Whew. That was close. The Wolverine faithful are hoping
for a much better showing on Saturday against Bowling
Green. The defense will have to improve, but look for the
man they call Flash Dilithium to run roughshod over the
DAILY FOOTBALL BEAT
Nicole Auerbach, Ryan Kartje, Tim Rohan and Joe Stapleton
TABLE OF CONTENTS
BREAKDOWN: The football beat breaks down
every aspect of Saturday's matchup with Bowl-
ing Green --
MIGHTY MIKE MARTIN: The story of the most
consistent member of Michigan's struggling
8GAME PREVIEW: Michigan's defense will have
its hands full against the Falcons, especially if it
plays like it did last week. And, uh, who will kick
Connecticut (Sept. 4): Denard ran all over
UConn. He proved he could pass the ball too.
Notre Dame (Sept. 11): After UConn, the ND
game was Denard's encore on steroids, with a
Massachusetts (Sept. 18): Michigan squeaked
by the Minutemen last weekend, winning by less -./OS
than a touchdown. A win is a win is a win.
Bowling Green (Sept. 25): Michigan's defense
was thrown into question vs. Massachusetts. It
will have a lot to prove aginst the Falcons.
Indiana (Oct. 2): If Michigan wins a close one
done the stretch again, we fully expect Bill Lynch
to top last year's gum-throwing sideline stunt.
Michigan State (Oct. 9): Mark Dantonio seems
to be in good health after a scary heart attack juste
after the Spartans' win over Notre Dame.
Iowa (Oct. 16): Iowa's Adrian Clayborn may be
the Big Ten's closest replacement for BG. That's
a problem only if he can catch Shoelace.
Penn State (Oct. 30): PSU has a freshman QB.
Michigan knows what that's like. 'Nuff said.
Illinois (Nov. 6): Ron Zook is probably the only
coach in the nation who makes RichRod feel like
his job is secure.
Purdue (Nov. 13): Danny Hope did something
last season RichRod would kill for: beat OSU.
Now, they actually have a quarterback.
Wisconsin (Nov. 20): The Badgers basically
return their entire team. But hey, their last visit
to the Big House went pretty well for Michigan.
Ohio State (Nov. 27): Who knows, maybe
Terrelle Pryor and OSU will have to try and derail
Michigan's title hopes.
Cover illustration by Max Collins
Center spread design by Sarah Squire
The Daily football writers do their
best to predict what happens Nicole
in the 2010 football season.
Tim Joe MSA President (
Rohan Stapleton Chris Armstrong
No. 21 Michigan (-20) vs. Bowling Green
No.1 Alabama (-4) at No.10 Arkansas
No. 2 Ohio State(-42) vs. Eastern Michigan
No. 3 Boise St. (-16) vs. No.24 Oregon St.
No. 4 TCU (-16) at Southern Methodist
No. 5 Oregon (-10.5) at Arizona St.
No. 6 Nebraska (NS) vs. South Dakota St.
No.7Texas (-21) vs. UCLA
No. 8 Oklahoma (-13) at Cincinnati
No. 9 Florida (-16) vs. Kentucky
No.11 Wisconsin (NS) vs. Austin Peay
No.12 South Carolina (+3) at No.17 Auburn
No.13 Utah (-29) vs. San Jose St.
No.14 Arizona (-4.5) vs. California
No.15 LSU (-5) vs. No. 22 West Virginia
No.16 Stanford (-1) vs. Notre Dame
No.18 Iowa (-28) vs. Ball State
No.19 Miami (+1) at Pittsburgh
No. 20 USC (-22) at Washington St.
No. 23 Penn St. (-15) vs. Temple
No. 25 MSU (NS) vs. Northern Colorado
Northwestern (-7.5) vs. Central Michigan
Indiana (-15) vs. Akron
Purdue (-11) vs. Toledo
Minnesota (-5) vs. Northern Illinois
"No, he's going to get that educa-
tion," Barry tells them.
Mike always had a soft spot for
Lloyd Carr - ever since that 1997
National Championship game. So on
the day of his official visit to Michi-
gan, Mike sat in awe of the former
Michigan coach. He committed that
He still has a football with an
inscription that reads, "To: Mike, a
Michigan man," signed Lloyd Carr.
So when Carr decided to retire
right before Mike's freshman season
at Michigan, everything started to
unravel. Mike re-opened his recruit-
ment and schools barraged him with
calls. Michigan State and Notre Dame
were hot in pursuit.
Eventually, Notre Dame coaches
were coming to the Detroit Medical
Center, where Theresa worked as a
nurse, and Barry in plant operations.
The Fighting Irish's then-defen-
sive coordinator Corwin Brown and
another defensive coach talked to
Mike's parents about an official visit
at Notre Dame.
When Mike went to visit his girl-
friend at Michigan State, the recruit-
ers would see him and call him to slyly
ask why he was in East Lansing. The
Spartans were trying to get Mike to
take an official visit, too.
He was still undecided when he
drove up to Michigan State with
Coach Mack and his parents to attend
an Elite 8 players banquet at the
Kresge Building. On the way home,
the conversation shifted to Mike's
Mack notices that when Mike
referred to Michigan, he'd say "my
team," and "my school."
Coach Mack caught the slip up.
"What did you just say?" he recalls
Mike never made it to South Bend
or East Lansing.
Mike Rodriguez sees Mike put his
wrestling techniques to good use every
fall Saturday afternoon in a Michi-
gan football uniform. He's seen all of
Mike's 80 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss
and five sacks that have come in his
first two-plus years as a Wolverine.
To most who watch him, it's as if he
puts on a cape and accomplishes what
mere mortals only dream of.
After his rough loss, Mike didn't
quit wrestling. He didn't let his emo-
tions get the best of him - he stuck it
Soon after that first match, Rodri-
guez sat Mike down. Mike was
beginning to grasp the technique of
wrestling, but there was something
else this heavyweight had to hear.
"The biggest downfall that wres-
tlers have - especially heavyweights
- is fear," Mike Rodriguez said. "So
whenyou getover fear there's nothing
you can't do."
Mike had to unleash himself,just as
he had done in football.
"How many times did your mother
tell you from the time you're (little)
until (now), don't hurt him because
you're so much bigger than everybody
else," Rodriguez asked him.
"All the time coach," Mike respond-
"So that just stays in your mind,"
Rodriguez said. "You need to be phys-
Another piece had fallen into place.
Mighty Mike Martin was starting to
understand - he could be unstoppable.
But he had to work at it. He under-
stood what it took to get to that point
in life. Nothing had come easy for
him. He could be a superhero, sure,
but by way of his own power. Not by
a magical potin or a wave of a wand.
So Rodriguez and wrestling coach-
in-waiting Mitch Hancock taught
Mike how to change levels - which
helps Mike get underneath an oppo-
nent and explode. Rodriguez also
taught Mike how to use his hips to his
In December of his junior year,
Mike used his newfound knowledge
to take the No. 7 wrestler in the coun-
try into overtime. And even though
Mike lost, 2-1, Rodriguez knew right
then and there, he would be Michi-
gan's state heavyweight champ. He
did just that - in just his first year
competing in the sport.
And he defended that title in his
Now, Mike is tormenting opposing
quarterbacks. Michigan coach Rich
Rodriguez knows how valuable Mike
is on this year's defense.
"Mike has been outstanding,"
Rodriguez says. "He's played an awful ines' defense has rewritten the record
lot for a nose guard and getting a lot books, and not in a good way.
of double teams. He's probably been Michigan has a superhero who can
our most consistent defender all three help lead the turn the defense around
games." - Mighty Mike Martin is on the job.
But if you asked Mike, he would just Mike's been here before. He's been
want to talk about the team - a group the big kid on the football team who
that was 8-16 in Mike's first two years. doesn't know he needs to be aggres-
"It was real rough," Mike says. sive. He's been the shot putter who
"Michigan, the program, coach Rod, threw 38 feet. He's been overwhelmed
we've been through the fire. During with tough decisions before. He's
it, it did suck because my class was the been frustrated learning a new sport.
first class that didn't go to a bowl game In life, there have been moments
and a losingseason.... (But) it's made us when the world has begged him to
stronger and closer as a team." quit. Mike has taken those obstacles
Michigan has been dragged head on, picked them up and slammed
through the lowest of the lows - them to the mat. He's become a state
especially on defense. The Wolver- champion, a saxophonist, and even an
Mike Martin was a well-versed dog handler and saxophonist before
ame to the Wolveri
nes in 2008.
award-winning dog handler. And for
what? To be the best in whatever he
"You can see that in him even now,
he has not changed," Mike Rodriguez
says. "I'd hate to be the man in front of
him in whatever he does. Because the
guy believes in himself and he has no
fear. When you see an athlete has no
fear, he can just go through you. How
many times do you see him going, and
they have two, three people on him.
He's tenacious. When you get that
mindset, it's unbelievable what you
Those who know Mighty Mike
Martin best still don't know what he's
capable of doing next.
To apply to be a guest picker, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. If you're chosen and can beat at least two of us, you'll stay on for another week. The longest-tenured guest picker will geta prize at the end of the season.
2B ( FootballSaturday, September 25, 2010
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