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Posted on Tue, Nov 17, 2009 : 12:10 p.m.

Michigan football players ready for former teammate Justin Boren

By Jeff Arnold

Nearly two years after his departure, Justin Boren remains a household name around Ann Arbor.

Drop the Ohio State offensive lineman's name in conversation to any of his former Michigan teammates and the emotions range from apathy to anger.


Justin Boren

The fact Boren left the program isn't as big of a deal as where he landed to his ex-teammates. As they prepare to face Boren and his Buckeyes on Saturday (Noon, ABC), they have extra motivation knowing Boren will be part of this year's edition of the annual grudge match.

Their message to Boren: We'll be ready.

"We're not worried, we're just going to come," Michigan senior defensive end Brandon Graham said on Monday. "I trust and believe we've got a good front four that's going to get the job done and (Boren's) going to have to prove to me that he's still got it."

Boren contended that Michigan's "family values" had diminished under Rich Rodriguez when he left, but Graham thought that was only an excuse for him to leave. Although other players have departed Michigan's program since, Graham said the fact Boren's destination separated him from other transfers.

"He's just somebody that shouldn't have been here in the first place," Graham said. "He just didn't feel like he needed to be here anymore. He could have gone anywhere else, but he went to Ohio State.

"That was just a slap in the face."

On Monday, Rodriguez reiterated his belief the family atmosphere he's trying to build within his program has grown since he arrived. Although Boren suggested otherwise before he left, Rodriguez said the players that remain are as close as ever.

"They sense that family atmosphere that permeates throughout the program and I've always prided myself on that," Rodriguez said. "If anyone's been around Schembechler Hall when we've worked, when we've practiced will sense the same thing."

Yet, Boren's statements still resonate within Michigan's program. Graham wasn't alone in his feelings.

"I don't talk to him, I don't think about him, he doesn't come up in my daily life," senior center David Moosman said. "I don't have to play against him on defense but I wish I could."

For Michigan's defensive linemen, who will face Ohio State's offensive line, Boren's presence doesn't change their level of intensity. Defensive tackle Ryan Van Bergen said while he can't "glance over and forget" about Boren and his history with Michigan, he won't allow any personal feelings to stop him from doing his job.

"He's only one guy and he'll only be controlling one gap so we have to prepare for everybody," Van Bergen said. "As far as physicality-wise, I don't think (Ohio State's offensive line) is going to be anything we haven't prepared for in the past. But it is a Michigan-Ohio State game and so we can expect them to be better prepared and better scouted and so we have to do the same thing on our side."

For his part, Boren has told his Buckeyes' teammates that Saturday's return to Michigan Stadium will "be nuts." Ohio State players told reporters Monday that they've seen text messages Boren has received that "weren't exactly friendly" as he prepares to face Michigan.

"I'm sure he'll be excited," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said Monday in his weekly press conference. "I'm sure it will be difficult, in some ways, because he has great feelings for both teams that are going to be on the field and a lot of great memories up in the Big House with his dad and himself and all the rest, but his focus will be on what can he do to help his team."

Related content: Tressel and the Buckeyes eager to win one for Boren.

Jeff Arnold covers sports for He can be reached at or 734-623-2554.



Wed, Nov 18, 2009 : 2:15 p.m.

I hope they show that picture of Boren dressed up as RichRod for halloween during the game, that picture is bruuuutallllllll! O - H!


Wed, Nov 18, 2009 : 1:29 p.m.

You don't see or hear Boren talking smack. He's going to do his on the field. Believe me he will get his shot at Graham. Too bad he can't take a shot at Richrod while he's at it.


Wed, Nov 18, 2009 : 12:06 p.m.

Haven't watched much Michigan football the past 2 years, have you, Danny? If you believe spying Pryor will win the game for Michigan, you're about as much of a fool as Redneck Rodriguez. Yes, I called him Redneck Rodriguez, not out of lack of vocabulary, but just to state the obvious. Oneandseven, you tell it like it is. I don't blame Boren for leaving Michigan considering the circumstances he had to face.


Wed, Nov 18, 2009 : 11:20 a.m.

I know he slapped you in the face but this saturday if you guys start throwing punches like usual, the bull will be unleased! GO BUCKS! We want a Blow Out!!


Wed, Nov 18, 2009 : 10:58 a.m.

Both Borens will put on a show this Saturday. Ohio = Born and Bred to Rip and Shred Michigan! GO GET EM BUCKS!!!!!


Wed, Nov 18, 2009 : 9:34 a.m.

2188 days since Michigan beat OSU.


Wed, Nov 18, 2009 : 2:09 a.m.

Calling RR a "redneck" doesn't get any of us where we want to be and is too personal. If that is the extent of your vocabulary, you must have graduated from OSU. If UofM puts a quick spy on Pryor every play and hits him every fake hand off (don't get sucked inside)and dogs him every pass, WE WIN. Pryor averages 57+ yards rushing and 160 yards passing per game. Most of the passing yardage to boost his average came against lesser opponents on long pass plays. He is not that good of a passing QB (accuracy and reads)if he gets rattled. He can not take the hits mentally! If we can not get to him with-in 3 to 4 seconds and slow up his receivers getting off the line his receivers have already burned our defensive backfield. Get on him fast and often and we get some turn overs! Just my opinion for what it's worth. GO BLUE ALWAYS


Wed, Nov 18, 2009 : 12:32 a.m.

What is wrong with you people. He was a 20 year old kid who was the #1 recruit at his position in the country. His coach quit. He clearly didn't fit the new coach's system. He didn't trash his teammates or the University -- just really didn't like the coach (and it doesn't seem like he was the only one, based on the other transfers and the NCAA investigation). To ultimately display his talents and maybe get a chance to play pro ball, he moves to a school that, at the time, had just played in two straight national championship games -- a team that happens to be in his old hometown and a team where he can play ball with his brother. Ever leave a job where you got a new boss who didn't appreciate you, or move to a new job with more opportunity. Loyalty is a noble trait, but blind loyalty is nothing more than feel-good mindlessness. He paid the price -- a year of no football. At least he didn't have to pay $4 million to leave his old school, like RR did. Anybody who takes a cheap shot at him on the field Saturday will say way more about the current program than he ever did.


Tue, Nov 17, 2009 : 10:28 p.m.

"Those who stay will be champions." That was Bo. "Those who stay will be irrelevant." THAT'S RR.


Tue, Nov 17, 2009 : 8:37 p.m.

I hate to say it, but Boren is having the last laugh here. His Buckeyes are far better than ours at the moment, and I'm sure that unless he goes against Graham, he will dominate our smaller linemen like everyone else does. Boren is a Big Ten sized lineman, the kind we had two years ago. The fact that he went to OSU pisses me off, but based on everything that's happened over the past two years, it's hard to argue that it wasn't a good move for him. It's time to forget about him and try to win the game.


Tue, Nov 17, 2009 : 8:30 p.m.

It's a sad time when the son of a Michigan alum / football player transfers to play for OSU. Great job, Redneck Rodriguez!

David Briegel

Tue, Nov 17, 2009 : 7:52 p.m.

Hey Guys, forget about Boren, you have to play the Bucks. If you focus on them and do your job, you'll have a chance. If you try to "get" Boren, you will fail miserably! GO BLUE!!


Tue, Nov 17, 2009 : 7:36 p.m.

Tressel should thank his lucky stars that Pryor can run because a drop-back statue QB would've gotten killed this year. OSU's offensive line pass protects about as well as Michigan's. Not very well.


Tue, Nov 17, 2009 : 7:25 p.m.

Manson had family values, too.

Bemused Passerby

Tue, Nov 17, 2009 : 6:28 p.m.

Ha! I'd like to meet his tailor. So that's what one looks like when nestled in the warm bosom of OSU family values? Seems more accurate to call them family-style values, w/extra butter...


Tue, Nov 17, 2009 : 4:54 p.m.

Those who leave will be champions. Those who stay will be lucky to win one conference game a year.


Tue, Nov 17, 2009 : 4:44 p.m.

Let me see, two Big Ten Championships and two BCS bowl games later, who is the chump Brandon? He was recruited to play for a class act in Carr who got fired to make room for a hillbilly. He left to play for a class act in Tressel. Not only is he a good football player, it appears he is brilliant as well


Tue, Nov 17, 2009 : 3:38 p.m.

Boren will probably get abused by Martin et. al., but unfortunatly it won't really matter. We will loose this game big. I am praying for some kind of miricle game from Tate and the bunch. How sweet it would be to rub the twinkies nose in it!


Tue, Nov 17, 2009 : 3:13 p.m.

@goodthoughts - He prefers a sash over a tie, and a European shoulder bag to a billfold.


Tue, Nov 17, 2009 : 2:38 p.m.

Those who stay will be champions? In his case, it appears that those left ARE champions! To take it one step further, he will also likely be drafted in the pros, whereas his size and girth didn't have a place on this new fangled and obviously superior offensive scheme - the one with the 'best strength and conditioning coach in the counrty' that will be so fit that they will overpower the opposition in the second half of games (oops). Seemed to be some dubious circumstances around his and the dozen or so other departures. Don't know the kid, won't comment on his decision. If his goal was to ultimately play pro ball, O-Line at UM with RR is NOT the place to be. If future QBs and RBs goals are to ultimately play pro ball, UM with RR may not be the place to be either. Can't wait until that conditioning coach gets a hold of the small and fast D Line recruits next year.


Tue, Nov 17, 2009 : 2:35 p.m.

Whats up with his tie?


Tue, Nov 17, 2009 : 2:34 p.m.

Sounds like condition been going on a little to long at uofm. Those who stay will be champions, hows that working out for u?


Tue, Nov 17, 2009 : 2:28 p.m.

If I recall correctly, he transferred because the new workout routines were tougher and RR stopped recruiting his brother. I hope the defensive line just plays football and does not make a mistake trying to get under Boren's skin.


Tue, Nov 17, 2009 : 1:38 p.m.

I love when the national meida our fans make us a huge underdog all the better for are team when we upset the vest and his smug face.


Tue, Nov 17, 2009 : 1:21 p.m.

Obviously, Justin Boren is a pretty good football player. He would start on any O-Line in the Big Ten. It was too bad that we lost him. It does make a difference. Virtually everyone says that the OSU O-Line is pretty weak in 2009.


Tue, Nov 17, 2009 : 1:16 p.m.

Crybaby Boren just couldn't take it and left. The new coaching staff probably refused to coddle him anymore like the previous coaches. Plus, the prospect of a no-huddle offense scared him off - geez, he may have to actually run and condition himself! Good riddance. Those who stay will be champions.


Tue, Nov 17, 2009 : 1:07 p.m.

If he had stayed here, he sure as hell wouldn't have that huge double chin.


Tue, Nov 17, 2009 : 1:03 p.m.

Smat move my man.All in for michigan, what a joke.