8 - Tuesday, October 5, 2010
The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom
Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez's offense is among the best in the country. The defense is a different story.
Skewed time of possession
deepens 'M' defensive woes
By TIM ROHAN
Daily Sports Editor
Check out the Michigan football
team's offensive and defensive stats.
They're polar opposites. On offense,
you'll find national rankings in the
top 20 for most
categories. The NOTEBOOK
defense, on the
other hand, is the worst in the coun-
try at stoppingthe pass, allowing an
average of 307 yards per game.
During Monday's press con-
ference, Michigan coach Rich
Rodriguez addressed the contrast
between his two units. On offense,
the players have gained experi-
ence and the execution on the field
matches that. The defense can't say
"I think there's some moments
on defense where we have gotten a
little bit better but there's also some
things we have not gotten better at
and it's going to take a little more
time," Rodriguez said. "Some of it is
goingto be coming with experience,
and as they get more reps, but you
know, we are not a real deep team
Because of the brevity of the
Wolverines' drives against Indiana,
the Michigan defense was forced to
spend a lot of time on the field. The
Hoosiers held the ball for nearly 42
minutes. Part of that was the Wol-
verines' offensive efficiency, but the
other ingredient was the defense's
inability to stop the Hoosiers on
third down - they converted 11-of-
Rodriguez estimated that several
defensive players were on the field
for more than 100 snaps, while the
offense was on the field for less than
half of that. And when Michigan's
starters got tired on defense, Rodri-
guez was forced to play less experi-
"You're leery to take them out
because the next guy in is not close
to him from a physical or experi-
ence standpoint," Rodriguez said.
"We are in a tough, tough situation,
but we have to just keep battling
through that. And the best way to
limit that is to get more three and
outs, to get more shorter posses-
sions and hopefully get a few turn-
There were some positives to take
away, even though the Wolverines
allowed 568 yards of total offense.
Rodriguez said that Michigan did
tackle better, which has been a
point of frustration this season.
As Rodriguez sees it, the Wolver-
ines are still 5-0, which is the most
"We have won and it's like win-
ning a prize and winning $10,000
and being all upset because you
have to pay taxes on half of it,"
Rodriguez said. "Still going to take
the money, you know, and be happy
with it and we won. May not be as
excited as taking home money but
you're still taking half."
ROBINSON GOES DEEP: Sopho-
more quarterback Denard Robinson
wasn't completely perfect last Sat-
urday against the Hoosiers.
He did win his third Big Ten
Player of the Week award of the sea-
son and posted 494 total yards and
five touchdowns, but there were a
couple of deep passes that Robinson
could have connected on in the sec-
"He's missing three out of ten,
that's not bad," Rodriguez said. "He
missed a couple on Saturday, the
one wide open to Junior (Heming-
way) - he would love to have that
one back. But he's really been pretty
good at it for the most part. But a
lot of it is just a little bit of touch on
it and he'll get better the more we
throw with it but I've really been
pleased with his accuracy for the
Robinson still finished with
career highs in passing yards (277)
and passing touchdowns (3) and
completed 10-of-16 passes.
RIVALRY WEEK STARTS NOW:
Michigan has lost to its in-state
rivals from East Lansing each of the
past two seasons.
Now the excitement on both
sides is at its most intense in years
- both teams are 5-0 and ranked
in the top-25. The Wolverines have
always placed a great deal of impor-
tance on the matchup.
"They are all big, but this one is
bigger," Rodriguez said. "The rival-
ry games are always bigger. I'msure
they will tell you the same thing. It's
a huge thing for both teams every
year. The more you win, there's
more at stake and there's more at
stake this year because both teams
INJURY REPORT: Rodriguez said
that no new names were on the
injury list after the game against
Rodriguez did note that junior
running back Michael Shaw and
fifth-year senior nose tackle Greg
Banks were fine. Redshirt freshman
running back Fitzgerald Toussaint
And to keep Robinson fresh for
Saturday, Rodriguez said the quar-
terback would be limited in prac-
tice, as would some of the defensive
players who had extensive playing
Nick Spar 11 Daily Sports Editor
1 Denard Robinson, Quarterback (Football)
It's hard to imagine that, just a month ago, the early-season Heisman frontrunner wasn't even Mich-
igan's clear-cut starter. With each zigzagging run and touchdown pass, we easily forget just how lost
he looked under center at times last season, especially when he tried to pass the ball. But here's what's
easy to remember: the Wolverines wouldn't have salvaged victories over Notre Dame or Indiana (or
Massachusetts,efor that matter) if it weren't for Shoelace.While Tate Forcier led his owngame-winning
drives over the Fighting Irish and the Hoosiers ayear ago, only a quarterback who seems to dominate at
will on every snap can compensate for the miserable state of the Wolverines' defense.
Lexi Zimmerman, Setter (Women's Volleyball)
Despite a 1-1 record last weekend for the volleyball team, Zimmerman stays put at No. 2. For starters,
the loss came to No. 4 Penn State, a team akin to John Wooden's UCLA Bruins in the realm of college
athletics. (The Nittany Lions have won 115 of their last 117 matches, dating back to 2007.) In that match,
as well as the team's victory against Ohio State, Zimmerman managed to post more than 30 assists
and more than 10 kills. With each assist, she's inching her way closer to the all-time Big Ten record.
And none of the Michigan athletes who tie their shoes or cleats or skates had incredible eye-popping
performances in the last week, so Zimmerman still deserves the hype more than a week after breaking
the Michigan assists record. Besides the football team, only the volleyball team has more than one of
its players in the rankings (see No. 5). 4
3 Nkem Ezurike, Forward (Women's Soccer)
Ezurike is climbing the rankings after yet another clutch performance on Saturday. She scored a
game-tying goal in a double-overtime 1-1 draw against Northwestern. It was already the second.time
this season she scored a game-tying goal that helped the Wolverines earn a draw. The freshman has
six goals in her first 10 collegiate games.
Michigan Offensive Line (Football)
The offensive line had an entirely different role against Indiana than it did against Bowling Green.
Only two players - Denard and Vincent Smith - had carries against the Hoosiers, whereas virtually
every running back and quarterback on the Wolverines' roster had a carry against the Falcons. At
times, the line didn't open up enough holes for Smith. But as long as the offense is putting up its usual
42 points per game, the unit as a whole is doing enough to hold its spot in my book.
S Alex Hunt, Outside Hitter (Volleyball)
Hunt has been arguably the most consistent player for Michigan this season, maybe even more
consistent than Zimmerman. She has tallied 250 kills, more than double that of any other Wolverine.
Thirty of them came last weekend, but her high level of play is nothingnew, as two weeks ago she was
named BigTen Player of the Week.
Junior Hemingway, Wide Receiver (Footbqll)
Hemingway surges into the rankings after hauling in the most important pass of the day
against Indiana - a slightly underthrown ball that he went up and grabbed with less than 30
seconds left in a tie game. The 42-yard reception brought the ball to the Hoosiers' four-yard line
and all but sealed the deal for Michigan. Hemingway also had a 70-yard touchdown catch early
in the third quarter, making him the fourth Michigan receiver this season to have 90-plus yards
in a game.
7 Sam Critser (Women's Tennis)
In just her second collegiate tournament, Critser won her section of the draw at the Wolverine
Invitational after rolling through three consecutive matches. Michigan controlled the tournament
from start to finish. Junior Michelle Sulahian won the other half of the draw and the doubles teams
took seven of their nine matches.
Roy Roundtree, Wide Receiver (Football)
Hemingway may be ranked ahead of Roundtree, but Roundtree is becoming Denard's favorite
target. He has surpassed 80 yards in three of the first five games and has totaled 14 catches for
244 yards in the last two. Roundtree also gets credit for responding well against Notre Dame (8
catches for 82 yards and a touchdown) after being injured from a huge hit in the opener against
Zara Saydjari, Forward (Field Hockey)
Through two weeks, the field hockey team has taken ownership over the ninth spot. Last week,
goalkeeper Haley Jones earned the spot for posting her third shutout of the season. This week, Sayd-
jari takes Jones's place after scoring both goals in a 2-1 upset win over No. 6 Michigan State. The field
hockey team also almost took down No. 1 Maryland two days after Saydjari's performance, but the
Terrapins ultimately held on for a 4-3 win.
Danielle Tauro (Women's Cross Country)
At Michigan's first scored meet of the season, Tauro finished sixth individually at the 20-team
Wisconsin Invitational last weekend. She shattered her personal-best 6000-meter time and helped
the Wolverines to a fourth-place finish.
Early on, Glendening embracing co-captainship role
By CASANDRA PAGNI
Daily Sports Writer
After the Michigan ice hockey
team's disappointing 4-4 tie with
unranked Mercyhurst to open
the season on Saturday, Michigan
coach Red Berenson decided to
switch up the team's top line head-
ing into Sunday's exhibition contest
with Western Ontario.
Berenson moved junior co-
captain Luke Glendening from
left wing on the team's third line
to right wing on the top line. With
two goals and one assist in the Wol-
verines' 4-2 victory, it's safe to say
Glendening made the move pay off.
The Grand Rapids native spent
the latter half of last season playing
on a line with senior Louie Capo-
russo and junior David Wohlberg.
The three Wolverines netted a com-
bined 38 goals on the season, with
But to kick off this season,.Glen-
dening played on No. 4 Michigan's
third line with sophomore A.J.
Treais and freshman Luke Mof-
fat, while Caporusso and Wohlberg
added sophomore Chris Brown to
their line. While Caporusso scored
one goal in Saturday's game, Wohl-
berg and Glendening were kept off
the stat sheet against Mercyhurst.
On Sunday, after moving Glen-
dening to the top line, the unit
exploded offensively. The chemis-
try and familiarity among Wohl-
berg, Caporusso and Glendening
was evident. They finished the
night with a combined twelve shots
on Western Ontario netminder Josh
With Wohlberg at left wing,
Caporusso at center, and Glenden-
ing at right wing, the line scored
three of Michigan's four goals.
Caporusso finished with three
assists on the night, and Wohlberg
added a goal and assist of his own.
"(The three of us) just know
where each other are going to be on
the ice," Glendening said after prac-
tice Monday. "We're used to playing
with each other, the spacing and all
that. It really helps when we don't
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have to think out there and we ju
have to play and have fun."
While he's unsure whether h
will remain a line-mate of Woh
berg and Caporusso, Glendenin
would rather not focus on it.
"Any way we can create a foi
| Honoring our pas(
>phomore ever to be named an alternate captain on the Michigan hockey team.
st mula to win is what we need," he Wovlerines.
said. The other alternate captain last
ce That perspective shows why season was then-junior Carl Hage-
l- Glendening was named an alter- lin, now Glendening's co-captain.
ig nate captain for Michigan last sea- Having led by example together
son - the first sophomore ever to before, Glendening is comfortable
r- be voted into that position for the in the leadership role.
"(Carl and I) are both hard work-
ers and that's what our leadership
Inspiring our future. styles are," Glendening said. "I
think also there's a time for being
vocal and we are both learning that
as we go. There are times we need
to step up and say something and
make sure whatever needs to be
said is said, that people aren't left
thinking'well what's going on?"'
Tempering his offensive suc-
cesses from Sunday with his
team-first attitude, Glendening
will take a level head into Michi-
gan's upcoming road series against
e Corps Volunteer Generation. Bowling Green. But as a defen-
sive-minded forward, Glendening
Event:knows that while the Wolverines
irector Aaron Williams found theback of the net often this
30 p.m. past weekend, solid defense will be
the key to this team's ultimate suc-
"I think definitely we need to
work on defense," Glendening said.
is leaving "We need to take pride in that ...If
iversary Year! we're letting up as many goals as
we had this weekend, it's going to
1il you go? be tough to score that many every
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