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October 07, 2011 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-10-07

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4

8 - Friday, October 7, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Borges, Robinson give Big Ten defenses trouble

By TIM ROHAN
Daily Sports Editor
The idea was born just after
spring football ended, when it
became apparent that Al Borges
would have to find a way to get
Devin Gardner on the field.
The Michigan coaches weren't
willing rotate quarterbacks series
by series, so something creative
had to be the solution.
The offensive-minded guru
dug deep, contemplating ways to
get the 6-foot-4 sophomore Gard-
ner on the field at the same time
as the dynamic junior Denard
Robinson. Borges remembered
a formation the San Diego Char-
gers used to run back in the late
1980s, early 1990s - they used
to put a skill position player at
quarterback who could throw the
ball, and move the quarterback
elsewhere. It was a part of former
Chargers' offensive coordinator
Ernie Zampese's playbook.
From there, Borges tinkered.
"As soon as you see something
that fits your personnel, you tap it
and see what it looks like," Borges
said. "It may not fit today's foot-
ball - that was a long time ago -
but maybe it does."
For a mind like Borges's the
possibilities are endless, having
Robinson lined up in the backfield
with two other running backs and

zle."
With his arm, Robinson put
together another piece of his
own puzzle against the Golden
Gophers, competing the first 11
passes he attempted and finish-
ing the day - all two-and-a-half
quarters worth - completing
15-of-19 for 169 yards and two
touchdowns.
For weeks, Robinson had been
swallowed by questions due to his
poor mechanics and even worse
results. After leading a thrilling
comeback victory with his arm,
he threw for less than 100 yards
in back-to-back games before hit-
ting his stride against Minnesota.
Borges decided prior to the game
that he needed to call plays get-
ting Robinson into a rhythm with
short-to-intermediate routes.
Right from Robinson's first
pass - a curl route to Jeremy Gal-
lon - that's exactly what Michi-
gan did.
Robinson and his receivers
had worked on their timing, mak-
ing sure the ball was coming out
when the receivers expected it on
the quarterback's three and five-
step drops. Even though Minne-
sota hardly pressured Robinson, it
was easy to tell his footwork and
mechanics were on point.
"We worked on it pretty good,"
Borges said. "And he took it to
heart. He was stressing that he

wasn't throwing well. He's a
better passer, I've told you that
before.
"He got his screws in the
ground pretty good and trans-
ferred through most of the
throws, and he was pretty much
on the money. And he touched a
few balls nice, too. He dropped
a couple balls in, and the key to
passing is it's a finesse art."
Now Robinson has to put it
all together - running, passing
intermediate, and throwing the
deep bombs he didn't attempt
against Minnesota. Once that
happens, the game will open up,
Borges explained, because throw-
ing the ball downfield - or at least
attempting to - keeps the defense
honest and frees up space to run.
Still, seeing his passes com-
pleted did something to boost
his confidence, Robinson said,
because even though they'd done
that all summer, it wasn't clicking
in games.
"I told him when I came here,
'We're going to see what we can
do,' " Borges said. "And I knew
there was going to be some devel-
opmental pain here because it's
so different the way we coach a
quarterback, but as he gets his feet
on the ground literally and figu-
ratively, you're going to see he'll
make more and more headway as
we go."

Do''asSatu'Ay N"DA
Junior quarterback Denard Robinson threw for 169 yards on 15-of-19 passing against Minnesota last Saturday.

Gardner under center. All four can
run the ball, and if junior running
back Vincent Smith is back there,
three of them can throw it too.
Robinson took handoffs, faked
like he was throwing the ball,
acted like a decoy and ran an
option play too - all in just four
plays.
"Yeah, I mean we haven't done
(anything) out of itcyet that we can

do," Robinson said Monday with a
wide smile. "It's goingto be kinda
fun to do it."
Added Borges: "(In) Big Ten
play, we'll empty the drawer more
as we go now."
As Michigan enters the beef of
its Big Ten schedule this weekend
on the road against Northwest-
ern, Borges and Michigan coach
Brady Hoke accomplished what

they wanted with the package:
involve Gardner on offense and
scare other teams silly with Rob-
inson.
"Part of that positive is people
now (have to) work on it," Hoke
said. "That's just one more thing
as a defensive coach - you only
have so many hours a day and so
much time on the practice field
- that's another piece to the puz-

Freshmen finding ice time, making difference for Berenson

I

Forward Travis
Lynch scored first
career goal against
Niagara on Tuesday
By MATT SLOVIN
Daily Sports Writer
The only thing bigger than
the larger-than-life jumbotroin
at Yost Ice Arena during the first
week of hockey season has been
the play of the Wolverines' fresh-
men.
And Michigan coach Red
Berenson's newest class can't
seem to spend enough time
together.
When the program's eight
freshmen aren't on the ice at
Yost, they stick together - eat-
ing meals and studying together
even without the coach's watch-
ful eye.
"We're really close," said
freshman forward Travis Lynch
of his classmates.
"We spend a lot of time
together, really getting to know
each other. So it's really good
that we're spendingthe next four.
years together."
This weekend, the youngsters
will continue to learn on the fly

as Bentley University (0-0) visits
Ann Arbor for a two-game series
at Yost - the first-ever meetings
between the two programs.
"They're going to get the
chance to play more than fresh-
men have in the past," Berenson
said. "There are opportunities
for them to step in and play a

to admit that blind luck played a
role.
"It was at the end of a shift,
actually," Lynch said. "So Hun-
wick shot it and it ... kicked to the
middle and I picked it up and the
(defender) was catching me. So I
went into the zone, had to spin
around and a no-look shot went

good ro
Bere
exactly
ing T
"
feel
ca
ai
openin
Three
combin
first tin
ines (1-
Lync
goal sc
was jus
a line c
his first
And

le." in.
nson's freshmen didn't "I kind of closed my eyes when
fly under the radar dur- I shot it."
uesday night's season- He opened them just in time to
see it sail past the Purple Eagle
netminder.
Lynch then quickly braced
They're all himself for the mob of team-
mates ready to swarm him after
ing that they the tally.
. y nFor those getting their first
n play and ... look at Lynch, it may have come
,, as a surprise.
re playing. But Berenson knew to expect
early contributions from his
whom he described as "respon-
sible."
g 5-0 win over Niagara. "That's why I like him,"
of the team's freshmen Berenson said. "I trust him and
ed for four points in their I put him out there when we're
ne skating for the Wolver- shorthanded because ... he takes
0). pride in that part of his game.
h was the lone freshman I've liked Travis Lynch from day
orer of the freshmen. He one."
t about to leave the ice on And after exposing the fresh-
'hange before he notched man class early, Berenson found
career goal. all the more reason to mix them
Lynch would be the first in more often.

AOL M.
A

I

a

ALDEN RESS/DAILY
Freshman forward Travis Lynch notched a shorthanded goal against Niagara, his first career goal at Michigan.
"They're all getting confi- If the newcomers aren't know no bounds.
dence," Berenson said. "They're entirely integrated into Beren- "This isn't just about playing
all feeling that they can play and son's style yet - and just one with the puck," Berenson said.
they are playing. They're learn- game into the season, that would "It's your compete level, your
ing how to play within our sys- be nearly impossible - the limits think as a group, they're picking
tem, too." of what these freshmen can do it up well."

STAFF PICKS
The Daily football writers do their best
to predict, against the spread, what
happens in the 2011 football season.

Michael
Florek

No.12 Michigant(-6) vs.Northwestern
5o.t LSU(-2)s.SNo.17 Florida
No.2Alabanma(-29)vs. Vanderbilt
No. 3 Oklahoma (-10,5) at No. 11 Texas
No.5 Boise State-19.5) at Fresno State
No.6 Oklahoma State (-29)vs. Kansas
No.7 Stanford (-29) vs. Colorado
No.O8Clemson (-20) vs.Boston College
So. Oregon1-20.5) vs. Cal
No.t1 Arkansas (-0) us. No. 15 Auburn
tie. 13 Georgia Tech (-15) us. Maryland
No. 14 Nebraska (-10)nvs. Ohio State
No. 16 WVU (-14.5) vs. Connecticut
No.1South Carlina-20.5n. Kntucky
Not lllnoi(-1) atlIndiana
No. 20Kansas Statevn. Missouri (2.51
So. 21 Virginia Tech (-61vso. Miami (Fla.)
No. 22 ASU (-3) at Utah
No. 23 Florida State (-12.5) at Wake Forest
No. 24 Texas A&M (-6.5) at Texas Tech
No. 25 Baylor (-14) vs.Iowa State
Purdue 0-0) us. Minneota
Penn State (-2) n. Iowa
Last Week
Overall

Michigan
Lousiana Stats
Vanderbilt
Oklahoma
Boise State
Oklahoma State
Stanford
Oregon
Arkansas
Georgia Tech
Nebraska
West Virginia
Kenrucky
Illinois
Kansas Stats
Virginia Tech
Arizona State
Florida State
Texas A&M
Baylor
Purdue
Penn State
9-12
72- 6-3

Stephen J.
Nesbitt
Michigan
Louisiana State
Alabama
Oklahoma
Boise State
Oklahoma State
Stanford
Clamsour
Oregon
Arkansan
GeorgiaTech
Nebraska
West Virginia
South Carolina
Illinois
Kansas Sate
Virginia Tech
Arizona State
Florida State
Texas A&M
Baylor
Purdue
Penn State
12-9
77-51-3

Tim
Rohan

Louisiana Stats
Alabama
Texas
Boise State
Oklahoma State
Stanford
Boston Cullege
Oregon
Arkansas
Maryland
Nebraska
West Virginia
Kerrucky
Illinois
Kansas Snare
VirginiaTe c
Arizona State
Florida State
Texas Tech
Baylor
Purdus
Pe eState
10-11
74-54-3

Alabama
Oklahoma
Boise State
Oklahoma State
Stanford
Clemson
Oregone
Auburn
Georgia Tech
Nebraska
West Virginia
South Carolina
Illinois
Missouri
Virginia Tech
Arizona State
Florida State
Texas A&M
Baylor
Minnsota
12-9
82-46-3

Alaama
Oklahoma
Boise State
Oklahoma State
Stanford
Clemson
Oregon
Arkansas
Georgia Tech.
Nebraska
WestVirgina
Sourh Carolina
Iliinois
Kansas State
Virginia T
Utah
Florida State
Texas A&M
Baylor
Purdue
11-9
39-25-1

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