The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Thursday, October 13, 2011 - 7A
issues are an easy fix
Brute strength anchors'D'
By TIM ROHAN
The second Denard Robinson
lets go of a pass, he can tell if
Maybe his feet weren't right.
Maybe it wasn't the best decision.
Last Saturday against North-
western, when Robinson tied a
career high with three first-half
interceptions, the problem was
"Do you transfer through
your throws when you set your
hips to throw?" asked Michigan
offensive coordinator Al Borges
on Tuesday. "If you can get your
hips set to the target and you can
transfer it through your throw,
you can do a lot of other things
wrong and still complete passes.
We didn't do that and that's why
we threw a couple of intercep-
Borges and Robinson "went
over the tape and doggone it we
beat it up one side and down the
other," as Borges said. They saw
Robinson sail two passes over
the head of fifth-year senior wide
receiver Junior Hemingway and
toss another carelessly into dou-
ble coverage, looking for junior
running back Vincent Smith.
said, diagnosing the problem.
"And every time you over-stride,
the ball tends to sail.
"It's really easy to correct. I
mean, we've been working on it
all fall and summer."
Most of Robinson's mistakes
are easy to correct. Simple tech-
nique and fundamentals usu-
ally are, but now he just has to be
more consistent in his approach.
Each time he struggled early
against Notre Dame and North-
western - two of Michigan's
toughest opponents so far - then
he improved in the second half.
He threw for 202 yards, com-
pleting 7-of-10 passes for three
touchdowns and one intercep-
tion in just the fourth quarter
against the Fighting Irish, then
completed 7-of-8 passes for 139
yards in the second half against
And the Wolverines outscored
their opponents 56-7 during
those three quarters.
After the Northwestern game,
Robinson admitted to being
excited and amped up at the
start, just like he was against
Notre Dame when he started
poorly and recovered late. The
overthrows may have been over-
striding, but they were ultimately
blamed on an "excitable" quar-
terback, as Michigan coach Brady
Hoke likes to call him.
"He's not the first guy to have
that happen to him," Borges said.
" He was fired up. It's interesting.
By STEVEN BRAID
Daily Sports Writer
Entering its matchup against
Michigan State, the Michigan
women's soccer team was not
since MICHIGAN 0
2003, MICHIGAN STATE 2
was also searching for its first
score against its in-state foe in
roughly three years.
The Wolverines (3-3-1 Big
Ten, 8-5-2 overall) will have to
wait another year to try to snap
both droughts, as they were shut
out once again 2-0 by the Spar-
"They're a good team all
around," said Michigan coach
Greg Ryan. "They're a solid
defensive team, but I don't
think they were really worried
about defending us because
they knew that we didn't have
our personnel in place, and
rightly so. I give them a lot of
credit for having a very aggres-
sive game plan."
Playing shorthanded, Michi-
gan wasn't able to absorb the
pressure applied by Michigan
State (4-3-0 Big Ten, 11-4-0
overall). Already without junior
midfielder Holly Hein and soph-
omore forward Meghan Toohey
for the remainder of the season,
the Wolverines were also with-
out their leading scorer, sopho-
By TIM ROHAN for Michigan this season. His
Daily SportsEditor stats aren't flashy - 16 tackles,
1.5 tackles for loss - but his pres-
Michigan strength and con- ence on the defensive line has
ditioning coach Aaron Wellman allowed others to make plays.
has a system set for the way his On Saturday, the Spartans will
players bench press. If they can be hell-bent on running the ball
lift 225 pounds with its trio of backs - Le'Veon
25 times, they NOTEBOOK Bell, Larry Caper and Edwin
move up to 275 Baker - each of whom took
pounds. If they can move that turns slashing a porous Wolver-
much weight 25 times, they grad- ine rush defense in last year's
uate to 315 pounds. game.
When Wellman arrived at It was in that game that Mar-
Michigan, after Brady Hoke was tin first hurt his ankle on a play
hired as head coach in January, near the goal line. He wasn't the
he had never had a player who same player for the rest of the
could bench press 315 pounds 25 2010 season, recording just one-
times. half tackle for loss and zero sacks
He told senior defensive tack- the final seven games. So Mar-
le Mike Martin: "If you get to tin's no stranger to how physical
there, you never have to work out the matchup can be.
again." "I get excited when we run
Martin laughed it off, retell- into a team that wants to run,"
ing the line to his teammates. But Martin said. "Defensive line,
then he started working hard. you've got to thrive on that.
Wellman's methods were work- You've got to be excited about a
ing. team that says, 'We're going to
A few months into training, run at you every single play and
Martin was getting close to the we'll see if you can stop it.' That's
25 reps at 315 pounds when the a big challenge for us."
Wolverines were about to mea- Martin said he's heard the
sure their bench presses again. stat that the team that's won the
"Hey Mike, I don'twant you to rushing battle is 38-3 in the past
strain a (pectoral muscle) or get 41 years. If it were up to brute
hurt or anything like that," Well- strength alone, Martin would
man intervened. have already won.
"I think in the back of his head But could Martin put up 315
he didn't want me to break that pounds 25 times?
25 mark, because he knew what "Yeah, I'll tell coach Wellman
he said, and he was probably and walk down there right now
going to have to eat those words," and do that, " he said.
Martin said Wednesday. TAKING ONE FOR THE TEAM:
A few days before he plays Questions about how excited
what is dubbed the most physical junior quarterback Denard Rob-
game of the season, Martin said inson got before games got Mar-
he could bench 225 pounds - the tin thinking about how he gets
standard weight used at the NFL ready for games. And traveling
Scouting Combine - 40 times as to play Saturday in East Lansing
of the Wolverines' last strength will be no walk in the park.
test before fall camp. Just six "I actually talked to Dave
players in the pastsix years at the Molk about how he prepares
Combine have recorded reps of mentally," Martin said. "And I
40 or greater on the bench press. don't know, you guys have prob-
Michigan State is going to ably heard that he bangs his
have one strong man to move off head. He grabs a freshman and
the ball come Saturday. he headbutts a freshman to try
Martin has quietly been one of and get his anger out. Because he
the cogs ina defensive revolution can't go out-"
The room burst into laughter.
"Oh, wellyouprobably haven't
heard that then. He's got to get
his anger outso when he goes out
there and snaps he can't have bad
snaps. He has to be able to step
"But for me as a (defensive)
lineman, I've got to be very
aggressive and very amped up
the whole game. I guess it's a lit-
tle bit different for each position,
and quarterback, obviously you
have to be very calm, I'm guess-
ing, got to be able to make throws
and read keys."
Then Martin let the gravity of
what he said about Molk sink in.
"Yeah, that's pretty funny," he
"Is that with helmet or with-
out helmet?" one reporter asked.
"With helmet, I think," Mar-
tin said. "Dave's crazy. You never
know with Dave."
KICK ONE FOR THE GIBBER:
Up 11 points in the fourth quar-
ter, Michigan didn't necessar-
ily need redshirt sophomore
kicker Brendan Gibbons to hit
the 47-yard field goal he stared
down. But it would've been nice.
Gibbons's kick was blocked,
Hoke explained Thursday,
because the guard just couldn't
handle the two or three guys
Northwestern threw at him.
With the miss, Gibbons fell to
4-for-6 on the season, connect-
ing on all four kicks inside the
40-yard line and missing tries of
40 and 47 yards.
Hoke previously said that if
the kick was too long for Gib-
bons, freshman kicker Matt
Wile would be called upon from
a certain distance. But that plan
seems to have changed.
Hoke was comfortable send-
ing Gibbons out for the 47-yarder
against Northwestern because
he's seen the kicker hit from 55
yards, "with a little bit of dis-
tance to it."
But has he supplanted Wile as
the long-range field goal kicker?
"I don't know," Hoke said.
"I have a lot of faith in Brendan
Junior quarterback Denard Robinson has thrown nine interceptions this seasor.
You can feel it pregame the way
the guy's going to go. Basically
you want to make sure he under-
stands to keep a good fundamen-
tal foundation. Do the things that
are right about the position. It's
a finesse art, and if you let your
emotions override your funda-
mentals, like any other position,
"Once he got a groove, it all
changed. You could see it. You
could really see it. Second half, he
flung one dig on third down, and
I could tell he was back. Every
quarterback, even great quarter-
backs sometimes, they have those
kinds of games."
Borges praised his quarter-
back's ability to recover once he
did make a bad throw. But the one
mistake Borges can live without
is the interception - Robinson
has already thrown nine in six
games this season. Only two of
the top-100 rated passers have
thrown more interceptions than
Borges's mantra is simple:
"You can recover from incom-
Turnovers hurt more.
They certainly did a year ago
when Robinson ran into his first
roadblock of a Heisman-hyped
start to his 2010 season - rival
In perhaps his worst passing
game of the season, Robinson
threw three interceptions and
quarterbacked four drives that
ended in three-and-outs.
"There were some turn-
overs that hurt (Michigan last
year)," Borges said of the 2010
Michigan-Michigan State game.
"Mostly a lot of the same stuff we
did last game. That was pretty
much it. There were times when
I've watched last year where they
looked like they moved the ball
pretty good on them, but there
were some issues with just not
being able to finish drives."
If he sticksto his fundamentals
and avoids letting his excitement
inhibit his throwing motion, the
2011 season has proved Robinson
should be fine against the Spar-
"Big thing is he's got to let the
game come to him sometimes,"
Regardless, Borges isn't a
believer in benching quarter-
backs, even if he wasn't coaching
"Just because a kid throws a
couple of picks, pulling him out
of the game - I know a lot of guys
who are quick trigger guys and
they'll say, 'He's not playing well,
we'll get the other guy in there,'
" Borges said. "We're never doing
that. They can boo or do whatev-
er. ... You want to stick with that
guy, and if you stick with him you
give him a chance to prove that
he's your leader and the team will
believe in him. But if you go south
on him, I just don't believe that's
a good way of doing it.
"Now I've taken quarterbacks
out before, but that's usually
because they've lost their confi-
' -- - - - -
Senior defensive tackle Mike Martin has been a mainstayon the defensive line for the Wolverines this seaso.
zurike,'M' lacks scoring punch EsYou Yoawith a - p.
more forward Nkem Ezuirke.
Ezurike was forced to sit
out this contest after receiv-
ing her fifth yellow card of the
season against Northwestern.
NCAA rules state that if a player
receives her fifth yellow card of
the season, she must sit out the
Her physical presence was
sorely missed - Michigan's
offensive attack floundered
all game against the' Spartan
"It completely changes our
team," Ryan said. "We just
didn't have that target player
who could hold that ball up for
us today. It was a very, very dif-
"We're also still trying to fig-
ure how to adjust to Toohey's
loss, because she was such a
dynamic force in our midfield,
and not having both those play-
ers on the field made it very dif-
ficult for us today."
Without its usual level of con-
fidence, Michigan played pas-
sively and defensive-minded for
the majority of the game. The
Spartans outshot the Wolverines
12-1 in the first half, and they
held a 5-2 advantage in corner
But despite the lopsided
statistics, the Wolverines did
initially shut down Michigan
State's offense. The two teams
played to a scoreless draw enter-
Michigan caoch Greg Ryan was without sophomore forward Nkem Ezurike
most lethal scoring threat, in Wednesday's 2-0 loss to the Spartans.