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Posted on Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 1:35 p.m.

After struggling with a dual-threat QB last week, Iowa and Kirk Ferentz prep for Denard Robinson

By Nick Baumgardner

Kirk Ferentz was stumped Tuesday when asked whether there are any shortcuts to defending Michigan junior quarterback Denard Robinson.

In fact, if anyone out there knows of any, Iowa's 13-year coach says he's all ears.

"(There are) none that I know of," Ferentz said on the Big Ten coaches teleconference. "If you have any knowledge of that, please send it in to us."

Facing a dual-threat quarterback last week, Iowa didn't exactly sparkle.

Minnesota's MarQueis Gray ran for 62 yards and a touchdown and went 11-of-17 for 193 yards and a touchdown as the Golden Gophers stunned Iowa and scored their first Big Ten win of the season.


Minnesota quarterback Marqueis Gray crosses the goal line with the game-winning touchdown last week against Iowa.

AP Photo

Gray is a talented multi-tool quarterback, but Robinson, he is not.

Robinson has faced Iowa in each of his previous two college seasons. Michigan lost both of those games, and though Robinson wasn't exactly bottled up, he wasn't dominant either.

Against Iowa for his career, Robinson has rushed for 154 yards and a score, and gone 16-of-22 through the air for 126 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.

Facing Robinson this season will be different, Ferentz says. Mainly because he has more weapons around him than he did over the past two years.

"When you play good teams that have real dynamic performers and good players around them, it's tough," said Ferentz, whose team will host Michigan on Saturday (noon, ESPN). "They can hurt you in a lot of different ways."

Robinson also appears healthier this year than he did a year ago against the Hawkeyes. Last season, he was forced to leave the game early due to a shoulder injury. Last week, Robinson was a secondary option offensively. Sophomore running back Fitzgerald Toussaint took center stage with a career-high 170 rushing yards to go along with two scores on 20 carries.

"We've got our hands full," Ferentz said.

Robinson isn't the only concern for Ferentz, though, as he remarked how improved the Wolverines defense looks on film under first-year coordinator Greg Mattison.

"They're playing a system now that is very, very different than what they did the last couple years," he said. "I'm not saying one is wrong or one is right, there's a lot of different ways to get things done.

"But the bottom line is this, it looks like it's pretty clear on the tape that they've got good players that understand what their roles are and they're able to fit those players in those roles and they're doing a good job of coming up with good results."

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan sports for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.



Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 2:10 a.m.

This year's Iowa team is definitely NOT the Iowa team we've seen the last couple of years. That D Line they had was tremendous. Most of those guys are playing on Sunday now. While it won't be a walk in the park against Iowa this weekend, I think our guys will find holes in the defense. I also think it's a plus we're playing them as an early day game. Playing Iowa at night gives that crowd too much time to get good and lubricated and ramps up the hostile environment. I like our chances over the next 2 weeks.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 9:26 p.m.

It bodes well if IA had trouble with the dual threat MarQueis Gray at MN. This could mean that we can let Denard loose along with Fitz Toussaint as tailback and a short passing attack, gien a windy, dry, warm forecast. The only thing IA has going for themselves is it is a home game but it will not be a night game. The noon kick off time will help the Wolverines. If we can score first and build a double digit lead, that should deflate the Hawkeyes. GO BLUE!!!