanderbilt, reaffirmed that he'll announce his choice at the Jan. 4 Under Armour Game at Tropicana Field.

ODDS AND ENDS: Michigan has played (and lost to) the Associated Press' top three teams — No. 1 Notre Dame, No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Ohio State — on the road this year. … Hoke shed no new light on the 2013 status of All-Big Ten punter Will Hagerup, suspended from the Outback Bowl for a violation of team rules. … In the bad-omen department, South Carolina is practicing at Jefferson High, same site it used prior to its 31-10 drubbing at the hands of Iowa in the 2009 Outback Bowl.

NUMBER OF THE DAY: 4,700 pounds of food prepared for both teams and their traveling parties at Wednesday's Outback Steakhouse Team Welcome Dinner at the A La Carte Pavilion. That included 750 pounds of sirloin steak and 1,200 pounds of cheesecake.

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