Tag:Michigan Football
Posted on: February 8, 2011 1:48 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2011 1:50 pm

Hoke: If we don't win the Big Ten, we failed

Posted by Chip Patterson

New Michigan head coach Brady Hoke enters the 2011 season with expectations to pick up the pieces and rebuild the Wolverines.  It is not a new position for Hoke, who faced a similar task at Ball State and San Diego State.  Hoke was able to do that at both of his previous head coaching stops, but it does not take an expertise in college football to know there will be new levels of pressure in Ann Arbor. 

But even the pressure from the Michigan fan base does not equate to the pressure that Hoke has already put on himself.  In a recent Q and A with the Detroit News, Hoke explicitly detailed his expectations for the Wolverines in the 2011 season.

Q. You have 18 starters back next year, including the Big Ten offensive player of the year. I'm thinking an 8-4 record, minimum. What do you think?

A. If we don't win the championship, we failed, period.

Q. Have you looked at your roster closely and assessed how good you could or couldn't be?

A. No. If we don't win the championship, we failed.

Q. So I suppose it's possible then?

A. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't.
Michigan will have to adapt to yet another new system heading into 2011, this time with almost an entire roster of Rich Rodriguez recruits.  Hoke has promised to enstill a focus on defense (all the way to the ball boys, so he says), but how quickly can he change the worst defense in the conference?  Michigan gave up an average of 450.8 yards per game in 2010; worst in the Big Ten and 110th of 120 FBS schools.  I respect Hoke's optimism in his new position, but basing success/failure in 2011 on a Big Ten Championship may be a bit unrealistic.

If Hoke does believe you need to win the championship in order to succeed, I can write the Wolverines 2011 headline now:

"Michigan fails, period."

Posted on: October 28, 2010 7:38 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2010 7:54 pm

Penn State spares no expense to duplicate Denard

Posted by Chip Patterson

Week in and week out, teams do their best to figure out a way to duplicate the athleticism and skill of Denard Robinson on their scout team.  We are nine weeks into the football season, and still no one has picked up my suggestion of a jackrabbit with a jetpack, but that's their loss.  Usually it is a backup wide receiver or defensive back playing Robinson, trying to mimic Michigan's potent offense that has burned opposing defenses for an average of 532 yards per game, good for second best in the nation.

Sitting well behind the competition with a 1-2 record in Big Ten play, Penn State cannot afford to fall short in any aspect of their preparation for Saturday's showdown with the Wolverines in Happy Valley.  When outfitting Nittany Lions cornerback Evan Lewis as the scout team quarterback, Penn State spared no expense on the look.  Lewis was doing his best impression of the speedy, evasive Robinson all week, wearing a wig with dreadlocks.  Penn State linebacker Matt Mauti chucked about chasing down Penn State's version of the signature locks during Wednesday's teleconference.

"He does a real good job," Mauti said of Lewis. "He's a real good athlete. He gives us a real good look. This kid is shifty and he's making guys miss all week. Obviously, he's not going to have the blazing 10.2 100-meter speed (of Robinson), but he's shifty and he's making guys miss. I have to give the kid credit. He's been doing well all week, as he has all season on the scout team."

Evans may be doing his best job to mimic Denard, but Robinson is near impossible to duplicate.  All the Nittany Lions can honestly hope to do is contain the superstar quarterback, and try and force him into making bad decisions with his arm.  Robinson has thrown four interceptions in the last two games, both losses for the Wolverines.
Posted on: October 5, 2010 1:54 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2010 1:55 pm

Denard Robinson resting, will play against MSU

Posted by Chip Patterson

Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson has quite literally done it all this season, and can be credited as the biggest reason the Wolverines enter Saturday's showdown with Michigan State 5-0.  Head coach Rich Rodriguez finally developed the weapon he needed to run his option-based offense that worked so well at West Virginia.  Robinson, the early Heisman frontrunner, has accounted for 1913 of Michigan's 2822 total yards of offense on the season.  Robinson has been able to accomplish all of that while sitting out three quarters of Michigan's 65-21 rout of Bowling Green with a bruised left knee.

Robinson returned on Saturday against Indiana and racked up 494 total yards and five touchdowns, including the game winning touchdown.  Robinson did miss a few plays are tweaking the same knee he injured against Bowling Green, but returned to action and appeared to be fine.  After all the work Robinson has done, it is not surprising to see Rodriguez limiting Robinson in practice this week.
“Yeah, he'll be a little limited, just because he’s been running so much,” coach Rich Rodriguez said Monday. "You want him 100 percent on Saturday. Denard is one you have to jerk out of there because he wants to take so many reps. He’s walking around fine. Everything is fine.”
Robinson is currently the nation's leading rusher, and has already become the first player in FBS history to pass and rush for 200 yards in a game twice in a season.  When the Wolverines welcome MSU to the Big House on Saturday, they will need a 110% Denard to emerge victorious.  The match up between in-state rivals now has conference implications as well, with the Wolverines and Spartans being two of the four remaining undefeated teams in the Big Ten.  

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Posted on: September 24, 2010 11:05 am
Edited on: September 24, 2010 11:08 am

Alabama - Michigan to play in Dallas in 2012

Posted by Chip Patterson

It had been rumored several weeks back that there were discussions between Alabama and Michigan to arrange a neutral-field game in the future, likely in the monstrous 100,000+ seat Cowboys Stadium in Dallas.

On Thursday night, Alabama head coach Nick Saban all but confirmed that the match up between the two legendary programs, and even spoke about other negotiations for future non-conference arrangements.

“It hasn’t been announced yet, but we’re going to play Michigan in Dallas probably for sure,” Saban said.  

Saban also said the Crimson Tide will look to set up Atlantic Coast Conference opponents for neutral-site games in Atlanta for 2013 and ’14. Alabama has been in search of a marquee opponent for the 2012 season for months, with speculation ranging from Miami to Texas Tech, from Notre Dame to the Wolverines, and potential venues in Atlanta, Dallas or even Jacksonville, Fla.

"Probably for sure" is about as much of an 8th grade confirmation as you are going to get out of Saban, who has been in this game long enough to know how to say things without saying them.  This falls right in line with the trends of recent years that have top-tier programs facing each other in early season non-conference battles.  

These marquee matchups in September are great for the sport, giving fans a reason to get hooked from week one rather than ease their way into the schedule.  The games also are chances for teams to get on the national radar early, especially if they have plans of competing for a national championship.


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Posted on: September 13, 2010 10:14 am
Edited on: September 13, 2010 11:18 am

Denard-mania in full effect

Posted by Chip Patterson

This are players who create hype, and then there is Denard Robinson

The Michigan quarterback broke his own single game records in the Wolverines' last-minute victory over Notre Dame on Saturday.  You have already heard the stats (258 yards rushing, 244 yards passing) and seen the highlights of his perfectly orchestrated final drive.  Robinson was directly involved with all 12 plays of that final drive, not to mention rushing for the game-winning touchdown, marching the Wolverines 72 yards in 3:14 and leaving the Irish with only 27 seconds to try and answer.

Now Denard-mania has gone atmospheric.

He is near the top of most everyone's Heisman ballot, but how about the Michigan doctor who already purchased the rights for DenardForHeisman.com? [Note: Credit the man with a little foresight, purchased the rights before the Notre Dame game]  If you are trying to order your replica #16 jersey from the official retailer of Michigan athletics?  Too bad, they are all sold out.  However, there is certainly no shortage of Denard-themed t-shirts available for fans who are wanting to jump on this ever-growing bandwagon.

Oh yeah. There's also this awesome Heisman pose photograph from Saturday's game.

But from a football standpoint, Robinson is not just the player that Michigan fans have wanted, he is the player that head coach Rich Rodriguez has needed.  At West Virginia, he found the most success running his offense through the multi-talented Pat White.  When he arrived in Ann Arbor, the heart of smash mouth Big Ten football, it would take some time before he would be able to have the tools to replicate his system.  When Robinson hit campus last fall, there was knowledge of his speed and potential, but the maturity and decision-making just wasn't there yet for the talented quarterback from Deerfield Beach, FL.  Now, a year later the sophomore has broken through as one of the nation's most electrifying players.  

Robinson is no longer a secret, the mania is in full effect.  If he was able to total 502 yards against Notre Dame, where will it stop?  The Wolverines face UMassBowling Green, Indiana, and Michigan State in the next four weeks, but go ahead and circle October 16 on the calendar when Iowa comes to the Big House.  Until then, we just sit back and enjoy the show.  Maybe even try and emulate Robinson.  I'll start by untying my laces.
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