From Page 5B
that passion out of Mike.
Hattie coached Mike during his
fifth-and-sixth grade years on the JV
team. He saw from the start that Mike
was a good kid, a sponge you fill up
with information and wring out when
the games started.
But this big kid wasn't being physi-
cal enough to put his size to good use.
"When he found out that he could
block or knock some kid down - and
that was a good thing - he became
really, really good at it," Hattie says.
"He was very emotional, which
actually worked to his advantage
because he didn't like to make mis-
takes. When he did, he got down on
himself, but not to the point where he
would shut down. The next play, he
would go back in there and make the
While being big had its advantages,
Mike also had to worry about being
too big to play - his kryptonite early
on. The CYO weight limit for the area
was 165 pounds for a varsity player
and 135 for aJV player.
Mike wouldn't eat breakfast and
when he was on JV, he would wear
sweatpants and run laps around the
track before games to make weight.
He weighed 200 pounds in June
before his eighth grade year. By the
beginning of August, he had lost that
excess 35 pounds.
"He wouldn't eat because he
wanted to play so bad," Theresa said.
"That's when I knew he was serious."
During Mike's freshman year at
Catholic Central, Eugene Grewe, the
track coach, found him in the weight
room and approached him with a
As the coach who dealt with shot
putters and discuss throwers, Grewe
sought big kids with good work ethic
in the weight room. Mike fit the mold.
The two talked about the possi-
bility of Mike joining the track team
that spring, but Mike told Grewe that
he was just too busy that year. Mike
promised him that he would throw
during his sophomore year.
Saying Mike was busy at that time
was an understatement. The fresh-
man was working on advancement
in boy scouts. He was also the No. 1
junior handler for the American Ken-
nel club in 2005.
"Everything he does, he's good at,"
Theresa says. "Everything he touched
turned to gold," Barry adds.
The dog handling was partly his
mother's doing. But he became so
good that he was at one point two
wins shy of making it to Westminster
- the pinnacle of dog shows.
Mike was a regular Johnny Col-
He picked up the alto saxophone
in elementary school, and performed
at school concerts. During his fresh-
man year at Catholic Central, Mike
marched with the band on Friday
night for the varsity game after play-
ing on the freshman team on Thurs-
Mike eventually made it to the track
team, keeping his promise to Grewe.
In his sophomore year, he had a slow
start with the shot put. He needed to
get his feet wet, just like in his
debut in football.
At his first meet, he threw
the shot 38 feet - "Which is not
horrible for a sophomore, but
for someone who became what
Mike became, it's a pretty meager
beginning," Grewe says. ~
By the end of the season, he threw
farther than 52 feet and was fifth in
the state in Division I in his first year
of competing. He was a state champi-
on the next two years, and his senior-
year throw of 63 feet, 9 niches came
within three inches of breaking T.J.
Duckett's all-time state record.
Grewe noticed that if he saw an
adjustment that would improve
Mike's craft, Mike could make that
adjustment in one practice. In high
school, it would take most a whole
season to adapt like that.
"His work ethic was just unbeliev-
able," Mike Rodriguez said. "I got
upset with him. We work hard and
then (Mike) was taking off and going
in the weight room getting ready for
track season doing the shot put. I fig-
ured he must not be giving 100 per-
cent in this room, because I worked
the hell out of him.
"In his mindset, he wanted to be
something special. And he was. ... In
anything he does, he wants to suc-
ceed and to excel. In order to do that,
he understands how hard he has to
Years later, at Michigan, Mike's
physique is marveled at by team-
mates and coaches. Other players talk
about his work ethic in the weight
room, and the results are on the field.
He has what football experts call a
"motor" - Mike doesn't stop work-
ing on the field.
"Mike Martin is just an animal out
there," sophomore linebacker Craig
Roh said. "He's the strongest person
I've ever seen in the weight room.
It's really showing on the field. He's
taking on double teams. (Against
Massachusetts), I think the play he
sacked the quarterback, he beat a
double team and sacked him. Which
is - stupid."
Every superhero has a sidekick.
Mighty Mike Martin had two - his
Barry and Theresa never married
after having Mike. He lived with his
mom and she took care of making him
breakfast in the morning and getting
him to school. His dad would pick him
up from school to hang out or go to
one of Mike's various activities.
Though they weren't together,
Mike saw both of his parents every
"That's all that mattered: we were
going to get this kid right, make him a
gentleman," Barry says. "That's what
he turned out to be."
Just last month, Mike couldn't
make his dad's birthday party on
August 20. So he and Barry's fian-
cee planned a surprise party. And
because Mike couldn't make it, he
made a video tribute wishing his
dad a happy birthday. It almost made
Barry cry. Everyone was "damn near
The maturation process really
started when he made the jump to
Catholic Central - an all-boys Cath-
olic high school in Novi, Michigan.
That's when everything began to click
"It teaches them how to be men,"
Theresa says. "Stuff that I could never
"Once he hit high school, he was
just so focused."
"I had people that did a good job
letting me know the right things and
how to do them," Mike said. "I was
around people I wanted to emulate:
their character, how they carried
themselves, just how friendly they
were to me. They just taught me a lot
of things that you just need someone
to show you the way."
At Catholic Central, he developed
many relationships that are still
important to him. Grewe and Babicz
and the rest of his support system
that he built there is still intact. Not
only were they mentors, but they
were Mike's friends. His varsity foot-
ball coach, Tom Mack, said that Mike
has the uncanny ability to relate with
adults and get along with his peers.
His senior year at Catholic Cen-
tral, Mike could have easily quit the
track team as the season extended
deep into the spring. He even missed
a spring break trip with his friends
because of track. He stayed commit-
ted. With great power came great
Now, people are already question-
ing whether Mike will stay all four
years at Michigan. They speculate
that he'll leave early for the NFL Draft
- but they don't know Mighty Mike
Martin very well.
Breakdown: After last week's scare, Blue
looks 'for Big Ten tune-up against Falcons
By RYAN KARTJE
After a serious hiccup last week
against Massachusetts, the Wolverines
know their defense will have to be sig-
nificantly better with Big Ten season
just on the horizon.
With Bowling Green coming to the
Big House this weekend, Michigan
gets another test game before the Big
Ten conference season starts next
weekend against Indiana.
Luckily for the Wolverines, Fal-
cons' quarterback Matt Schilz will
miss the game with a shoulder inju-
ry. In addition, speedy running back
Willie Geter has struggled in Bowl-
ing Green's first three games. But
these Michigan players, especially
those on defense, won't be gettingtoo
ahead of themselves when it comes to
a lesser opponent.
MICHIGAN RUN OFFENSE VS.
BOWLING GREEN RUN DEFENSE
Junior running back Mike Shaw had
his breakout performance last week,
scampering to a career high in touch-
downs and yards.
And you can bet that Shaw will get
plenty of chances to improve on that
The coaching staff said they hoped
to integrate freshman Stephen Hop-
kins and redshirt sophomore Mike
Cox, at the very least, at some point
against Massachusetts but never got
the chance to do so. They may get the
call this week, and we should still see
sophomore Vincent Smith as well. So
it should be a true committee showing
The Falcons are nothing to write
home about on the defensive interior,
and the Wolverines should be able to
run with relative ease.
Plus, there's that Denard Robinson
fellow who tends to run the ball quite
MICHIGAN PASS OFFENSE VS.
BOWLING GREEN PASS DEFENSE
In all the doom and gloom from
last weekend, the good news was
that sophomore quarterback Denard
Robinson got a chance to display his
passing skills Robinson passed for 241
yards and two touchdowns against the
Minutemen on just 10 completions.
The Falcons have allowed more
than 30 points per game and have been
even worse than the Wolverines on
the other side of the ball this season.
On paper, Michigan should be able to
carve the Bowling Green secondary
like a jack-o-lantern, but the Wolver-
ines are a young team that esuld be
inconsistent, as we saw last weekend
That being said, I fully expect Rob-
inson to improve on his passing yards
from last weekend. But who knows, he
may not even be in the game that long.
BOWLING GREEN RUN OFFENSE
VS. MICHIGAN RUN DEFENSE
Bowling Green's running back, Wil-
lie Geter, has an interesting combina-
tion of tools, but so far this season, he
hasn't been able toput them all togeth-
er in one game. Geter leads one of the
worst rushing attacks in the nation
into Ann Arbor.
But the Wolverines have been pret-
ty bad defending the run this year,
letting Massachusetts pair of backs
dominate their linebackers all game.
Senior Jonas Mouton has been a bright
spot and sophomore Craig Roh should
bounce back after being one of the
most visibly upset players after last
week's close win.
That intensity should allow the
Michigan rush defense to recover from
by far it's worst performance of the year.
BOWLING GREEN PASS OFFENSE
VS. MICHIGAN PASS DEFENSE
Junior running back Mike Shaw and redshirt junior wideout Junior Hemingway celebrate during Michigan's win over Massachusetts.
Another week, another hold-your-
breath game for the Michigan sec-
ondary. The Falcons won't have their
starter, but Aaron Pankratz, the back-
up, should have an interesting match-
up with an underachieving, yet ornery
Pankratz will probably be the least
skilled quarterback the Wolverines
have seen this year (Kyle Havens
looked good last weekend), but you
can't expect Michigan to compete very
often this year in this category.
Plus, with the likes of Kirk Cousins,
Ricky Stanzi and even Terrelle Pryor
on teh docket, it's looking pretty grim
If there is a week the Wolverines
win this battle, it's this week though
after underachieving against the Min-
utemen. Regardless, this should be a
for his job
dent To BeI
tion is an it
and kicks fo
that of losin
EDGE: BOWLING GREEN After a rough, rough week last week,
the Wolverines are definitely hoping to
SPECIAL TEAMS come out and clear the bench against
the Falcons. There's a whole lot of pent
ject for the Wolverines. up anger from last weekend, and none
terrible performance last of the defensive players will let this one
Broekhuizen likely fights slip by the wayside.
this week, which he very Robinson, meanwhile, should con-
se to Random Walk-On Stu- tinue a blistering pace in front of a
Named Later. home crowd, perfect for a tune-up
cons' special teams situa- before Big Ten season. He's getting
nteresting one, however, as geared up for the conference season,
verine Bryan Wright punts and he's not one to skip weeks. So if you
r Bowling Green now. don't see the Wolverines come out
may feel the pressure of fast, then you can worry. But don't
o the Big House. expect that to happen.
no pressure compared to EDGE: MICHIGAN
close battle with the Falcons just pull- INTANGIBLES
ing it out.
1. R s"flop
g your job to an unknown.
EDGE: BOWLING GREEN
FINAL SCORE: 48-17
NEED UPDATES DURING THE GAME?
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TheMichiganDaily, www.michigandaily.com 3B
Junior nose guard Mike Martin has one of the Wolverines' two sacks this season. Michigan
coach Rich Rodriguez called Martin the team's "most consistent defender."
6B FootballSaturday, September 25, 2010