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April 08, 2010 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-04-08

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.comh

Thursday, April 8, 2010 -5A

Position battles aplenty
for 'M' in spring practice

Daily Sports Writer
While depth is a concern at
most positions for the Michigan
football team, running back is not
one of them.
The Wolver- NOTEBOOK
ines lost Bran-
don Minor and
Carlos Brown - the team's two
leading ballcarriers last year with
96 and 81 carries, respectively -
but they still have plenty of talent
at the position.
As of now, sophomore Mike Cox
and junior Michael Shaw are split-
ting the majority of the reps with
the first team. Shaw is more experi-
enced and had 29 more carries last
year'than Cox, but Cox made the
most of his opportunities - his 8.7
yards per carry led the team.
Michigan coach Rich Rodri-
guez said on Tuesday that the two
front-runners are relatively even.
"Mike Cox has been pretty
solid," Rodriguez said. "Mike
Shaw has had a couple really good
days and a couple days where we
expected more out of him, but he's
worked extremely hard."
Shaw and Cox are merely
two parts of what should be an
impressive running back triumvi-
rate with the addition of Vincent
Smith, who tore his ACL in Michi-
gan's final game last season and
has been limited in spring prac-
tice so far.
On top of that, even the fresh-
men are making an impression.
Rodriguez said freshman

are co;
could p
and w
said. "
to help
play sc
and str
the coa
some o
ning ba
rence R
ize the
tion, R
man C

n Hopkins and redshirt safety, was performing very well
an Fitzgerald Toussaint in his debut at the position.
ming into their own and "There's no question that move
lay a significant role in the was one of the better moves we've
e. made, personnel-wise," Rodri-
phen Hopkins is a big guy, guez said. "I think he's a natural
e needed a big back with there."
on) Minor and (Kevin) Sophomore Vlad Emilien's
graduating," Rodriguez sprained knee has hurt the team's
And I think, even as a true depth, but Rodriguez has confi-
an coming in early, is going dence in redshirt sophomore Jor-
him get some chances to dan Kovacs's ability to play either
me in that role. ... (Tous- safety position.
has had a very productive Still, Rodriguez said "comfort-
I think he's gotten bigger able" wouldn't be the word to
describe the Wolverines' situation
at safety.
"We have concerns at the safety
afety is) not a position," Rodriguez said. "It's not
a position where we feel solid at
)sition where the two-deep."
e feel solid at junior Will Heininger tore his
ACL in practice last week and will
ie two-deep" undergo surgery.
Rodriguez speculated that
the defensive end may be able to
return by late September or early
onger, and his grasp of the October.
gets better each practice." Junior wideouts Martavious
riguez also mentioned that Odoms and Junior Hemingway
cching staffhas beei rotating are both working their way back
f the slot receivers to run- into practice after being out most
ack - redshirt junior Kelvin of the spring, and hope to be at full
and redshirt sophomore Ter- strength by the week's end. Sopho-
2obinson, in particular. more wide receiver Je'Ron Stokes,
ETIES: Asked to character- who injured his ankle two weeks
situation at the safety posi- ago, also hopes tobe back by then.
odriguez had one word: Redshirt sophomore Jared Van
going." Slyke, Emilien and redshirt fresh-
riguez said redshirt fresh- man Quinton Washington hope to
ameron Gordon, who was be back practicing sometime next
ed from wide receiver to week.

Senior Nick Urban drove in two runs with the bases loaded in the third inning of yesterday's 13-7 win over Central Michigan.
The two RBI ignited the rest of the Wolverines' offense, as Michigan scored six runs in the ning.
Blue defeats Central Michigan
in Ryan LaMarre 's return


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Daily Sports Writer
It was redshirt senior outfielder
Nick Urban who made the play
with the
bases C. MICHIGAN 7
loaded in MICHIGAN 13
the third
inning. He belted a line drive to
center field, bringing in both red-
shirt junior Anthony Toth and
sophomore Coley Crank for two
The stage for Urban's double
and the Wolverines' big third
inning was set up just before
Michigan began its six-run rally,
eventually culminating in its 13-7
win Central Michigan yesterday.
Toth started off the scoring with a
single to right center that brought
in freshman shortstop Derek
Dennis. A wild pitch by Chippe-
was left-hander Bryce Morrow
allowed freshman outfielder Pat-
rick Biondi to run in for the score.
"Usually, the team that scores
more than three runs in one
inning is going to come out with
the win," Michigan coach Rich
Maloney said. "So any time you
get the double is great. We were
struggling getting that man in
from third base and Nick was able
to do that for us."
With Toth on third and Crank

on second, it was the perfect time
for a big hit. Senior first baseman
Mike Dufek attempted, but struck
out looking and junior outfielder
Ryan LaMarre walked.
So, Urban provided the answer
when he drove home two runs.
Dennis and senior third baseman
Mike Kittle followed suit, tally-
ing one RBI each, and Michigan
ended the third inning with a five-
run lead.
But Central didn't let down,
responding with two quick runs
in the top of the fourth. With only
a three-run advantage, Michi-
gan switched up its pitchers in
an effort to hold off a Chippewa
Junior right-hander Travis
Smith took the mound in relief
of redshirt junior pitcher Matt
Although Smith didn't throw
particularly well, the Wolverines
still managed to get the next out
on a ground ball.
Michigan then scored two more
runs in the bottom of the fourth to
regain a comfortable lead. Both
teams scored another four runs,
but the Wolverine lead was never
in serious jeopardy.
LaMarre brought in one of
those Michigan runs on a single to
center field, in his first game back
in the lineup since late February

due to a broken thumb, which he
suffered against Texas Tech.
"It was a lot of fun to get out
there and get a few at-bats under
my belt before the weekend,"
LaMarre said. "Really, I just tried
to loosen things up, but it definite-
ly was a lot better than watching
the game."
As expected, LaMarre was a
little rusty to start, striking out on
his first at-bat. But he showed his
resiliency by getting a hit, a run
and an RBI on the day.
"Ryan hasn't seen any game
pitches in five or six weeks," Malo-
ney said. "He has been hitting at
balls thrown by me in practice,
but by no means are those break-
ing balls."
While he may not be at 100 per-
cent, LaMarre is making progress.
He was fortunate to return to the
lineup against Central - a team
that is not a Big Ten competitor,
but has established a recent histo-
ry with the Wolverines. Michigan
has lost two games to the Chippe-
was in the past two seasons.
"We haven't beat Central since
I've been here, so it was good,"
LaMarre said. "These games are
kind of tough, especially when
you don't know, with the weather,
if you're going to be able to play or
not. It was good focus and we just
got on top early and stayed there."


e-mail rkartje@umich.edu

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