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September 03, 2013 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2013-09-03

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Spt Tuesda


e.59 9

Five things we learned CMU

Daily Sports Editor
It was Central Michigan. This wasn't
Notre Dame, or a Big Ten opponent. What
we learned about this Michigan football
team on Saturday in its first game of the year
might not hold true once conference play
starts, or even when the Fighting Irish come
into town this weekend.
Still, there are some takeaways from
Michigan's 59-9 drubbing ofthe Chippewas.
Just don't be surprised if Devin Gardner
looks more like Chad Henne than Denard
Robinson next week.
It's the Five Things We Learned, Week 1
1. Gardner's offense isn't dramatically
different from Robinson's.
After spending an entire summer hearing
about a new, traditional pro-style offense,
Michigan's first two drives had Gardner take

snaps entirely from the shotgun formation.
By the end of the day, Gardner ran seven
times for 52 yards and two touchdowns.
Only one of them was a designed run.
This offense wasn't anunder-center, run-
the-ball-down-your-throat classic. It had a
reverse, plenty of different formations, and a
quarterback that could break free for a long
run even when every avenue was seemingly
shut down.
This offense was the norm when Robin-
son was still in Ann Arbor. It was supposed
to be different this year, but in the end, it
wasn't all that different.
Yet, Gardner's scrambles still look dif-
ferent than Robinson's - more controlled
and fluid and less like a mad dash. Gard-
ner's decision making is going to be tested
every weekend, where tucking the ball and
pirouetting through the defense isn't going
to be as easy. Gardner's two interceptions.
on Saturday weren't pretty - one was well
overthrown and one was a poor read in the
opponent's red zone. Notre Dame is goingto

punish those mistakes a lot more than Cen-
tral Michigan did.
One thing is for sure - this offense isn't
going to be traditional. There will still be a
quarterback running the ball this season,
even if he's bigger and doesn't have dread-
2. Extra pounds or not, Derrick Green
will be a factor.
The No. 1 running back recruit in the
nation showed up to training camp 'more
than a few pounds overweight, to the point
where Michigan coach Brady Hoke had him
listed in a positional battle for the fifth run-
ning back spot on the first depth chart of the
year alongside fellow freshman De'Veon
Green entered the game in the third quar-
ter, when the game was already well out of
reach, but still looked impressive. He fin-
ished with 58 yards on 11 carries and scored

In rivalry week, players avoid distractions

paily Sports Editor
There's always a little more hype sur-
rounding rivalry weeks, because, well, that's
the point.
And with the Michigan-Notre Dame
rivalry taking a hiatus after next season, it's
only fitting that the game this year will be
even bigger than usual.
The stage is traditionally big - over
114,00 fans flocked to Michigan Stadium to
see the first night game two years ago.
It was made even bigger on Saturday,
when ESPN announced that College Foot-
ball GameDay would air out of Ann Arbor.
This will be the 11th time in history that
GameDay is set on Michigan's campus, the
most recent of which was for the last Under

The Lights game against the Fighting Irish.
But while fans will likely do their best to
rise early on Saturday and carry the wittiest
sign in hopes of nabbing an on-air cameo,
there's at least one person on campus that
isn't impressed by any of the hoopla.
"I think in the past, people try to make all
of this a huge deal, (but) it's not for us, it's'
for the students," said fifth-year senior left
tackle Taylor Lewan. "For us, we're playing
a game on Saturday, representing 134 years
of Michigan football. I'm representing them
when I step on the field. I don't need to focus
on College Gameday being here."
For some, like Lewan, it's easier to push
all the distractions aside. Redshirt junior
quarterback Devin Gardner - who only has
classes on Monday - laughed abouthow the
Labor Day holiday meant he had no classes

at all this week. Now he has five whole days
to do nothing but study for and think about
the game.
But for others who maybe don't have as
much rivalry-game experience, Notre Dame
week is a completely different beast.
Eleven true freshmen saw playing time
last weekend against Central Michigan.
Though Michigan coach Brady Hoke sd
he was pleased that so many new players got
the experience of playing in front of 112,000
screaming fans, the fear that the youngsters
could get carried away by distractions still
"We try to educate (the younger players),
what it's going to be like," Hoke said. "Start-
ed that (on Sunday). Tuesday, we'll. talk
more about the atmosphere and have some

TOPJnior linebacker Desmond Morgan (48) during the game versus Central
Michigan. Michigan won 59 laS9.
BOTTOM Devin Gardner threw two early interceptions but breezed past the
Chippewas with his legs.

Brady Hoke says Notre Dame chick-
ened out of the rivalry. Brian Kelly says
there is no rivalry. What makes a rivalry,
anyway? Page 2B

The first game with the new student tick-
eting policy started with yawns and pizza
and ended with what it set out to accom-
plish: a full student section. Page 4B

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