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November 30, 2011 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-11-30

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, November 30,2011 - 7A

Robinson settles into 'makeshift' offense

quarterback and
round-hole offense
find happy medium
Daily Sports Editor
At the beginning of the season,
offensive coordinator Al Borges
said he wasn't going to make the
Michigan football team's offense
a round hole for a square peg in
junior quarterback Denard Rob-
inson. After nearly three months
of adjusting, the sentiment finally
rang true.
But it took some whittling of
that square peg. Robinson had to
improve his footwork and make
better decisions, like scrambling
instead of trying to force throws.
It also took a bit of hole-widening.
Borges has created what Michi-
gan coach Brady Hoke called a
"makeshift" offense, mixing ele-
ments of both the West Coast and
spread offenses.
Whatever it is, there's no argu-
ing with the results. Robinson
accounted for nine touchdowns
in the team's final two games. His
quarterback rating against Ohio
State was an astounding 223.1
after tossing just three incomple-
tions and no interceptions. He
earned a second-straight co-Big
Ten Offensive Player of the Week

ent typ
what w
now," s
ter Dav
the sys
ment s
the mos
the firs
siant, R
the end
to tie th
But a
been Ro
that hu
weeks. I
from his

"I think the thing we were
s developed as a differ- missing (was) Fitzgerald Tous-
e of quarterback, kind of saint running the football and
ig to the mesh between the job those guys up front have
as last year and what is done," Hoke said. "(It) helps
aid fifth-year senior cen- everything."
id Molk. "He has fell into As for the critics who said he
tem. He understands it couldn't throw, Robinson flashed
a briefsmile in the postgame press
nson's biggest improve- conference when he was told he
eems to be his gains on passed Tom Brady for sixth all-
les. His 170 rushing yards time on Michigan's all-time list
the Buckeyes were by far for touchdown passes.
Perhaps the best thing Rob-
inson has is time. It will be over
a month before No. 17 Michigan
e's developed plays in a bowl game.-The foot-
work and throwing mechanics
a different will improve with the extra bowl
type of But he also has a senior year
to play out. And by the time next
arterbaCk." season comes around, the peg and
the hole may fit together better
than ever. Once the coachingstaff
finishes recruiting in February,
t since Big Ten play began. the focus will turn back to the
his biggest rush came in whatever problems the team had
t quarter. After faking a from this season.
to redshirt sophomore "You pretty much go back and
back Fitzgerald Tous- evaluate what you can coach bet-
.obinson bounced around ter on both sides of the ball," Hoke
I and found the corner, said. "Is there something differ-
g for a 41-yard touchdown ent to stay ahead of the curve that
e game at 7. you want to look at?"
ccording to Hoke, it hasn't Can Hoke and Borges add even
binson's unwillingness to more to the offenseto playto Rob-
e or the offensive system inson's skills before the Wolver-
rt his running in recent ines play Alabama in the opener
He just needed a little help in Dallas?
s friends. "Yeah," Hoke said. "We will."

Junior quarterback Denard Robinson was named second-team All-Big Ten on Monday, as voted by the media. Robin-
son threw for more than 2,000 yards and ran for more than 1,000 yards this season.

Michigan prepares for
fast-paced Terrapins in
Big Ten/ACC challenge

Fifth-year senior goaltender Shawn Hunwick and the Michigan hockey team have allowed more goals in the past six games than they did in their previous 12 games.
Hunwick, defense look for answers
after allowing 23 goals in six games

Daily Sports Writer
It's easy for players on the
Michigan hockey team to start
pointing fingers as the program
endures its longest losing streak
since the 1998-99 season. Maybe
one line isn't pulling its weight or
a special teams unit has started
to slack.
But for the Wolverines, the
problem is clear.
Over the last six games, No.
19 Michigan (3-5-2 CCHA, 7-7-2
overall) has given up 23 goals.
Before the losing streak started,
the Wolverines had allowed just
20 goals over 12 games.
Michigan's scoring has been
inconsistent at times this sea-
son, but doubling a season total
of goals allowed over the span of
six games won't help a team win
many games, no matter what the
offense is doing.
Michigan coach Red Berenson
was particularly disappointed
after a pair of losses last week-
end, a 4-1 loss to Northeastern
and a 6-3 loss to Union.
"We are only good if our goals
against are down," Berenson
said. "We give up 10 goals against
over two games? How can you
feel good about that at home?
That's a team issue that starts
with goalies, but it's defense and
forwards too. It's everyone."
When that many goals are

allowed, the first player to con-
sider is the goaltender. Fifth-year
senior Shawn Hunwick entered
the season as the unquestioned
starter for the first time in his
career, and he sure looked the
part when he shut out Niagara in
the season opener.
His full impact was felt in the
season's first road series against
Northern Michigan, when he
was ejected for fighting. Backup
sophomore goaltender Adam
Janecyk was forced into the
game and didn't stand a chance,
allowing four goals in a 5-3 Mich-
igan loss.
The next night, Hunwick
stopped all three shots ina shoot-
out victory over the Wildcats.
The goalie has been Hunwick
all year, and presumably, it will
continue to be Hunwick all year.
But he admitted the last cou-
ple of weeks might be the worst
stretch of his career at any level,
and at times, that has been obvi-
ous. He hasn't played all too
poorly, but he also hasn't played
like the Shawn Hunwick - one of
the best goaltenders in the nation
- that Michigan fans are accus-
tomed to.
"I need to get back to worry-
ing about myself," Hunwick said.
"Maybe I need to start being a
little selfish.... Sometimes I think
about the team too much and I
just need to worry about myself.
If I am not doing my job, I'm not

to win.
that h
the tea
front o
gic and
plays t
a mont
and mo
can't at
goals s
to pay:
said sol
area w
play -
or a de
of posi
and opt
can tu
when t

my team the best chance faced one-on-one with a shooter,
"' which is a big reason for Hun-
it'd be ludicrous to claim wick's rising goals against totals.
e is the sole reason for "Shawngivesus achanceevery
m's woes. The defense in night, but when you are getting
if him has looked lethar- odd man rushed it's tough," Ben-
i unfocused at times. Lazy nett said. "Even a goalie who has
hat were not being made the best save percentage in the
h ago are becoming more country is going to get scored on
re prevalent for a unit that sometimes in those situations."
fford to take a shift off. Added Berenson: "We are ask-
ing him to bail us out too often.
Everything that could go wrong
need to be bas gone wrong, yet he still made
some good saves over the week-
better the end."
Even though the two "units"
ense needs to are separate, it's easy to lump
Hunwick and the defense togeth-
be er as one group. The two groups
bounce off each other more than
any other on the ice, and if one
starts to play better, chances are
the other will too.
'time you are getting more "I am talking to (Michigan
cored on you, you have goalie coach Josh Blacklarn),
more attention to detail," about how before he got to Mich-
phomore defenseman Mac igan he was playing on bad teams,
t. "I think that may be an he would give up nine goals and
e are lacking." still think he played a good
iple goals last weekend game," Hunwick said. "So just
d from sloppy defensive talking to him and trying to push
the puck was given away through it."
fenseman was caught out Hunwick isn't pointing fin-
tion, leaving the opposing gers, though. Michigan's defen-
with nothing but the puck sive issues involve more than just
en space. one culprit.
e aren't many goalies who "I need to be better, the
rn away shot after shot defense needs to be better and
they are left out to dry, we all need to step up," he said.

Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan women's bas-
ketball team has earned some
tight wins this season, but
none compare
to the chal- Michigan at
lenge that lies
ahead. Maryland
The Wol- Matchup:
verines (7-0) Michigan 7-0;
will take the Maryland 7-0
road to face When:
No. 6 Mary- Wednesday
land (7-0) in 7 P.M.
their Big Ten- Where: Cam-
ACC Chal- cast Center
lenge game on
This is the first true test for
Michigan, which has yet to
face a ranked opponent all sea-
son. The Wolverines' toughest
win came against Florida in
their season opener, when thoy
pulled out a three-point victory
on the road.
Loading Michigan into Col-
logo Park, Md. is senior guard
Courtney Boylan, who aver-
ages 15 points and five rebounds
per game, and junior forward
Rachel Sheffer, who averages
11.6 points per game. Junior
guard Jenny Ryan is coming off
an excellent tournament per-
formance in the Virgin Islands,
posting a double-double against
Marquette. She currently leads
the team with six rebounds per
Rebounding has been a huge
focus for the Wolverines this
season, and it's a big reason
for their early season success.
So far, Michigan is averaging
roughly six more rebounds per
game than it did last season.
"Rebounding has been the
biggest significant change in
what we've done in the past four
years," said Michigan coach
Kevin Borseth. "Our perspec-
tive on rebounding has changed
- we block out. We spend every
day blocking out."
Michigan has outrebounded
its opponents in five of its seven
games this year. Against Mary-
land, the Wolverines will have
their work cut out for them on
the boards.
It's what the Terrapins are
known for.
This season, Maryland is
averaging 20 more rebounds
a game than its opponents.
Tianna Hawkins, a 6-foot-3
junior forward, leads the team
in rebounding with 10 per

game. Michigan will look to
limit Hawkins and Maryland's
seven other 6-foot players on
the boards to stay competitive.
"I think it's going to be the
rebounding battle that will be
the deciding factor," Ryan said.
"They get offensive rebounds,
that's what Maryland is known
for. Our ability to negate that
and cut down their rebounds
makes our chances that much
better. If you look at the stats at
the end of the game, whichever
way (rebounding) goes will be a
big factor."
Borseth said that limit-
ing Maryland's offensive and
defensive rebounds will be a
way to keep the score close.
"They want to put every-
thing down around the basket,"
Borseth said. "They want to
rebound, they want to get down
the court, shoot it and send five
people to the offensive glass
and get it, and they can pretty
much doit every time they want
Maryland is seventh in the
nation in points per game and
scored 114 points in its last
game against California State
Bakersfield. And a lot of its bas-
kets came off second-chance
opportunities - the team aver-
ages 16.3 offensive rebounds per
game. This has allowed the Ter-
rapins to use the clock to extend
their offensive possessions and
wear out an opponent's defense.
The Wolverines will look to
contain the Terrapins' shooting
and focus on improving their
shot selection, as well.
"It's definitely going to be on
our end to minimize (scoring),"
Ryan said.
"Since they are such a high
scoring team and that's what
they're known for, at the same
time, we're going to have to
score. It's not going to be one of
these games when you can get
away with scoring SO points.
We're going to have to be solid
on both ends of the floor."
Michigan's offense will need
to help out its defense by taking
smart shots and utilizing pos-
sessions to its advantage.
"If we make a shot, they have
to take it out of bounds and
that eliminates their transition
game," Ryan said.
"And that's going to be a
major thing, using the shot
clock to our advantage to mini-
mize their possessions and
make the most out of our pos-

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