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August 01, 2011 - Image 11

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2011-08-01

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Monday, August 1, 2011
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Robinson elaborates on reasons for return

Star quarterback
returns to lead
new-look M' squad
By MICHAEL FLOREK
Daily Sports Editor
CHICAGO - On Brady Hoke's
first day as the Michigan football
team's coach, he lost the spotlight.
It wasn't with the media, who
packed the Junge Family Champi-
ons Center to cover his hour-long
press conference, but in a separate
meeting with his team.
With the cameras off, the Wol-
verines assembled for Hoke's first
address to the team. That's when
junior quarterback Denard Robin-
son got up. Robinson usually leads
by example alone - he couldn't do
that here.
He had a message: I'm not going
anywhere.
"The media was all saying, yeah
he might leave, but I never told
anybody I was leaving," Robinson
said at Big Ten Media Days. "So it
was just like I had to tell everybody
on the team like, 'Man, don't think
I'm leaving, don't read what every-

body says."'
The statement had a profound
impact on those in the room, one
that was remembered on the final
day of Big Ten Media Days on Fri-
day.
"It was something new, because
I've never seen Denard that angry
or that excited," senior defensive
"I've never
seen Denard
that angry or
excited."
tackle Mike Martin said. "But it
was a huge reassurance. But then
he transitioned into the team, like,
'What are we going to do as a team?
Where are we now? We can either
not be all in and do what we need
to do, or we can work hard together
and make sure we're successful."'
Hoke was also in the room. He
remembered Robinson being upset
at the media speculating his depar-

ture. He remembered fifth-year
senior center David Molk getting
up in that same meeting and telling
everybody the team was going to
stick together.
He remembered his first con-
versation with Robinson, which
ended with the quarterback saying,
"Coach, I'm not going anywhere."
And it doesn't appear Robin-
son is going anywhere for a long
time. When asked about making
the jump to the NFL, he said he
would address the issue when it
approached, but also reiterated
that he wanted to be the first per-
son in his family to have a col-
lege degree. He also wants to win
games, and to do that he needs his
teammates. Robinson didn't want
the young guys to relive what he
went through, coming to an under-
manned team after a summer of
mass exodus. Speaking now, but
leading by example at the same
time.
"When (Robinson) came to us,
he was addressing that we as a
group - including him - need to
make sure that none of the younger
guys have doubtful thoughts or
might want to stray away," Mar-
tin said. "We didn't want there to

Junior quarterback Denard Robinson spoke at team meeting to reassure his team.

be a repeat of last time there was a
transfer of a coach."
Safety Ray Vinopal and corner-
back Cullen Christian have trans-
ferred.
But the offseason has been noth-
ing compared to former coach Rich
Rodriguez's first, when both his
starting quarterback and a start-
ing offensive lineman left for other
schools. Michigan's scholarship
numbers are still low. Hoke said
he's at about 80 or 81 scholarship
players instead of the maximum

85. The lack of depth may be a con-
cern with Hoke's physical style. He
talked about having practices that
you only need to hear, creating a
"traditional" Michigan team.
That first edition of the tradi-
tional team will have an uncon-
ventional quarterback, but judging
from that meeting, a traditional
leader.
See a multimedia piece aboutthis
story on MichiganDaily.com

Piccolo - G )c -GL4E. ./ t4-.

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