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April 04, 2011 - Image 12

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4B - April 4, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Robinson makes impression,
adjusts to pro-style scheme'

Signal caller finding
success against
Mattison's defense
this spring
By TIM ROHAN
Daily Sports Editor
It didn't take long for Denard
Robinson to make Greg Matti-
son eat his words.
Michigan's star quarterback
and defensive coordinator had
been exchanging friendly jabs
before spring practice started
- and Robinson has served his
coach a large piece of humble
pie.
"I've had to be really humble
around him lately," Mattison
said. "Now, the other guy I've
really started to get on, so he's
been getting hit a couple of
times. So I can get on him a little
bit."
While Mattison turns his
mockery to Devin Gardner, one
would assume, Robinson has
dazzled his new coaches with
his speed and athleticism.
"If the darn kid would throw
the ball, rather than run all
the time - I mean, anybody
can scramble," Mattison said,
tongue in cheek.
"No, I'll tell you one thing, if
you're calling defenses against
him - I said it after one of our
days - we rushed four, played
regular coverage and you're
asking for trouble," Mattison
added. "When he drops back
and you're not perfect in your
lanes, it's going to be a first
down. Because he beats some-
body and he's going to beat you
inside or outside - I didn't real-
ize how fast he was.
"I mean, there's guys that
have perfect angles, and all of
a sudden I look and they're past
the stakes. He really is some-
thing."
The quarterback who fin-
ished sixth place in the Heisman
trophy voting last season and
was the centerpiece of an explo-
sive Wolverine offense' will try
to avoid a slump in 2011.
His left tackle, Taylor Lewan,
summed it up perfectly in an
interview with MGoBlue.com
on Friday.
"No one has any doubts,
Denard is a great quarterback,"
Lewan said. "That's probably the
No. 1 question: How's Denard
taking to the new offense.

MEN'S BASKETBALL
Michigan focuses
on improvement,
not Morris' future
By LUKE PASCH tremendous senior season, aver-
Daily Sports Writer aging more than 20 points and
six assists per game. He also led
Michiganmen'sbasketballfans his team deep in the postseason
are on edge as of late, with the before losing in the state final to
recent news that sophomore point Cincinnati La Salle.
guard Darius Morris submit- "I went to see Trey Burke play
ted his name NOTEBOOK in the semifinal game," Beilein
to the NBA T Ksaid. "He truly is a point guard
Undergraduate - he truly runs his team, has a
Advisory Committee. The Wol- great pace to him. His quickness
verines qualified for the NCAA is exceptional. I think I expressed
Tournament last season for just several times - we're notcas quick
the second time in the past 14 asawe'd like to be, especially inthe
years, largely on the back of their backcourt, where it really can be
young floor general, who aver- helpful."
aged a team-high 15 points and Beilein said he is also excited
6.7 assists per game. And Michi- for the arrival of Carlton Brun-
gan's high expectations for next didge - a combo guard out of
season will take a bigblow if Mor- Southfield, Mich. Brundidge's
ris opts for the NBA Draft later ability to set ball screens, espe-
this month. Regardless, Michigan cially around such high-quality
coach John Beilein insists thathis shooters, should help with the
players are focused on training offense's versatility. And in addi-
and improving for next season. tion to the two guards, Beilein
"It's been tremendous how also scored another class of 2011
hard they're working," Beilein commitment last week from for-
said last Monday. "I think our ward Max.Bielfeldt, an Illinois
team has got an incredible hun- native, who opted to come to the
ger now that they've had ataste of Wolverines over Illinois. Over-
what hard work and togetherness all, Beilein's recruiting has been
can bring." headed in the right direction
Last week actually marked the recently.
last time the team will be practic- "It's very positive," Beilein
ing at Crisler Arena this academic said. "We're getting a lot of great
year, as construction for the facil- calls and a lot of interest. I can tell
ity's renovations have already we're building some momentum
begun. In the meantime, the play- in those areas. We still have a long
ers will share facilities with the ways to go - it's still being con-
wrestling team. And for May and structed ... We'd like to be more
early June,theywillbeleftmostly successful in the future and still
to themselves. be playing in the future. But we
"We have a bunch of self start- feel the positive momentum."
ers, and you just never know how FORGETTING 2009-10: Every-
much they're going to improve," body remembers what happened
Beilein said. "I think you saw that to the Michigan basketball pro-
with Darius over the summer. gram in Beilein's third year at the
People don't know how much he helm. Following the previous sea-
works at his home, and that's a big son's run to the NCAA Tourna-
reason for his improvement. ment, the Wolverines were led by
"When I think about when it's two returning stars - Manny
Tim Hardaway Jr. goes home Harris and DeShawn Sims - but
and sees Tim Hardaway Sr., they stumbled to a 14-16 record and
will be in the gym within hours failed to garner an NIT bid. As
because Tim Sr. was in the gym the college basketball offseason
for hours. We have that type of gets underway, it's only naturalto
environment for some of our kids ask what willhappen next season,
going back (home)." when the expectations are sure
IN WITH THE NEW: If Mor- to be high once again. But Beilein
ris does elect to enter the draft, doesn't dwellon it.
Beilein can find some solace in "We focus on just us getting
the arrival of incoming fresh- better," Beilein said. "Just block
man Trey Burke, who will make everyone else out. Just worry
his way from his hometown of about how we are improving as a
Columbus to Ann Arbor this team.
summer. The point guard out "We don't talk about (the
of Northland High School - 2009-10 season). And I don't
the alma mater of Ohio State's think we should beat them over
Jared Sullinger - compiled a the head about it."

MARISSA MCCLAIN/Daily
Junior quarterback Denard Robinson has taken a majority of snaps under center in Brady Hoke's pro-style offense.

Denarc
The
looked
"So yo'
We're
Mos
roundi
t
hu
I
from
option
pro-st
the qu
snaps f
In
video,
playinj
he pla
requir
he did
ferenc
this ye
"Wh
the sn

d's doing a great job." mechanics that are involved,
n Lewan deadpanned and and I can tell you we're way
directly into the camera: ahead with that part of it than
u guys can stop worrying. we were at San Diego State," said
going to be just fine." Hoke on FoxSports Detroit's
t of the discussion sur- "Inside Michigan Football"
ng Robinson's transition show on Thursday. "The quar-
terback there, was a shotgun
guy all through high school and
his first two years at San Diego
"I've had State.
"So Denard's done a great job.
:o be really And I think, sometimes, people
feel you're running the spread
mble around so the quarterback must not
be able to throw the football -
im lately." that's not the case with Denard.
I think he's made improvements
every day out there."
Robinson's answers during
Rich Rodriguez's spread his interview carried the same
offense to Brady Hoke's air of enthusiasm that Hoke and
yle scheme has focused on Mattison had bragged the play-
arterback's ability to take ers bring to work every day.
from under center. "Learning, learning, learn-
the same MGoBlue.com ing," Robinson said of what he's
Robinson downplayed working on now. "Just coming in
g under center, because here ready to learn. That's the
:yed in an offense that only thing I'm doing right now,
ed it in high school. But trying to learn the offense."
say it was the biggest dif- And how does he feel about
e between last year's and the new offense so far?
ar's offense. "I like it, I like it," Robinson
hen you look at taking said. "I think it's going to help
ap from center and the me a lot - get me ready for the

next level."
Interestingly enough, Robin-
son's high school coaches, with
whom he has stayed in contact,
said Robinson's ultimate goal is
to play in the NFL - playing in
the pro-style offense probably
gives Robinson a better shot of
playing quarterback at the next
level.
ESPN's NFL Draft Analyst
Todd McShay told The Michi-
gan Daily in an interview dur-
ing the NFL Scouting Combine
that he didn't think Robinson
would play quarterback in the
NFL - but a successful 2011
could change that notion. For
now, Robinson is working with
his receivers to settle into an
offense that requires him to
drop back and spray passes all
over the field.
"We come in every day ready
to learn and ready to play," Rob-
inson said.
And though Mattison may be
off his back, but offensive coor-
dinator Al Borges isn't letting
up.
"It's kind of funny," Robin-
son said of his relationship with
Borges. "Because he always
gives me crap all the time - it's
cool."

Bizarre game results in loss for 'M'

By MATT SLOVIN
Daily Sports Writer
After beating No. 3 Michigan on
Saturday in game two of the Wol-
verines' doubleheader, the Indiana
softball team stood in the outfield
to take pictures of the Alumni Field
scoreboard, capturing the monu-
mental upset on camera phones.
The Hoosiers didn't get there
withoutcontroversyor acomeback
from the Wolverines, who eventu-
ally fell to the Hoosiers, 5-4, in a
bizarre game.
The strange happenings began
early in game two, when play was
stopped for a few minutes as ahail-
storm fell at the Wilpon Complex.
Within seconds, the playing field
was covered with white pellets,
and although the game eventually
resumed and the sun returned to
the sky, the abnormal occurrences
didn't cease. In the sixth inning,
the umpires, players, coaches and
the 1,271 fans in attendance were
left looking for answers.
A Michigan grounder was
ripped up the middle for a base
hit, but Indiana shortstop Brean-
na Saucedo and Michigan senior
Alycia Ryan became entangled
while both acting in their best
interests.
According to the rulebook, if
both players are indeed acting in
their own best interests, no inter-
ference call shall be made. The
Hoosier fielder was attempting to
prevent the base knock, while Ryan
was simply advancing to third.
The umpire initially ruled that
there was no interference on the
play by Ryan, and she was awarded
third base. But after hearing from
Indiana coach Michelle Gard-

Brosnahan back on track as Blue
snatches up first conference win

i

eno aynwcaldoc f-is - -n las
Senior Alycia Ryan was called out f or inter ference in Michigan's first Big Ten loss.

ner - a former Wolverine softball
player under Michigan coach Carol
Hutchins - the umpires conferred,
eventually ruling that Ryan had
impeded the Indiana fielder's
attempt to make a play. She was
subsequently called out.
Then, it was Hutchins' turn to
put in her two cents. After a heated
discussion with the head umpire,
she was ejected from the game.
"I felt that there was no play
on the ball," Hutchins said. "But,
clearly, I don't get to make the call."
Hutchins and Ryan agreed that
Ryan was simply trying to advance
on the play.
"I'm not exactly sure of the rule
on that, but I was just going to
third," Ryan said.
Nevertheless, the ruling killed
a Michigan rally. Senior Jordan
Taylor came in to relieve starter
Stephanie Speierman. But Taylor
was not her normal All-American
self - a rarity that Hutchins said
her team must be ready for.

"Taylor has done her part for
us," Hutchins said. "We can't make
her do everything."
Taylor surrendered a tower-
ing two-run home run in the fifth
inning, allowing the Hoosiers
to regain a 4-2 lead. The score
remained that way until the Wol-
verine half of the sixth when
Michigan (3-1 Big Ten, 33-3 over-
all) knotted the score by way of a
two-out rally.
The teams needed extra frames
to conclude the nightcap, and Hoo-
sier Sara Olson took Taylor deep
in the top of the eighth for the sec-
ond time. The homer turned out to
be the crushing blow from which
Michigan would not recover.
"(Taylor) needs some help,"
Hutchins said. "She needs some
support because she's not always
going to be at her best.
"You look through our lineup
and you look through our RBI col-
umn, and we need some people to
pick it up."

By ZACH HELFAND confidence all year, despite an
Daily Sports Writer ugly start to the season. He has
maintained that his motion feels
The pitch wasn't Bobby Bros- the same now as he did at the sea-
nahan's first choice. son's commencement.
In the top of the fifth in the first After running up his ERA to
game Saturday, 10.19 in his first five appearances
an inning after NOTEBOOK of the season, Brosnahan's ERA
the Michigan in his three starts in the state of
baseball team had cut Indiana's Michigan is 3.54. And even that
two-run lead in half, Indiana's statistic might be misleading.
junior slugger Alex Dickerson Brosnahan has shown com-
dug in. Dickerson, the All-Amer- mand in all his pitches and
ican and 2010 Big Ten triple- enough confidence in his off-
crown king, was up with two outs speed pitches to throw them
and two on, looking to blow the when behind in the count and
game wide open like he has done for first-pitch strikes. Besides L2
so many times in the past. poor innings against Michigan
The count was full, and the State, in which he surrendered
redshirt sophomore Brosnahan five runs, he has been near lights-
wanted fastball. out.
"We were battling with each His denial of Dickerson in the
other," Brosnahan said. "I wanted fifth inning helped secure the
to strike him out on a fastball just victory for Michigan.
to showhim I could, but he fouled ONE UP, QNE DOWN: Junior
those off." catcher Coley Crank was hitting
Instead, Brosnahan took some so poorly that Michigan coach
speed off with the cutter and Rich Maloney benched him for
unleashed a pitch that started out the second game of the Michigan
of the zone before darting back in State series.
to catch the inside corner. Dicker- Looks like that move lit a spark.
son was frozen, and the Wolver- In the bottom of the seventh
ines got out of a critical jam. inning, Crank entered the game
"That reallygave ourteam alift as a pinch hitter with two men
right there, that strikeout," Bros- on base. He hit a towering home
nahan said. "Then afterwards run over the left field wall to
(redshirt sophomore shortstop) bring Michigan within one run
Kevin (Krantz) hits a home run of the Spartans, and he has been
and we got a win for ourselves, so on a tear ever since. Since being
it was huge." benched, he is batting .588 and
Brosnahan was confident has a hit in all six games.
enough to attack Dickerson and Meanwhile, redshirt senior
really never appeared to lose his second baseman Anthony Toth is

moving in the opposite direction.
He has gone hitless in his last 26
at bats.
His streak was temporar-
ily snapped in the first inning
of the second game on Saturday
when he appeared to pick up an
infield single. The ruling was
later changedto a throwing error,
though, and the slide continued.
"Anthony will come around
sooner or later, I truly do believe,"
Maloney said. "He wants it so
bad, and sometimes, when you
want it so badly, it can actually be
a hindrance because this game is
so mental.
"And he's really a good hitter.
The irony of the whole thing is,
he's putting so much pressure on
himself, he wants to do so well.
And sooner or later, he's just
going to have to let it go. And it's
hard to do."
DENNIS GOES DOWN: Sopho-
more shortstop Derek Dennis
injured his foot in last weekend's
series against Michigan State
and has been wearing a boot ever
since.
Though he didn't leave the
game, he suffered a fracture and
will be out three more weeks.
Krantz, the hero'of Saturday's
first game, took over the short-
stop duties in the Indiana series.
Maloney said he might experi-
ment with moving Krantz to
second base and Toth to short-
stop. Toth played the shortstop
position earlier in his career but
moved to second base to make
room for Dennis last season.

I

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