Giles Jackson awoke Wednesday morning to the sound of his phone.
It was around 9:30 a.m., and the notifications were constant from the group chat he participates in with Michigan football's other wide receivers.
The reason for all the messages: The Wolverines' season had been revived and play would begin the weekend of Oct. 24
On Thursday, Jackson recounted how he learned of the Big Ten's news. And he grinned as he described how his teammates reacted.
“We were all super excited," Jackson said. "You could tell, the whole thing with practice changed. The intensity went up. We were all just having fun.
“More adrenaline. Usually we would just be going through the motions. But we have a season, so we were all having fun, playing with speed, 100%.”
Jackson and linebacker Josh Ross were still riding an emotional high as they spoke to reporters via Zoom on Thursday. The team's excitement even carried into a meeting with defensive coordinator Don Brown on Wednesday.
"He just said one thing: 'Nothing can ruin my mood right now, I'm so excited,' " Ross said. "And we feel the same way. We're all so excited and we've been itching to play practicing super hard for the past couple months. We're ready to go and show what we we really can do."
While Jackson learned of the news from his teammates, Ross found out via Twitter. He had already been tuned into the situation. He had been hoping the Big Ten would reverse course after indefinitely delaying all fall sports Aug. 11, and by Wednesday "definitely thought it was going to happen."
"I found it very preposterous that people are still playing and we're not playing out of a lot of big conferences, Power Five conferences," Ross said. "So I definitely was hopeful and I definitely thought it needed to happen and would happen. And it did."
Ross and Jackson understand their new season is contingent on the overall health of the team and adherence to COVID-19 protocols. Per the Big Ten, any player who receives a positive diagnosis will be sidelined for at least 21 days. And practices and games could be canceled if a COVID-19 outbreak sweeps through the program and the community at rates of 5% and 7.5%, respectively.
"You wanna hear the first thing I thought when they said that?" Ross said. "I'm not leaving my house unless I'm in (Schembechler Hall). That's the first thing I thought. I'm not leaving. I'm not going anywhere. Of course, if I got class.
"But other than that, I'm in my apartment. 'Cause that's outrageous. That's ridiculous. And that can potentially ruin not only the person's season but the team's season. So be safe, wear a mask and stay home."
Big Ten teams will play a nine-game schedule that includes a cross-divisional game during championship week — an idea that was suggested by Jim Harbaugh. The updated schedule is expected to be announced this week.
"I think it's constructed very well," Ross said of the schedule. "Especially that ninth-game, that cross-play type of game, it gives everybody the opportunity to get a ninth game in and compete. I love the way they constructed the schedule, and I can't wait to play in it."
Fans will not be able to attend games this season, the Big Ten said Wednesday. The only exception may be for family members of players.
The fan-less games will be an adjustment for Michigan, which boasts the largest college stadium in the nation and has led the NCAA in average attendance every year under Harbaugh.
"I've thought about it a little tiny bit, but at the end of the day, I just wanna play," Ross said. "Regardless if (there's) people in the stands, we could be playing in Schembechler (Hall), I just wanna play at the end of the day. It might be a little weird, but it don't matter. We wanna go out there and play and hit."
For Ross, a physical inside linebacker, hitting other players may be what he misses most. The Wolverines have not had full-padded practices in months. And they have not played a game since January 1, when they lost to Alabama in the Citrus Bowl.
Contact practices will return at the end of the month. And competition will resume shortly after that. For Ross and his teammates, the wait for college football is nearly over.
"We've been going at it for the past couple months really hard and been taking it really seriously despite the season getting canceled," Ross said. "And we're having a season. We've been even-keeled and know whenever we step on that field, it's going to be a problem for the opponent."
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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan football players up the intensity after Big Ten's reboot