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September 27, 2011 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2011-09-27

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8 - Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Robinson is his own toughest critic

TIM ROHAN when he talks about what he and
Daily Sports Editor Michigan offensive coordinator
Al Borges talk about after they
Denard Robinson's harshest watch the film. His footwork is
critic may be Denard Robinson. still a "work in progress." But
The lovable, always-smiling Robinson said he's practicing
Robinson turns on himself well.
when he watches film on Sun- At one point during fall camp,
days, chiding himself with each the coaches said he completed
missedreceiver, missed oppor- 70 percent of his passes. Now,
tunity. practice isn't carrying over to
"I beat myself up about it," the games.
said Robinson, who has rushed "(Borges) just told me, little
for 552 yards but has passed for things we need to work on,"
just 624 in four games. Robinson said. "It's all fixable,
During games, his head hangs we just need to keep harping on
with each poor play. it, keep beating it and try to get
"He always puts all of the it out."
blame all on himself, even It doesn't help that opposing
though he doesn't deserve it," teams are scheming their entire
said senior tight end Kevin defenses around stopping Rob-
Koger. "I tell him all the time, inson, Borges said last week.
'You're being too hard on your- The looks and plays Borges and
self. We've got to help you out a Robinson prepare for during
little bit.'" the week are completely differ-
Then Koger pulls Robinson ent come game time, and then
aside and tells him ajoke. there's an adjustment period as
"He laughs," Koger said. "But Borges figures out how to attack
he laughs at everything so it it.
really isn't that hard." That also throws off the
That's the kind of quarter- receivers' routes, when they
back Michigan coach Brady have to adjust to different looks.
Hoke is dealing with. The result: Michigan is 110th
Hoke refused to put all the in Division-I football with 156
blame on Robinson for the Wol- passing yards per game, Rob-
verines' measly 93 yards passing inson has a sub-par 49-percent
in last Saturday's 28-7 win over completion rate and he has
San Diego State. That's why thrown six interceptions.
Koger doesn't want Robinson to On his first interception Sat-
get too down on himself. urday, he said he took his eye off
"We've just'got to get open," of the cornerback that jumped
Koger said. "We're not being the pass. Then he forced a ball
very detailed in our execu- to Koger on the second intercep-
tion right now. I mean, receiv- tion, after he had stepped up in
ers running routes at different the pocket with plenty of room
depths and ropping passes. So to run. He said he should've
we've just ot to help him out. moved to the next read in his
Everyone's putting the blame on progression.
him, but it's not really on him." Eventually, the progression
Still, Robinson isn't smiling would've told Robinson to take

off. And it appeared he had
plenty of room to run when he
decided to throw to Koger.
"Once you get to the fourth
one, or you get to your third
hitch, that's when it's time to
go," Robinson said.
"The main thing coach says
is, 'Don't miss the open man.'
If it's not open, that's when you
run. If it's open you don't miss it.
You always keep your eyes down
field even though you're making
your move through the pocket."
His running ability and his
good health four games into the
season are both main reasons
why Michigan is 4-0 and ranked
No. 19. Even though he's car-
ried the ball 18 times per game
- three less runs per game last
season - more of his runs have
been between the tackles, run-
ning the quarterback power
The once-fragile Robinson
hasn't left a game this season
due to injury, after exiting each
of the first four games last sea-
son for one ailment or another.
He may beat himself up, but
opponents aren't beating up
Robinson anymore. Now, he said
he knows how to recover after
games, working with the Michi-
gan trainers.
"Sometimes now you can play
through the soreness, if you've
got soreness," Robinson said.
"And you're used to it. Now you
go into the treatmegt, and you
get in the cold tub and you know
what to do now to take care of
Despite the poor passing day,
Robinson's 200-yard, three-
touchdown rushing perfor-
mance was good enough to earn.
him Co-Big Ten Offensive Play-
er of the Week honors. A player


Junior quarterback Denard Robinson has completed just 49 percent of his passes t
whose quarterback rating was pocket presence have improved.
I-a Au 7A - in cuanparisun, OULY tIue gruisig pans cii-

less than 70 - in comparison
to his 194 rating against Notre
Dame - won the honor for the
second time this season.
"I think numbers can lie,"
Robinson said, defending his
progress. "I think I grew this
year (as a passer) and I'm better
than I was last year."
He noted that his reads and

Baut the growing pains con-
tinue. Leaving former coach
Rich Rodriguez's spread-option
attack for a more traditional
pro-style passing offense has
looked ugly at times as Robinson
and his receivers find their way.
"It was hard to predict (the
offense's success) because it
wasn't always hitting on all cyl-

this season.
inders like we had in the past,"
said fifth-year senior David
Molk. "We aren't just throwing
Denard's yards left and right.
I'm happy where it is but it can
get a lot better.
"But at the same time, if we
can run the ball like we do we're
Thus is the enigma of Robin-
son's 2011 season.

Hoke, 'M' get first look at Little Brown Jug

Daily Sports Editor
At 107 years old, the Little
Brown Jug predates even the for-
ward pass.
The Jug, which is awarded to
the winner of the game between
the Michigan and Minnesota
football teams,
hasn't seen NOTEBOOK
daylight since
the teams played in 2008. With
another edition of college foot-
ball's oldest trophy game coming
Saturday, the rivalry might need a
So Michigan coach Brady Hoke
re-emphasized the importance of
the game during the 19th-ranked
Wolverines' team meeting Sun-
day night.
"It's an important part of the
legacy of Michigan," Hoke said.
Hoke had equipment manager
Jon Falk wheel the Jug in on a
cart. The players were given "Vic-
tors' manuals," which had a page
dedicated to documenting the
history of the Michigan-Minne-
sota rivalry, as senior tight end
Kevin Koger explained.
The players hadn't seen the
trophy since beating the Golden
Gophers, 29-6, at the Metrodome
in 2008.
"(The rivalry game) a big part
of our tradition," said fifth-year
senior defensive tackle Ryan

Van Bergen. "That's what makes
Michigan what it is, that it has
these little things that we've been
a part of for so long."
The legend of the Jug famously
began in 1903 when Michigan
coach Fielding Yost allegedly
believed Gopher fans would con-
taminate the water supply. So
Yost sent a student manager to
purchase a five-gallon jug..
After the game ended in a 6-6
tie, Michiganstormedhome,leav-
ing the jug. Yost later demanded it
be returned, but L.J. Cooke, head
of Minnesota's athletic depart-
ment wrote, "If you want it, you'll
have to win it."
Yost won it back in 1909. More
than a century later, the Wolver-
ines hold a commanding 66-22-3
all-time record. But the Jug isn't
much of a looker.
"It's good to see the old ugly
jug," fifth-year senior center
David Molk said.
It's still a five-gallon jug, but it's
not brown anymore and it hasn't
held water inyears.
"You kind of picture in your
mind what it looks like, but when
you see it up close, it's not the
most beautiful jug you've ever
seen," Van Bergen said. "For fans
who've never been close to it, I
don't think you'd ever want to
drink any water out of that.
"You can tell by looking at the
thing that it's been around a long,

right thing to do."
Minnesota Athletic Director
Joel Maturi told the Pioneer Press
(St. Paul) that he was unsure
when the coach would return,
and that there is no timetable set.
Understandably, Kill may miss
the game at Michigan Stadium
this weekend.
"Jerry and I competed against
each other at the MAC level,"
Hoke said. "He and his wife
Rebecca are two of the finest
people you'll ever be around. Our
prayers for him and his family are
there. He's a great person and a
terrific coach."
Hoke knows the Minnesota job
even better than most. He was
contacted by the Gophers late last
November to gauge his interest in
filling the void left when former
coach Tim Brewster was fired.
When asked Monday if he was
ever interested in the job, Hoke
said he never was. When asked
how formal his discussions ere,
he refused to speak of it.
senior cornerback Troy Woolfolk
has been hampered by ankle and
handj injuries. He went down on
Saturday with a left ankle injury,
but Hoke said he practiced Sun-
day and is day-to-day.
Redshirt junior guard Ricky
Barnum went down early with
an ankle injury against San Diego


The Little Brown Jug, pictured here after a Michigan win in 2003, has been in the Wolverines' possession since 2008.

long time. Big Jon (Falk's) the one
who presents it, so you see two
things that have been around a
long time."
The Jug has been around for
107 years - Falk's 37 years with
the team account for nearly a
third of the rivalry's history.
Michigan enters the Little

Brown Jug game undefeated, the
Gophers are struggling through a
1-3 start with heavy hearts.
First-year Minnesota coach
Jerry Kill, formerly the coach at
Northern Illinois, collapsed on
the sideline with a seizure dur-
ing a Sept. 10 matchup with New
Mexico State. The coach, who has
a history of seizures, had another

bout on Sunday and later checked
into the Mayo Clinic in Rochester,
"(We have) made the deci-
sion to do what it takes to find a
solution," Kill said in a statement
releasedbytheuniversity. "I hope
to be back to work soon, but we
believe that taking some time
away to get a handle on this is the


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Injury-plagued Dumars leaves Blue

1 P.M. ON 420

ZAK PYZIK statement released by the athletic
Daily Sports Editor department. "I love Michigan, I
love-this team and I love basket-
Michigan basketball coach ball. However, I had to make this
John Beilein announced Monday decision to move on. I am thank-
that junior ful for the opportunity that was
guard Jor- First seen on given to me and appreciate all the
dan Dumars -the;game help I have received. Iwill always
is leaving be a Wolverine."
the team, most likely due to a Dumars never played a game
myriad of injuries that plagued for Michigan due to shoulder and
his short Wolverine career. leg problems.
Dumars was forced to sit out "Jordan has worked very hard
the first part of the 2010-11 season the last two years to get back to
dueto transfer rules, havingcome the court," Beilein said. "Howev-
from South Florida the previous er, these injuries have not allowed
season. Once he was eligible, he him to play basketball at a level
missed the rest of the season due he expects. This has not been
to injury, easy for him and I know he has
"Battling injuries the last two thought long and hard about this
years has been very difficult on decision. We will miss Jordan. He
me," Dumars said according to a is a wonderful young man, with a

very bright future."
After having to watch the team
from the bench all of fall semester
last year, he was finally ready to
suit up and play againstBryant on
Dec. 23 of last year.
"I've been practicing since last
year," Dumars said before the
game. "Usually I'm in the mind-
set of cheering my teammates on,
but now I was starting to picture
myself outthere."
But then because of the delay
and even more injuries, Beilein
had decided it'd be best to just
redshirt him.
Dumars was supposed to be
another physical presence in the
paint, standing at 6-foot-5 but
had also been working with the
coaching staff to tailor his skills
as a guard.


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