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October 15, 2010 - Image 12

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2010-10-15

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0,

0

1

I I D SEASQ N

t
Many questions surrounded the cut (383 total yards), against Notre the early-sea vrite But his
quarterback position in the off- Dame. (502) and against Indiana stock dropped a bit after throwing
season, as Michigan coach Rich (494). Robinson also leads the three interceptions against Michi-
Rodriguez maintained that it was nation in rushing, with 991 yards gan State in Michigan's first loss of
a three-player race. In reality, so far. Oregon's LaMichael James the year.
sophomore Denard Robinson stole sits in second place with 848, and Still, this offense goes as Robin-
the starting job likely as soon as he of course, he's a running back. son goes, and he's a very dangerous
threw his first complete pass this Not surprisingly after putting up dual-threat quarterback. Even if
spring. these kinds of numbers, Robin- Big Ten defenses figure out ways
In his first six career starts, son entered the Heisman Trophy to contain the 6-foot, 193-pound
Robinson has had three top-10 all- discussion. Since his 502 yards speedster, Robinson is sure to
time Michigan performances for and final-minute scoring drive at break plenty of NCAA quarterback
total offense - against Connecti- Notre Dame, Robinson has been records this season.

the stat sheet -
pared to Robinsi
for 206 yards i
opener, and twor
combined for 110
Then, hewent
ground against
while two ru
totaled just 30 y
In a 28-24 gam
arose after that
how many carr
could handle be

.NG BACK WIDE RECIEVER/
TIGHT END
Hello? physical toll on his body. The wide receiving corps have ugI
Running Those questions have qui- was well on its way to a solid passes aver
backs, eted a bit in recent weeks as A here until last week against yards perc
where have the running backs have start- Michigan State - all those Eight dif
you been? ed to pile up moreyardage, but unexplained drops! But let's tight ends
Through the offensive explosions against talk positives. It's clear Rob- least onei
season's first teams like Massachusetts and inson developed chemistry Two recei
two games, BowlingGreen didn't winover with all of his slot and wide and redshi
the tail- any doubters. Junior Michael receivers in the offseason. Hemingway
backs hardly Shaw has emerged as Michi- Each week, it's a dif- downs of
showed up on gan's go-to back, but he's been ferent receiver putting up Robinson's
at least com- dealing with a knee injury 100+ yards and making big ing 'was1
on. He rushed and didn't seem tobe 100 per- catches. Just when you think gest questi
n the season cent against the Spartans last junior Roy Roundtree is . heading in
running backs week. He's averaging5.7 yards Robinson's go-to guy, Mar- season (af
yards. per carry, which is an upgrade tavious Odoms has a break- completing
for258onthe over sophomore Vincent out game. And on and on. all of last
Notre Dame, Smith's 4.8. Of all the offen- Junior Darryl Stonum said it and he's in
nning backs sive position groups, running best: "You never know who's critics wit]
'ards. Thirty? back is certainly the most dis- going to be the one having a completion
e? Questions appointing. They're lucky to big game." It's almost a com- through t1
t game about get above average grades here petition amongthe receivers, games. Cr
ies Robinson - what they've done on the and that's the way Robinson receivers fo

ht a
age
atch
iffer
ha
touc
vers
irt j
ly -
70
his
ion n
nto
Fter
14
sea.
mpre
h a
he f
redi
r ma
asy.

As the second half of the season commences the Daily football beat steps back
and takes a look at the Wolverines' performance in the first six games of the 2010
season. And with a 5-1 record, there sure are a lot of things to be proud of. But at the
same time, in Michigan's loss to the Spartans last week, some glaring issues have
come painfully clear.
th Iowa on the docket, this week could send Michigan back down last season's
paof despair into Big Ten title contention. Here's the Daily's take on how each
position group has done through six games so far.
By the Daily football beat
OFFENSIVE
LINE
it least eight outside of the quarter- man tackle Taylor Lewan
more than 10 back position, the Michigan and the development of
1. offensive. line may be the redshirt sophomore guard
ent receivers/ biggest contributor to the Patrick Omameh, the unit
ye caught at Wolverines' 5-1 start; they're has developed a quality mix
hdown pass. the unsung heroes of the first of veterans and youth. And
- Stonum six games. When Robinson fifth-year senior Perry Dor-
unior Junior has a wide-open hole to run restein has been solid at the
have touch- through, it's the offensive right tackle position.
+ yards. line's doing. Entering the They have also minimized *
pass- Michigan State game, the the costly penalties. Can
big- unit had only allowed one you remember any of the
mark sack all season. Wolverines' long runs being
this It's an experienced unit called back for holding? This
only and it seems to be making is the basis for success for
passes all the difference. Redshirt the whole offense. In Rodri- 0
son), junior center David Molk guez's spread offense, Rob-
ssed and fifthlyear senior guard inson and the running backs
67.2 Steve Schilling are anchor- need time to make plays and
percentage ing the line up the middle space to operate. This unit,
first six and are stabalizing that combined with Robinson's .
t the push at the point of attack. emergence, is the biggest
aking With the emergence of reason Michigan's offense
redshirt fresh- has been so successful.

fore it took a

likes it. Five receivers who

that look ea

rc

<_

[NEBACKER

DEFENSIVE LIN

C for confusion here. This
is defensive coordinator Greg
Robinson's position group, an
area he took over after a very
disappointing 2009 season.
But instead of turning it into
a reliable part of the defense,
Robinson's linebackers are
still a liability. Senior Jonas
Mouton has been a bright
spot at times with some key
plays. Fifth-year senior Obi
Ezeh continues to struggle,
finding himself out of position
a lot and making mistakes a
Big Ten player shouldn't be
making - let alone a fourth-
year starter. It seems that
every time a linebacker makes
a play, it's overshadowed
by a missed assignment or
botched tackle.
Even sophomore Craig

Roh, arguably the most ath- On most teams, the defen-
letic player on the Wolverines' sive line is the first line of
defense, hasn't found as much defense.
success at his new hybrid line- But because the linebackers
backer position. Roh would be and secondary have had such
better utilized on the defen- a hard time stopping anyone,
sive line, where he could pres- Michigan's defensive line is
sure opposing quarterbacks. often the first and last line of
Michigan ranks as the ninth- defense.
best scoring defense in the The unit arguably has
Big Ten and 75th in the nation, the most talent of the entire
and much of that can | defense with junior Mike
be attributed to missed / Martin, who has been extraor-
tack- dinarily consistent, anchor-
les by ing the middle at nose
the line- tackle and redshirt
backing corps. On the junior Ryan
bright side, redshirt Van Bergen
sophomore Kenny and fifth-
Demens does have year senior Greg Banks
the best facial surrounding him. Sophomore
hair on the Craig Roh has been very good
team. playing on the line as well,

E
occasionally movingup from a
linebacker spot.
Teams have rushed for an
average of 140 yards against
Michigan, which ranks a
decent 55th out of 120 FBS
teams.
The unit has been the one
bright spot on a defense that
has allowed more than 450
yards per game to opposing
offenses, which ranks 112th
among FBS teams. Martin has
been a beast in the middle,
racking up 2.5 sacks despite
being almost constantly dou-
ble-teamed. In the words of
Roh, "That's just... stupid."
But production has been
pretty consistent all around,
with Van Bergen and Banks
each tallying two sacks of
their own.

SPECIAL TEAMS

When Rodriguez asked
after the Massachusetts game
for any able-bodied student in
good academic standing to try
out for kicker, you knew the
situation is bad. The Wolver-
ines' kickers have only man-
aged two field goals in seven
attempts - good enough for
dead last in the Big Ten.
Seth Broekhuizen looks to
be the guy for now as scholar-
ship kicker Brendan Gibbons
has done nothing but disap-
point since he made his way
to Ann Arbor. And while no
one really knows why they're
missing so many field goals,
the coaches are still behind
them for the most part. So it
must be a mental issue.
Meanwhile, punter Will
Hagerup has experienced his

share of growing pains trying
to keep out of former Wolver-
ine Zoltan Mesko's shadow.
He may never be Mesko, but
he looks like his season is on
the upswing after last week's
loss to Michigan State, during
which he kicked a 62-yard-
er and had two inside the
20-yard line.
There's hope for the special
teams, but not much. Look
on the bright side though: At
least none of the
specialists have
blown a game
for the Wolver-
ines ... yet.

It's been ugly. nerback Troy Woolfolk was lost for men Terrence Talbott and Court-
It's tough to be too critical the year after dislocating his ankle ney Avery have also seen significant
because of how young the defensive and breaking his fibula in the pre- playing time.
backfield is, but the unit has been season. Along with the true freshmen,
historically bad. The secondary has As a result, the Michigan coach- redshirt freshmen have also played
allowed an average of more than ing staff has been forced to play quite a bit. Cameron Gordon has
300 yards passing per game (119th plenty of true freshmen. One of beenthe starting safety for the Wol-
in the country). The other side of them, Carvin Johnson, started verines all season and despite some
the coin? Early departures and the season at the spur position, bone-jarring hits he has struggled
injuries dealt significant blows to but exacerbated the injury prob- in coverage. All of these circum-
the secondary. Former cornerback lem when he went down with a stances add up to a secondary that
Donovan Warren left school early sprained knee in Michigan's first has a hard time stopping any pass-
after last season and senior cur- game against Connecticut. Fresh- ing attack, FCS team or otherwise.
4B FootballSaturday, October16, 2010

Out of 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in the NCAA, the
above graphic shows where the Wolverines rank in every major
statistical category. Check the yard markers for a visual idea of
how Michigan's offense and defense graded out statistically.
In case you didn't notice, there's quite a difference.
COUNTERCLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: MAX COLLINS/Daily, ARIEL BOND/
Daily, MAX COLLINS/Daily, MAX COLUNS/Daily, SAM WOLSON/Daily
TheMichiganDaily, www.michigandaily.com ISBw

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