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November 15, 2012 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-11-15

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, November 15, 2012 - 7A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Thursday, Novemher 15, 2012 - 7A

Robinson boo-boo
hinders Iowa's prep

Kwiatkowski blazes walk-on trail

Daily Sports Editor
Maybe there is something to
this boo-boo business.
Michigan coach Brady Hoke
has declined to give any sort of
update on senior quarterback
Denard Robinson's status against
Iowa. And that's at least a bit of
an obstacle for
the Hawkeyes, NOTEBOOK
according to
coach Kirk Ferentz.
Hoke's refusal to provide any
information regarding Robinson
has produced some interesting
explanations. Last week, Hoke
said he would stop giving updates
on Robinson and redshirt fresh-
man quarterback Russell Bellomy
"in fairness to those kids." Ever
since, Hoke has favored the term
"day-to-day." On Monday, even
the potential for disappointment
if Robinson couldn't play was
deemed "day-to-day."
Ferentz said that means his
team must spend time preparing
for two quarterbacks.
"Hoke said it was a day-to-day
thing, which we understand that
totally," Ferentz said in a press
conference. He chuckled quietly,
then added, "You gotta be ready
for both. ... It's a little bit tricky
because you have two prepara-
tions. They're not that much dif-
ferent, but they're not the same
either. So it's two different prepa-
rations and both of them are tough
Both Robinson and junior
quarterback Devin Gardner have
earned Big Ten player of the week
honors this year after Gardner
won it for his performance against
Northwestern last week. Though
both signal-callers are similar in
the sense that they are dual-threat
quarterbacks, Ferentz noted that.
Michigan typically has more
designed runs with Robinson in
the game.
His players also said their

approach to the game differs
depending on who plays quarter-
back l r the Wolverines. Mostly,
it was Robinson's electric running
ability that posed the biggest chal-
lenges. Iowa defensive back Micah
Hyde said of Robinson, "when you
talk about Michigan's offense, you
gotta start with him."
Iowa defensive tackle Steve Big-
ach said that with Robinson in the
game, the defense has to treat the
Wolverines' offense as a two-back
set, with Robinson as an extra
running back. That forces Iowa to
put more defenders in the box.
"It's definitely dangerous," Big-
ach said. "It adds an extra element
to the game."
On Monday, Hoke added anoth-
er element of uncertainty. When
one reporter asked whether Rob-
inson would be available in a non-
throwing role if his injured elbow
healed enough to play, Hoke of
course revealed nothing certain.
"I guess I'll talk to him about
that day to day," he said.
HUT, HUT, HUH?: Borges
was mum on the reasons behind
Michigan's newfound propensity
to draw the opposing team off-
side with Gardner under center.
The Wolverines have induced five
encroachment flags with Gardner
as the starter.
That's a pretty significant devi-
ation from the average number of
offsides penalties.
Borges declined to say whether
this was simply an effective hard
count by Gardner or whether it
was by design.
"I won't answer that question,"
Borges said. "It's too -- tells too
Follwing Saturday's victory
over Northwestern, redshirt
junior Taylor Lewan said plays are
called to draw teams offsides.
"That's a situation we've gone
over a lot of times, and we have
packages we put in every once in
a while for different teams to keep
them on their toes," Lewan said.

Daily Sports Editor
Mike Kwiatkowski wasn't sup-
posed to make it this far.
The fifth-year senior tight end
admits that much himself. As a
senior at Dakota High School in
Macomb, Mich., Kwiatkowski
was only recruitedto play football
by Division-II schools.
Though he ended up choosing
to attend the University of Michi-
gan due to the school's strong
academics, Kwiatkowski never
thought he'd end up on the foot-
ball team. When he pushed his
way up to somewhere around the
fifth row of Michigan Stadium as
a fan during his first two years at
the school, he thoughtcthat was as
close to the field as he'd ever get.
Yet here is Kwiatkowski, pre-
paring to play his final game at
the BigHouse on Saturday, joined
by 22 other seniors, most of them
much more than ballyhooed than
he ever was.
It's fine to recognize how
unlikely it is that Kwiatkowski
rose from regular student to
scholarship starter in a matter of
three years - but don't call him a
"I actually despise that label,"
Kwiatkowski said. "Because like
you said, there's been a number
of (walk-ons) who have played,
and just because you weren't
given a scholarship doesn't mean
you aren't as capable. Obviously,
there's some exceptions to that, of
people who walk on and don't end
up playing.
"I guess that's the rule, if any-
Kwiatkowski has managed to
break that rule. When he arrived
at Michigan in 2008, he ignored
former high school teammate
Ricky Reyes, then a redshirt
junior walk-on himself, who
prodded him to try out for the
team right then and there.
Two years later, Kwiatkowski
was checking the Athletic Depart-
ment website to see how an exam
for a genetics class matched up
with the football schedule. He
noticed a blurb about open try-

outs - one of several suc
held by former coach Ric
guez in his three season
decided to give it a go.
Kwiatkowski's own4
tions were low - he jo
he had run about three
the two years before tha
tryout in 2010, and that
already sweating during

But then-
offensive coor-
dinator Calvin
Magee pulled
him . aside
while players
were walking
off the field
to deliver the

"I n

h tryouts himself forced to block either
h Rodri- Mike Martin or Ryan Van Bergen
is - and on any given play.
It was still a highlight to be on
expecta- the field on Saturdays, though,
ked that which occurred first for Kwiat-
times in kowski against Bowling Green in
it fateful 2010. He dressed for the first time
he was against Michigan State later that
g warm- year, but his real breakout came
in spring ball
after the sea-
ever expected Then-new
is day would coach Brady.
Hoke moved
come!' Kwiatkowski
to tight end full
time because
Michigan wasp
going to lacking depth at the position, and
i was at he impressed coaches and team-
at Magee mates alike during spring prac-
d on him tices. When the 2011 season rolled
verine. around, Kwiatkowski found him-
Kwiat- self on the travel team, and he
appeared in his first career game
suddenly against Minnesota on Oct.1.
'2-pound Late in fall camp before this
wski was season, Kwiatkowski was one
then and of seven walk-ons to be given
y trade, a scholarship by Hoke. On the'
casional- field, despite the arrival of highly-
out team touted freshmen tight ends Devin
he found Funchess and A.J. Williams,

Kwiatkowski's role has only
He's started sixofthe team's 10
games, and the fifth-year senior
has been the most reliable blocker
at the position. He's also man-
aged to record three catches, the
first coming in the season opener
against Alabama.
Kwiatkowski's relative lack
of accolades hasn't discouraged
him from helping out the younger
tight ends as much as possible,
a trait that earned him compli-
ments from Hoke. And the dearth
of credentials hasn't made him
any lesser part of the team - nor
has it endeared him any less to his
fellow seniors.
"I think it's what makes it spe-
cial, and I think it's what makes
a lot of us close, is we've all had
different experiences," said fifth-
year senior center Elliott Mealer.
"We got guys like Mike and Jor-
dan Kovacs, (walk-on safety)
Charlie Zeller, a guy that's been
on the team only for a couple
years. They're all seniors, and
even though they haven't been
with us our whole careers; all
four, five years, we've all got a
special bond.
"(Being walk-ons) doesn't take
away from anything that they've
put into this program. It feels like
they've been a part ofit the whole
time since I've been here."
And yet it can't be denied that
Kwiatkowski's journey to this
Saturday's senior day was a very
different one from the rest of the
"When I first got here, I never
expected this day to come," Kwi-
atkowski said. "The first game I
dressed for was Michigan State,
and I was just happy to be out
there. I had no foresight of think-
ing three years in the future, I'd
end up walking out there as a
senior for the last time. I didn't
even know if I'd make it three
A pre-pharmacy major, Kwi-
atkowski said he wanted to go
into medicine so that he could
help people. He's already helped
the Michigan football team more
than anyone imagined he would.

news that Magee was
"keep" him. Kwiatkowsk
first a bit confused by wh
meant, but then it dawne
- he was a bonafide Wol
"That was pretty cool,
kowski said.
Of course, it wasn'ts
all smooth sailing. A 26
tight end now, Kwiatkov
around 250 pounds back
an offensive lineman b
playing tight end only oc
ly. He was relegated to sc
left guard duties, where1

Barnes Arico inks first
recruiting class for 'M'

Daily Sports Writer.
One of the biggest challenges
for any first-year coach is to make
an immediate impact on recruit-
ing for the future. It's especially
difficult for coaches who are hired
mid-way through the offseason,
like Michigan's women's basket-
ball coach Kim Barnes Arico, since
they have ^ late entrance into the
sweepstakes for national talent.
But once she arrived in Ann
Arbor, it didn't take long for
Barnes Arico to get out on the
recruiting trail and start build-
ing a roster for the 2013-14 sea-
son. On Wednesday, Barnes Arico
announced that high schoolers
Paige Rakers, Shannon Smith,
Siera Thompson and Danielle Wil-
liams had signed National Letters
of Intent with Michigan. As the
first four recruits of the Barnes
Arico era, the quartet brings an
exceptional amount of talent and
experience from AAU programs
and high school teams. The new-
est additions to the Wolverines'
roster provide depth at the guard
position, which will help replace
the offensive production lost from
this year's seniors Jenny Ryan,
Rachel Scheffer, Nya Jordan, Kate
Thompson and SamArnold.
Rakers, a 5-foot-11 guard from
Carlyle," Ill., is an outstanding
shooter who averaged 19.4 points
per game on 44-percent shooting
in her junior year of high school.
After leading her team to the title
game of the Class 2-A Regional,
Rakers finished the year with a
team-best 52 steals and 49 assists.
Last year, she won the Illinois
High School Association's state-
wide 3-point shooting, earning
the name "Queen of the HilL." In
addition to leading her high school
team, Rakers also competes on
Team Adidas, an AAU team based
out of St. Louis.
Smith will transfer to Michigan
from Trinity Valley Community
College after spending two red-
shirt seasons at North Carolina.
After a medical redshirt sidelined
Smith her freshman year, she
averaged three points and 13 min-

utes per game. With two years of
eligibility remaining, Smith will
provide her scoring talents and
experience of playing in Division
I. The 5-foot-7 guard was heavily
recruited out of high school, earn-
ing the Associated Press women's
prep co-player ofthe year in North
Carolina during the 2009-10
season. Averaging 23 points and
seven assists per game, Smith led
Forestview High School to the 3-A
state title. She finished her high
school career as the leadingscorer
in Forestview and Gaston County
history, and was named North
Carolina's Miss Basketball in 2010.
The Wolverines' top-ranked
commit is Thompson, who ESPN
graded as the 68th-best player
in the nation and 15th-best point
guard. The Gardena, Calif. native
averaged 11 points, 4.9 assists and
4.4 rebounds in her junior year,
while leading Serra to three con-
secutive section championships.
Thompson also plays for AAU's
highly regarded Cal Sparks.
Rounding out the incoming
class is Williams, a 5-foot-9 guard
ranked 97th in the nation and 28th
at her position by ESPN. Williams
helped lead St. Mary's to the Divi-
sion I Arizona state championship
while completing an undefeated
30-0 season. In 2012, St. Mary's
reached the national champion-
ship and earned the No. 1 ranking
in the ESPN/USA Today poll.
"I have had the opportunity to
watch Danielle play since she has
been in the seventh grade," Barnes
Arico said. "I have watched her
progress and develop ...Hercoach,
Curtis Ekmark, he has done a phe-
nomenal job with her and making
his program one of the best in the
country. Once I got the job here,
knowing the academic piece was
so important for her and her fam-
ilyhe knew it would be a great fit."
Barnes Arico's first four com-
mits are expected to be just the
start for Michigan's recruit-
ing process. The Wolverines are
already planning to take a foreign
trip during next summer's off-
season, which should allow the
rookies some extra time to adjust
before practices start in the fall.

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