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April 15, 2011 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-04-15

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0 The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Friday, April 15, 2011 - 7

Spring game serves as final test before summer

By TIM ROHAN likely, will not last longer than
Daily Sports Editor 90 minutes. Hoke said he would
go until he thought they had ran
This Saturday will be the enough plays.
same as any other Saturday for Beforehand, roughly 85 for-
the Michigan football team. mer players and alumni will
Michigan coach Brady Hoke play in the third-annual alumni
has tried to recreate the game- flag football game at 10 a.m., and
day experience during every tours of the Michigan locker
Saturday practice this spring room will be available Saturday
thus far, so his players know and morning and Friday evening.
understand that Saturdays are Tonight, Hoke will address
game days. more than 300 alumni of the
And if this past Saturday is Michigan football program in
any indication, anyone in atten- what he is calling a team meet-
dance for this year's spring game ing. During the meeting, he will
will be in for a treat. introduce his staff, though he
"It was (a) good Saturday, didn't elaborate beyond saying
in fact," Hoke said. "We tied - they would "have a conversa-
should've gone into overtime. tion" and "talk about Michigan
But the head coach didn't think football."
of that quick enough." But all of the peripheral stuff
Hoke's new-look Wolverines doesn't really matter to Hoke. He
- in substance, not personnel - made that clear when asked if he
will take the field for warmups cared at all about breaking the
Saturday at approximately 11:20 spring game attendance record.
a.m., with the actual spring "We love people who love
game scheduled to start at noon. Michigan football," Hoke said.
Hoke would've liked to have the "But we're more worried about
seniors draft teams and play a going out there and improving.
real full-on game, but he didn't "We've got a lot that we need
have the depth needed to pull it to accomplish from the stand-
off. point of getting guys on tape and
Instead, the first team offense finishing off a spring evaluation
will scrimmage against the the right way."
first team defense, and the sec- Hoke will have a good view
and team units will square off of how his team looks, as he will
against each other. be standing down on the field
For scoring purposes, the first behind the offense.
team offense will be paired with "Why there?" a reporter
the second team defense, and asked.
vice versa. "To protect the quarterback,"
The whole spring game, most Hoke said.

A few people chuckled.
"No, honestly," Hoke replied.
Michigan defensive coor-
dinator Greg Mattison will be
coaching the defense from the
sideline, which is where he will
coach his unit during the season,
too. And offensive coordinator
Al Borges will coach from up in
the press box.
The spring game will mark
the end of Michigan's allotted 15
spring practices, and the coaches
will have to send their players off
into the summer heat to improve
on their own.
For example, there are things
Denard Robinson and Devin
Gardner will have to work on
specifically as quarterbacks.
"I think the footwork issues
that you have in the play-action
game and the ball mechanics,"
Hoke said. "I know guys have the
tendency to rush it. I know talk-
ing to Denard the other day, he
has to settle his feet a little bit in
the dropback stuff.
"And then the mental aspect
of getting you in the right place
of what you're seeing ... I think
all of that is part of the filmwork
that is during the summer and
the physical part of it in the sev-
en-on-sevens and those things."
At the end of their time this
spring, the coaches will sit down
with every player individually.
The players will meet with their
position coaches, their coordina-
tors and then finally Hoke. Hoke
wants to make sure that every-
thing is crystal clear.

Michigan coach Brady Hoke will get one last look at his team during its final practice of the spring tomorrow.

"(We'll) set expectations,
where they're at, what they need
to do," Hoke said. "Where their
weight needs to be when they
report. All kinds of things. What
their role right now is in the fall.
Some of them will be happy and
some of them won't."
With instructions in hand for
each person and each position
group, then it's all up to them.
"This is where you really find
out about your seniors," Hoke
said. "How much leadership
they have.... There will be seven-

on-sevens that the quarterbacks
will organize. That's just part of
what they need to do.
"The evaluations at the end,
believe me, they'll be very specif-
ic in where they're at right now
and where the expectation is for
them to get to."
game is free of charge and open
to the public. Michigan Stadium
will be open starting at 9 a.m. on
Saturday morning. However, the
game will also be broadcasted on
the BigTenNetwork.

Heisman-trophy winner Des-
mond Howard will serve as
the game's honorary captain.
And former Wolverines Steve
Breaston, Braylon Edwards,
Mike Hart, Zoltan Mesko and
LaMarr Woodley are expected
to be in attendance.
Though attendance is free,
donation's to C.S. Mott Chil-
dren's and Women's Hospital
will be accepted at the gate -
with free giveaways for e
donation of more than five dol-

Blue looks to bounce back from midweek loss to Toledo

Daily Sports Writer

we play better than those five
Playing better in general tops

"I was out here early with
guys the last two days and we're

to it." the open fields of Champaign. going to run a lot, they're going
Illinois has slugged 12 home What he does anticipate is a dual to play hard and they'll be gritty.
runs, but as Maloney pointed of small ball. It's going to be a battle between
out, a lot of those can be attrib- "They're going to be a scrappy two teams fighting for their
uted to the wind blowing out in team," Maloney said. "They're identity."

Maybe it wouldn't win an the list of Michigan's concerns. going to be out everyday working
Oscar, but it seemedlike a pret- The Wolverines are last in our tails off trying to get better.
ty good script for the Michigan the conference in batting aver- That's all I know."
baseball team. age, slugging percentage and Brandon Hohl and the Illini
After playing ERA and lead will look to
dead for the first rn the Big Ten keep the Wol-
two months, Michigan in the dubi- re lt i verines down.
Michigan would Matchup: ous categories The reavty is The sopho-
rise from the Illinois 11-17; of strikeouts we got to have more third
ashes and get on Michigan 9-22 (offensive), baseman is
a hot streak just When: Fri- wild pitch- the record in hitting .347
in time for the day 4 P.M. es and most with 23 RBI
bulk of its con- importantly - the Big Ten." and four home
ference season. Where: Ray losses. runs, third
The Wolverines Fisher Stadiam These all best in the
acted the part need to turn conference.
for a few days. around if the team wants to even "I always want to beat those
They earned a dramatic 6-5 contend to reach the Big Ten guys because I played with
comeback victory against Pur- Tournament. some of them in high school,"
due in West Lafayette on Sunday But it's not like Michigan said Lorenz, who is from
to avoid being swept and fol- hasn't been doing everything it Frankfurt, Ill.
lowed it up with a 13-3 drubbing can to turn things around. "We've got a great opportu-
of Bowling Green on Tuesday. "We're going to keep fighting," nity this weekend to make up
The bats looked to be heating Maloney said. "We're not happy some ground in the Big Ten and
up and confidence was on the with some of the mistakes we're we're just going to look forward
A three-game winning
streak coming into the week- NATIONAI, NATIONAL STORAGE
end's conference series against ST A CENTER OF ANN ARBOR
Illinois would have done won-
ders for team morale. STUDENT STORAGE SPECIAL
And then Toledo four-
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"We definitely had a lot 3
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man John Lorenz said after MichiganDailySpring2011
Wednesday's game.
"It was a big boost to our
team. We really haven't had a
game like that all season. So
(Wednesday) was definitely a
little bit of a letdown, but we're
not going to let that affect us in
the Big Ten."
With the Illini (3-3 Big Ten, 4 8 3 2 7
11-17 overall) just a game up - - -
on Michigan in the confer-67
ence standings, this weekend's
series at Ray Fisher Stadium
could push the Wolverines into
- or further away from - the
playoff race.
Michigan (2-4, 9-22) is tied
with four teams for the sev-
enth (and loth) spot in the 3
conference and just one game
separates the fourth-place and 2
last-place teams in the confer-
"The reality is we got to - -
have the record in the Big Ten,"
Michigan coach Rich Maloney
"That's what matters. And
we've got to find a way to com-
pete and try to stay in the race
for the playoffs. So it's really,
over the next 15 games, can

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