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April 16, 2012 - Image 9

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U The Michigan Daily Imichigandaily.com jApril 16, 2012

C

Rawls powers into spotlight with two TDs
Backup running Saturday afternoon at Michi- and burst into the secondary. shirt junior left tackle Taylor ning back spot locked up, Rawls numbers have no place to go but
gan Stadium. Seeing significant That's where freshman safety Lewan. could prove to be an important up.
back displays grit, time as the backup to redshirt Jarrod Wilson, an early-enroll- "I think he's like a bowling asset in the backfield. "I'm not surprised at all at
Y junior tailback Fitzgerald Tous- ee, learned that Rawls isn't eas- ball, man," said fifth-year senior "When Thomas hits you, what he did today," Lewan said.
hard-nosed style in saint, Rawls scored the only two ily stopped. safety Jordan Kovacs. "He's a you're going to feel it," Borges "The sky's the limit for him, and
touchdowns of the game. Wilson met Rawls head on, grinder on offense." said. "He makes no concessions he's going to be an awesome
But it was the wasn't the but bounced off the 5-foot-10, "He's a different kind of run- to the defense. He's got a little back to have in this group."
stats that made Rawls the high- 219-pound tailback in a massive ner - he's a battering-ram-type bit of stop-and-go ability, but Senior defensive"end Craig
By STEPHEN J. NESBITT light of the annual intrasquad collision and fell to the ground guy," said offensive coordinator I wouldn't say that's his game. Roh echoed Kovacs' assessment
DailySportsEditor scrimmage - it was the path of as Rawls scampered past and Al Borges. His game is running through of Rawls being a bowling ball,
destruction he left in his wake. into the end zone. Animal, bowling ball or bat- people and making himself very and he even went further.
It's not easy to slow down Early in the event, Rawls took He might look like a pip- tering ram, Rawls made an difficult to tackle and falling "Rawls is my new favorite
Thomas Rawls. It's even harder a handoff from redshirt fresh- squeak in the backfield, but impact during spring camp, forward." player on our team - he's just
to stop him. man quarterback Russell Bel- there's something different earning rave reviews from Rawls played in 10 games as a a guy that will bulldoze people
The sophomore running back lomy and found a seam in the about Rawls. Just ask his team- Borges and Michigan coach freshman last season, collecting over," Roh said. "It's fun to
put on a clinic in the Michigan offensive line. He'broke an arm mates. Brady Hoke. Though Toussaint 79 yards on 13 carries. From his watch. He'll just throw guys."
football team's Spring Game on tackle at the line of scrimmage "He is an animal," said red- certainly has the starting run- teammates' point of view, those See RAWLS, Page 3B

r
I

Defense working to Backup QBs flash youth,
improve the middle potential in Spring Game

By LUKE PASCH It didn't seem like a matter
DailySportsEditor of high-expectation coach-
speak, either. Hoke elaborated
At a glance, the Michigan on a number of areas where
football team's defense appears the defense failed. Regardless
to have successfully stymied of what the scoreboard said on
the offense throughout Satur- Saturday afternoon, the defen-
day's Spring Game. The offense sive unit has a long way to go to
scored just a pair of touch- be ready for the season opener
downs, both on scampers by against defending national
sophomore tailback Thomas champion Alabama.
Rawls. "I didn't feel like we were
But when asked if the tackling like we need to, and
defense was simply set up for that's concerning," Hoke said.
success because the star of "The point of attack defensive-
Michigan's offensive attack ly, especially up the middle, is
- senior quarterback Denard not where it has to be before we
Robinson - played only one get to September 1. That's both-
set of downs, Michigan coach ersome."
Brady Hoke was blunt in his It's somewhat understand-
response. able that the middle of the front
"I didn't see the defense have seven would need improve-
a better day (than the offense)," ment at this point in spring.
Hoke said. The Wolverines' returning

playmakers are mostly in the
secondary and the outside.
Names that come to mind are
fifth-year senior safety Jordan
Kovacs, sophomore cornerback
Blake Countess, senior defen-
sive end Craig Roh and redshirt
sophomore outside linebacker
Jake Ryan.
The middle two on the
defensive line, conversely,
have a daunting task ahead in
replacing key components of
last season's defense. Senior
nose tackle Will Campbell
and junior defensive tackle
Jibreel Black - who is making
the move inside this offseason
- are replacing last season's
standout seniors Mike Martin
and Will Heininger.
Defensive coordinator Greg
Mattison has liked what he's
See DEFENSE, Page 3B

By BEN ESTES
Daily Sports Editor
Denard Robinson played one
series and then rode the bench of
the rest of the afternoon.
That's how you knew it was the
Spring Game.
Robinson, Michigan's senior
startingquarterback, led the team
out of the tunnel, went through
warmups and then took the field
for the first series of Saturday's
scrimmage at Michigan Stadium,
completing a couple short passes
but doing little else of note.
Just like that, Robinson's
afternoon came to a conclusion.
He didn't take another snap. But
that's the way Michigan coach
Brady Hoke and offensive coor-
dinator Al Borges planned it -
they wanted to get a look at the
two scholarship backups, junior
Devin Gardner and redshirt

Junior Devin Gardner struggled at quarterback in the Spring Game.
freshman Russell Bellomy. fresh, it will be important for
Since Robinson will undoubt- Gardner or Bellomy to be able to
edly need to be periodically step in and keep the offense mov-
spelled next season in order to ing. Inexperience was a problem
keep his body intact and his legs See QUARTERBACKS, Page 35

In his hands, Roundtree develops a positive into his negative

By ZACH HELFAND
Daily Sports Editor
There is a photograph on the
wall of Roy Roundtree's bed-
room. A reminder, he calls it,
of the greatest moment of his
career.
The photograph shows an
airborne Roundtree, then a red-
shirt junior, catching the game-
winning pass with just four
seconds left on the clock against

Notre Dame last September.
The photo is a reminder of
something else, too, a reminder
of why his hands are sore every
day, of why he spends as much
time at practice catching tennis
balls as he does footballs.
There are other iconic photos
of Michigan receivers. Desmond
Howard remains suspended
in midair, also against Notre
Dame, ready to cradle the most
famous reception of his career in

his outstretched hands. Braylon
Edwards is out-leaping a Michi-
gan State defender to catch the
game-winning pass in 2004 to
cap a 17-point fourth-quarter
comeback.
Again, in Edwards' snapshot,
he's plucking the ball out of the
air using his hands.
That's where Roundtree's
differs. In Roundtree's, the ball
is trapped rather awkwardly
between his wrists and his

chest, a no-no for receivers.
And that, Michigan coach
Brady Hoke said after Satur-
day's Spring Game, is where
Roundtree has made the biggest
strides this offseason.
"(Roy) has really improved a
lot," Hoke said. "He's catching
the ball away from his body bet-
ter just throughout the spring."
Hoke also mentioned route
running as an area of improve-
ment, as Roundtree develops

into the Wolverines' most dan-
gerous and reliable receiv-
ing option. The route running
comes from maturity and expe-
rience in offensive coordinator
Al Borges' offense. The hands,
well, that takes more work.
As Howard said after Sat-
urday's game, "Someone here
asked a question. 'Is that just
something that comes with get-
ting a year older?' Nah, it doesn't
happen that way. You can be

a year older next year, you try
catching it away from your body
if you're not comfortable with it
now."
Catching away from the body
is important not only to limit
drops, but to lead to more yards
after the catch. Howard said
catching with the hands allows
receivers to maintain their
speed after a reception.
To emphasize catching passes
See ROUNDTREE, Page 3B

CLOSING CHAPTER
Chronicling the senior seasons of
* Michigan student-athletes Alex Hunt and
Stuart Douglass. Page 4B

TEAM ONE BEATEN
The Michigan men's lacrosse team lost
its first-ever match to Ohio State, a 12-9
decision at Michigan Stadium. Page 3B

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