The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Tuesday, December 13, 2011- 7
Seniors celebrate being 'back' Bowl practices ready
a new d
obinson voted took the podium.
"If I could apply for a sixth year,
chembechler I would," said fifth-year senior
VP for second- Fifth-year senior Troy Wool-
folk even joked he was grateful
secutive season senior wide receiver Martavious
Odoms broke his ankle before the
By TIM ROHAN 2010 season, so Woolfolk could be
Daily SportsEditor a part of this year's team.
"Always (I'll remember the
ONIA, Mich. - On the seniors) - no question," Michigan
he Michiganfootballteam's coach Brady Hoke told reporters
gathered to celebrate the after the bust. "The relationships
m being "back," Desmond are what you try and get out of
d compared former coach this.
odriguez "And to see these guys succeed
ry Coke. NOTEBOOK ... and to watch them growtogeth-
a brand er, that was the neat part."
ike Coke," said the Heis- By now, the seniors' story was
inner Howard, who served told: the fifth-year guys had three
emcee for the 91st annual head coaches and three differ-
an football bust at Lau- ent sets of position coaches. The
nor in Livonia, Mich. "So fourth-year seniors had never
eople in the boardroom at won a bowl game.
iake some crazy decisions Rodriguez's tumultuous tenure
cide to go with like Cherry seemingly came crashing down at
this event last year. An emotional
ey said, 'OK, we're going to Rodriguez began singing Josh
erry in Coke.' But then the Groban's "You Raise Me Up," as an
sers didn't like it too much. attempt to show how he felt about
n they had to go back and his players that had just endured
n some brilliant minds to another embarrassing season.
thing back on track." A year later, the seniors reflect-
ngRodriguez, who may not ed on their ascension with their
inderstood the Michigan own emotional speeches,
in and had non-traditional "There was a time when we got
s for the Big Ten, was com- booed by you guys and that hurt,"
to a high-profile corpora- fifth-year senior center David
:e Coke taking a chance on Molk told the crowd. "The reality
Irink. is this is Michigan, and we come
at's like Domino's Pizza back."
we're going to put pineap- "Coach Hoke, like you said on
pizza," Howard continued. day one, 'For God's sakes, this is
ou know, consumers aren't Michigan,' "said senior defensive
it." tackle Mike Martin.
higan Athletic Director Howard used his opening
trandon, the former Dom- remarks to heap praise onto
EO, who was sitting a few Hoke's turnaround effort this
way, laughed and shook his season. In particular, Howard
loved Hoke's hiring of defensive
what Michigan did is we coordinator of Greg Mattison. He
t in some brilliant minds, said Brandon made the hire of the
avid Brandon, to get this year in nabbing Hoke, then Hoke
back on track," Howard made the next-best hire by signing
Mattison. The phrase "Michigan
e than 1,600 people gath- Man" was thrown around several
tonday night to honor the times.
class and relive the 12th- Howard said he watched
Wolverines' 10-2 season. Hoke's introductory press confer-
yone had a lot to celebrate. ence with his wife and told her: "It
ank God for defense," was hard. It was long. But Dave
ed Howard, soon after he got the right guy."
Junior quarterback Denard Robinson threw for more than 2.000 yards and ran
for more than 1,000 as he led Michigan to a 10-2 record.
As he has done all season, Hoke
made sure the spotlight was on his
seniors, as he laughed and joked
with them all night.
"Doing this at a couple other
schools where you had fifth-year
seniors, at San Diego State, I was
their third head coach," Hoke
said. "That's part of it, and you
"There are some guys that this
place means an awful lot too - in
fact, all of them. They appreciate
what Michigan means and what it
has done for them."
AWARD WINNERS: Junior
quarterback Denard Robinson
was selected by his teammates
to receive the Bo Schembechler
Most Valuable Player award for
the second consecutive season.
"I think he means an awful
lot, but it was probably as close a
vote as I've ever seen," Hoke said.
"And what you tell is how they feel
about each other and what this
team has been all year long."
Molk was named the team's
Hugh H. Rader Jr. Memorial
Award winner as the team's top
offensive lineman, adding to his
already impressive trophy case.
Defensive linemen Martin, and
fifth-year seniors Ryan Van Ber-
gen and Will Heininger, took
home hardware too.
For the third-consecutive sea-
GV1G UGLC11MVC 1111C
son, Martin won the Richard
Katcher Award for Michigan's top
defensive lineman. Heininger, an
Ann Arbor native, was given the
Dr. Arthur D. Robinson schol-
arship award for the team's top
And Van Bergen shared the
Robert P. Ufer bequest with senior
tight end Kevin Koger. The honor
is bestowed upon the seniors who
demonstrate the most enthusiasm
and love for Michigan.
Redshirt junior Kenny Demens,
whose 86tackles led the team, was
given the Roger Zatkoff Award as
the Wolverines' top linebacker.
EVANS WON'T BE BACK:
Fifth-year senior Marell Evans is
not expected to play for Michigan
"Because of a twist of fate with
different transfers and things that
happened, Marell was not able to
play or be eligible," Hoke told the
crowd. "But what he did do every-
day on the scout team was, he did
a tremendous job of representing
our opponent and our opponent's
"I can't thank Marell enough
fur that because there would've
been a lot of guys that said, 'That's
it.' But this team means an awful
lot to him, and I'm very glad that
he made a decision to stick with
big bodies who
By MICHAEL FLOREK
For most of the season, Michi-
gan coach Brady Hoke reminded
the media that his team only had
12 guaranteed opportunities to
show people what it could do. Ten
wins turned 12 games into 13.
As the coaching staff tries to
find the formula to surpass the
total next season, the Wolverines
will have 12 more opportunities.
They're not wasting any time
preparing for them.
With two-and-a-half weeks
until the Sugar Bowl, No. 12
Michigan started bowl practices
last Friday. The tentative sched-
ule has the Wolverines practic-
ing during weekends to "dodge"
preparation for finals. But with
so much time before the bowl,
the coaching staff will devote a
little more time to developing the
"We'll, as a group, work on
fundamentals and technique
once we get back on the field,"
said Hoke in his Monday press
conference after the Ohio State
game. "You're doing a little bit
for everybody, but some of the
younger guys we'll give a couple
reps too and some stuff that we
maybe wouldn't (during a game
In particular, Hoke needs
to groom replacements on his
favorite unit, defensive line. The
departure of fifth-year seniors
Ryan Van Bergen and Will
Heininger, along with senior
Mike Martin leaves junior defen-
sive end Craig Roh as the lone
returning starter in the trenches
Martin finished ttird on the
team in tackles thisseason with
54. The backup defensive line-
men have registered just 44 tack-
les combined in their careers.
Hoke said he would treat the
beginning of bowl practice simi-
larly to fall camp, which should
lead to further improvement
for converted offensive lineman
Quinton Washington. Despite
only playing sparingly this sea-
son, the redshirt sophomore has
drawn the praise of his coaching
staff and teammates throughout
"That's the first guy that
popped into my head," Mar-
tin said of Washington when
asked about the younger players'
improvement. "It's is something
that not everyone gets to see obvi-
ously because he doesn't get a lot
of playing time, but he's made
huge strides. ... When he first got
here, he was a load to deal with
over there working hard with the
scout team and coach saw the
athleticism that he does have.
"Bringing his hands and feet
were huge for him. He struggled
with that and I've seen day and
night improvement from him."
Likely to join Washington as
heavy contributors on the line
for next season are junior Will
Campbell, who saw chunks of
playing time this season after
receiving a lot of hype in fall
.camp, and sophomore defensive
end Jibreel Black, who was also
a regular contributor. Hoke was
quick to praise Washington and
added a few more names that will
try to fill the giant gaps (literally)
left by the departing seniors.
"I like (Washington's) intensi-
ty about his work and his focus,"
Hoke said. "A kid named (fresh-
man) Keith Heitzman has shown
some things that you get excited
about. (Freshman) Chris Rock,
there's some things there that
he's doing well. (Redshirt fresh-
man) Richard Ash is a guy that
we've got to bring along."
The list isn't exactly full of rec-
ognizable faces, but according to
Martin, they soon will be.
"I have full faith that those
guys are going tobe able to reach
the expectations for tie position
to play defensive line at Michi-
gan," Martin said.
Martin, on the other hand, is
just thankful for one more oppor-
Wolverines enter home stretch of non- conference slate
By NEAL ROTHSCHILD
Daily Sports Editor
On Saturday, the No. 18 Michi-
gan men's basketball team escaped
from the Palace
at Auburn Hills Ark.-Pine
with a 90-80 win
over Oakland. Bluff at
It also escaped Michigan
from the rigor-
ous portion of its Matchup: Ark.
non-conference Pine Buff 5;
scheule. Michigan 7-2
With the When: Tues-
major-confer- day 7 P.M.
ence opponents Where:
(and tough mid- Crisler Arena
major compe- TV/Radio:
tition) in the ESPNU
(7-2) now shifts its attention to the
Arkansas-Pine Bluffs and Alabama
A&Ms of the schedule.
The Wolverines' next three
opponents are a combined 7-12,
and with each of those games being
played at Crisler Arena, it would
be a massive letdown if Michigan
didn't head into conference play at
10-2 - a familiar record for a cer-
tain bowl-bound team in the Ath-
After the Wolverines host Brad-
ley on Dec. 22, they will set their
sights on the Big Ten season. The
conference, which had just three
teams ranked in the preseason top-
25, now has six ranked teams. No.
19 Illinois, which was expected to
rebuild this year, is 10-0 so far. And
No. 20 Indiana, which hadn't been
ranked since 2008, just knocked
off Kentucky - previously the No.
"I think the league has sur-
prised people around the nation,"
said Illinois coach Bruce Weber
duringthe conference's teleconfer-
ence on Monday. "A good start for
us and for the whole Big Ten con-
ference. I've got to believe (the Big
Ten will) be RPI-wise No.1, unless
we really fall off these last couple
weeks of non-conference.
The Big Ten is indeed tops in
RPI at the moment. And its six
teams in the top-25 is tied for the
best in college basketball.
"I thought beforehand that we
were going to have a lot of sur-
prising teams," Weber said. "A
lot of the question marks that the
teams had and the conference
had, I think are starting to get
On Tuesday, Michigan will get
its first of three tuneups for Big
Ten play when it takes on Arkan-
sas-Pine Bluff. The low-revenue,
small-conference team has played
each of its games on the road and
won't play at home until Jan. 14.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1-5) has
struggled offensively and has
failed to top 60 points all season.
The Golden Lions have shot just38
percent from the field and average
52 points per game while allowing
68. Meanwhile, the Wolverines
put up a season-high 90 points on
Saturday on 57 percent shooting
from the floor and 54 percent
shooting behind the arc.
The Golden Lions' lone offen-
sive threat is senior guard Sava-
lace Townsend. The Mississippi
native has accounted for more
than one-third of Arkansas-Pine
Bluff's scoring and has tallied
nearly one-third of the team's
assists. Townsend likes to get to
the rim and is an excellent free
throw shooter, but he struggles
when forced to shoot the longer
Sophomore forward Evan
Smotrycz will be important in
helping out to keep Townsend
out of the lane and forcing
the guard to snake jumpers.
Smotrycz broke out for 20 points
on 7-for-8 shooting and nine
rebounds. His 5.7 boards leads
the team - a welcome change
from last year when guard Zack
Novak led the team.
The Wolverines should be
licking their chops at the Golden
Lions' offensive inefficiency.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff commits
almost two turnovers per assist -
a staggering ratio that Michigan
will surely try to exploit.
Freshman point guard Trey
Burke could be the beneficiary
of some of those turnovers if the
Golden Lions' guard play gets
sloppy. Burke, who picked up his
second Big Ten Freshman of the
Week award on Monday, scored
20 points and notched his highest
field-goal percentage of the season,
nailing seven of 11 shots. He also
tied a career high with nine assists.
"He has performed, what I say,
is atypical of most freshmen," said
Michigan coach John Beilein. "For
him to be playing 30-35 minutes
a game and still playing at a high
level all 30 or 35 says a lot about his
personality, his desire to win and
be a good player - really become a
good Big Ten player.
"We're just continuing to give
him more and more and he's show-
ing no frustration about when he
makes mistakes, and he's allowing
Freshman guard Trey Burke hit 7-of-11 shots from the field as he scored 20 points in Michigan's 90-80 win over Oakland.
himself to become a better player
because he's a great listener."
With the starting cast filling up
the stat sheet, Beilein will turn his
attention to the bench to figure out
roles entering Big Ten play.
The games in the next two
weeks will give Beilein a chance to
evaluate and decide who will see
the floor come Dec. 29 when Penn
State comes to Ann Arbor.
"We are still looking for what's
the best bench rotation. I think
that our starting five is pretty
solidified. You can count on (senior
guard) Stu Douglass coming off
"We are looking for who's going
to give us something both offen-
sively, defensively at the seventh,
eighth and ninth spots."
Campus Mind Works Groups
FREE drop-in education and support
groups for any U-M student with
Depression, Bipolar, or Anxiety
Seasonal Affective Disorder
When: Tuesday, December 13
from 5:30-7:00 p.m.
Where: Psychological Clinic, 2nd Floor
530 Church St., East Hall
for more information,
Presented by the U-M Depression
Center in collaboration with
the College of Engineering and
niversiyO "Michigan Psycholog ical Clinic,
Depression Center yogt
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