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September 15, 2009 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-09-15

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8 - Tuesday, September 15, 2009
THE GREAT
RATE
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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

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,UWAI t
'M' players from Florida and
Texas are battling to see which
talent-rich state is the fastest.

By ANDY REID 40-yard dash speed Saturday, split-
Daily Sports Editor ting the Notre Dame kickoff unit
and racing 92 yards for the Wolver-
There's a new rivalry brewing on ines' first kick-return touchdown
the Michigan football team, and it since former Michigan return
has nothing to do with Columbus, specialist Steve Breaston took one
South Bend or East Lansing. back in 2005.
In fact, it's a chasm that's been For the electrifying touchdown,
widening within the team as Stonum received Big Ten Special
coach Rich Rodriguez continues Teams Player of the Week Honors.
to recruit heavily in talent-rich "I know where the wedge is
Southern states. But before you supposed to open up, and the kick
start thinking about any rumors of return guys did an excellent job of
team disharmony like those raised opening up that wedge," he said. "I
in Detroit Free Press allegations - just knew I had to make one guy
this is actually quite the opposite. miss, the kicker, and if I got tackled
States like Florida and Texas by the kicker, then I didn't need to
are known for producing some of be out there."
the fastest recruits in the coun- The wide receiver laughed after
try. And Wolverine athletes from his pseudo-dig on the 10 Wol-
those respective states are locked verines from the Sunshine State.
in a battle to prove that their native Senior punter Zoltan Mesko said
brethren are faster. the team is much closer and feels
"Texas has speed," sopho- more camaraderie this year - and
more Darryl Stonum, a native of this "rivalry" is an example of that.
Stafford, Texas, said after Satur- Junior safety and Sugar Land,
day's game. "All these Florida boys Texas native Troy Woolfolk said
up here talking about speed, Texas the rivalry used to be a three-state
has some too." race, but Texas, which boasts five
Stonum showcased his own 4.4 players on the Michigan roster,

and Florida have clearly distanced
themselves.
"There's the top three fastest
states in the nation: there's Califor-
nia, Texas and Florida," Woolfolk
said. "And California, we already
beat all them, so now there's
Texas and Florida, and you got all
the Florida boys up here claiming
they're the fastest, and the Texas
boys know the truth."
The competition also turns to
the track, because most if not all of
the Texas and Florida teammates
ran track in high school. Woolfolk
is also a sprinter on the Michigan
track and field team.
"There's some fast guys from
Florida, and there's some fast
guys from Texas," said sopho-
more wideout Martavious Odoms,
who hails from Pahokee, Fla. "You
know, there's one in each position
group, so there's always someone
who thinks he's the fastest guy on
the team."
Odoms, who runs a 4.5 40-yard
dash, also added that he should
probably be one of the fastest guys
on the team when asked if he was

high on the list.
One inevitable result of the
Texas-Florida battle is a footrace
between freshman quarterback
Denard Robinson and Woolfolk,
who was arguably the fastest man
on the roster before Robinson
came to Ann Arbor from his home
in Deerfield Beach, Fla.
"Yeah, that's something I would
like to see," Odoms said.
Back in March, Robinson, who
was still in high school at the time,
had Michigan fans all giddy when
he ran a 10.44 in the 100-meter
dash, the second-fastest time
recorded in the country.
"I was kind of disappointed in
myself to run a 10.44, but I will
accept that," Robinson told the
Miami Herald after the race. "Run-
ning the No. 2 time in the nation is
pretty good. I was trying to run a
10.3, but there was strong wind. I'm
working harder on it and expect to
hit a10.3 by states."
He did reach the sub-10.3 mark
at states, but that time is in dispute,
because it was allegedly hand-
timed.

And of course, there was also
that 43-yard sprint to the end zone
in the Western Michigan game,
the one where Robinson picked up
his fumble, broke to the sideline,
slipped a tackle, cut back in and
slipped through two defenders on
his way to a touchdown - all in
under 10 seconds.
"He's fast," quarterbacks coach
Rod Smith uttered at Michigan
Media Day. "He, well, he's, he's
fast."
So it sounds like Woolfolk has
every reason to be worried.
After all, Woolfolk, a 2008 First
Team All-Big Ten honoree in track,
boasts a personal-best 10.58 in the
100-meter dash. That's a whopping
.14 seconds slower than Robinson's
official personal best.
When asked if the race had hap-
pened yet, Woolfolk sighed, and
said, "Man, I knew that would
come up eventually."
No matter how hesitant Wool-
folk sounded, the safety's cockiness
eventually made an appearance.
"I tell the linebackers every day
in practice to let him loose so I can

try and catch him to prove a point,
but they're too aggressive, and that
never happens," Woolfolk said.
"But I'd love to race him, and one
day we're going to plan a day for us
to race, to clear all the questions
and doubts.
"I'm not sure (who'd win) - he's
fast. I'm not going to say I'll beat
him. I'm not gonna say I'll lose. Put
it like that."
Woolfolk couldn't help adding a
little quip about Robinson, who's
known for playing with his shoes
untied.
"I keep my shoelaces tied very
tight, extra tight, (my) feet turn
purple," he said.
The rivalry that has sparked is,
of course, all in good fun and a way
for teammates to participate in a
little extracurricular competition
- but each side really does want to
be the fastest.
"It's a playful thing, but at the
same time, we really mean it,"
Woolkfolk said. "So anytime they
want to race, we'll put our runners
on the block and we'll take that win
(over the Florida guys) with ease."

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Rodriguez hopeful for league-wide injury reports a

Weekly NFL-style
reports could
potentially curb
sports gambling
By RUTH LINCOLN
Daily Sports Editor
Michigan coach Rich Rodri-
guez's impact on the Big Ten could
go beyond the playing field.
At last spring's conference
coaches' meeting, Rodriguez pro-
posed the Big Ten come out with an
NFL-style weekly injury report.
"I didn't stand on the table
and pound my fists or anything,"
Rodriguez recalled. "I just thought

it was a good idea, and most of my
colleagues did at the same time."
Such reports are useful infor-
mation for media and fans, but
perhaps more importantly, they
mitigate behind-the-scenes
scheming in sports gambling.
Rodriguez's
suggestion didn't NOTEBOOK
become league
policy, but individual teams can
adopt the measure on their own
terms.
The Wolverines released their
first-ever injury report last Thurs-
day before their game against the
Fighting Irish.
Northwestern adopted the pol-
icy last season, and Indiana also
currently releases weekly injury
updates.

Of the six major NCAA con-
ferences, just the Atlantic Coast
Conference releases a league-wide
report. Conference bloggers for
ESPN.com will often assemble
lists from various news sources
and collegeinjuryreport.com, a
free service which compiles inju-
ries from across the country.
If gamblers manage to learn
through unauthorized sources
which athletes are injured and to
what extent, they can gain an ill-
gotten advantage.
A 2003 USA Today story on
online sports gambling cited a
study conducted by the NCAA in
1998 that found that of 758 Michi-
gan student-athletes surveyed, 35
percent had participated in sports
gambling and five percent of male

ae iC igan ail RPRESENTS

college athletes "had either pro-
vided inside information for gam-
bling purposes, bet on their own
games or accepted money to play
poorly."
As college football coverage has
increased in recent years, so have
the stakes.
"That's a great fear for all of us
coaches is people that don't have
the best interest of the young men
at heart, maybe they'll ask some-
body, 'Hey, how's so and so doing?'
" Rodriguez said. "And we've told
our team, if it's outside our team
and your family, outside your fam-
ily asking about you, you don't talk
about that, because of that very
same reason.
"I think the policy protects the
young men, it protects the pro-
gram, and to me there's not much
you can do about it anyways. The
guy's shoulder is dislocated - it's
dislocated. It's not going to change
from tomorrow to today."
DENARD STAYING PUT: It
might seem tempting, but fresh-
man quarterback Denard Rob-
inson won't be using his blazing
speed on the Wolverines' return
team.
Although it seems his speed
could be used elsewhere, like as
it was at slot receiver on a couple
occasions against Western Michi-
gan, Rodriguez confirmed yester-
day that Robinson will continue
practicing at quarterback.
Despite freshman signal caller
Tate Forcier's dominance Satur-
day, Forcier, Robinson and redshirt
junior Nick Sheridan all still share
the No. 1 spot on the Wolverines'
depth chart.
"Robinson's a quarterback, and
he's going to play a big role for us
at quarterback this year and prob-
ably for several years to come,"
Rodriguez said. "Everybody wants
to anoint someone after two weeks
and, Tate played well, but Den-
ard's played well, too, and he's had
a chance."
MOOSMAN OUT: The Wolver-
ines will be without right guard
David Moosman this Saturday

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SAIDALSALAH/daily
Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said that Denard Robinson will stay at quarterback.

against Eastern Michigan. Against
Notre Dame, the fifth-year senior
left the game in the fourth quarter
with a shoulder injury.
Last Saturday, right tackle Mark
Hugye slid over to cover Moos-
man's spot and left tackle Perry
Dorrestein replaced Hugye on the
right side.
Rodriguez mentioned right
guard John Ferrara or left guards
Elliott Mealer and Ricky Barnum
as possible replacements or mov-
ing Hugye over again.
"We rep our twos as much as
our ones on offense," Rodriguez
said. "Lots of people give their
first team maybe four or five reps
and the second team two reps.

We make it equal. Again, our pace
allows us to do that. But I think
it also helps develop our second
team."
AWARDS UPDATE: Forcier's
240 yards and two touchdowns on
22-of-33 passing Saturday earned
him the Davey O'Brien Founda-
tion's Quarterback of the Week
award. The award automatically
adds Forcier to the O'Brien Watch
List, which recognizes the nation's
top quarterback.
Six other quarterbacks received
votes this week, including South-
ern Cal's Matt Barkley and Central
Michigan's Dan LeFevour.
Forcier was also named Big Ten
Offensive Player of the Week.

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