You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Wed, Oct 12, 2011 : 4:19 p.m.

Denard Robinson has paid more attention to his health this season, feels good at midway point of season

By Nick Baumgardner

Through six games a season ago, Michigan junior quarterback Denard Robinson had already racked up 119 carries and was starting to feel the accumulation of bumps and bruises that forced him to miss plays in 10 of the team's 12 regular season games.

Entering this season, Michigan coach Brady Hoke and offensive coordinator Al Borges insisted Robinson's carries would be lowered in order to keep him in better health.

Technically, they've told the truth. In reality, Robinson's carry pace is very similar. He's at 102 through the midway point this year.

His overall health, though? That's a different story.

"My body's not beat up how it was last year," Robinson said Wednesday. "I've treated myself better than I did last year. I've taken care of my body."

Robinson has only left one game due to injury this season.


Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson grimaces in pain after getting hurt early in the third quarter of the Wolverine's 38-28 loss to Iowa on Oct. 16, 2010. Robinson left 10 games with injury last year. file photo

After a third-quarter run gainst Northwestern last week, he left the game favoring his left hand. Sophomore quarterback Devin Gardner took the next three snaps, finishing the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.

Gardner's services weren't needed from there. Robinson returned on the team's next possession and showed no signs of any significant injury (an ailment he and Hoke would later call a "boo-boo").

Robinson's still taking hits, he's still being called upon for 17 carries per game, but so far, he's not getting hurt.

And he knows why.

"The trainers, they help me get (in the training room) more like I'm supposed to," he said. "I'm just trying to recover better than I did last year, because I didn't know how to do that last year."

Robinson said he's made more of a conscious effort to seek treatment throughout the week and after games, explaining that he spends much more time in the cold and hot tubs this season than he ever did a year ago.


Come back to at noon Thursday for a live chat with Kyle Meinke. He'll recap the Wolverines' win over Northwestern, discuss news that emerged this week and preview the game against Michigan State on Saturday.
Keeping Robinson healthy has been a major point of emphasis for Hoke and company this season, but the junior quarterback said that's nothing new. Robinson said former coach Rich Rodriguez and his staff also stressed the importance of staying healthy. For whatever reason, he didn't take their advice as much.

"That was more on me, because I didn't take the time out to do that," he said. "It was (stressed), I just wasn't listening."

He's listening now. Entering Michigan's biggest game of the season to date, the team's best player says he feels far better physically than he did at this time a year ago.

Barnum back at practice
Hoke said that injured junior guard Ricky Barnum (ankle) practiced with the team Tuesday and was expected to do the same Wednesday.

He did not offer Barnum's official status for Saturday.

In other injury news, Hoke said that senior linebacker Brandon Herron did not travel to Northwestern last week due to undisclosed injury.

Herron scored two defensive touchdowns in Michigan's season-opening win over Western Michigan but has played just once since then due to a previous leg injury.

"He's on our football team," Hoke said of Herron. "And he'll practice again today like he did yesterday."

As for Cam Gordon, the sophomore linebacker's back injury appeared fine enough for him to make the travel squad last week, but he still has yet to play in a game.

Hoke said that Gordon's injury "hasn't helped his development like you'd like to see." When asked if he'd be able to play this weekend, Hoke offered little insight.

"He practiced pretty well (Tuesday), I think the more he does the better off he'll get," Hoke said. "We have to get him healthy, first, for his own safety. The worst thing we can do is put a guy out there who's not ready, because that's not being accountable to this program and this team.

"It's not being accountable to him when you look at where he's at health-wise."


Brendan Gibbons

Staff still confident in Gibbons
Hoke said the reason sophomore kicker Brendan Gibbons had a 47-yard field goal blocked last week was due to pressure up the middle by Northwestern, not a poor kick by Gibbons.

On the season, Gibbons is 4-for-6 with a long of 38 yards.

"We got pushed back a little bit over the guard," Hoke said of last week's miss.

Hoke again confirmed the staff's confidence in Gibbons.

"He's probably a little stronger than that, he's hit some balls in practice (from about) 55 or something like that," Hoke said. "I know we have a lot of faith in Brendan right now."

Asked if Gibbons has passed freshman Matt Wile as the team's long-distance field goal kicker, Hoke said he was unsure.

Ready for trickery
If Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio has any trick plays tucked away for the game Saturday, Hoke says his team should be prepared.

The Spartans cashed in a big play against the Wolverines last season when quarterback Kirk Cousins took a pitch out of a wildcat formation and found Keith Nichol on a 42-yard pickup.

Earlier last season, Michigan State stunned Notre Dame in overtime with its now famous "Little Giants" fake field goal.

Hoke said if his defense minds its job and keeps focus, tricks shouldn't be an issue Saturday.

"Your eye discipline is going to help you defend those plays," Hoke said. "There's always some that are very unique that you may run into now and again, but if you're disciplined with what your job is and your eyes, then you'll do a pretty good job."

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


Blu n Tpa

Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 9:49 p.m.

Would someone please tell that great Michigan fan, Lorain, that the players she named are Jordan Kovacs and Elliott Mealer. Spelling their names correctly would show respect for them, but that's was close enough for her. Also UF did offer DRob as a QB . Plus, I don't see any present member of this Michigan team ignoring the directions of the BCSiCF like DRob clearly states he did with the WCSiMFH. (I did play sports. In fact I was on a couple of high school teams with a current HC at Michigan. I wasn't very good but I lettered. So please tell the great apologist for the WCiMFH to keep at it. She's bound to get something right. Remember the blind pig and the broken watch)


Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 4:35 p.m.

The apologists for the last "coach" we had will say ... "See, it WAS the players' fault and not his." , when they read what DRob said. Some will probably even say "I bet Carr had something to do with that too." But then consider this: Why is Denard, and why are the other players all of a sudden listening to Coach Hoke and the other coaches, AND doing what they say ? It's because they know we have some great coaches now, and they have a great deal of respect for them.


Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 1:19 p.m.

I have also seen Denard running out of bounds intentionally several times this season. Felt like he almost ALWAYS took the big hit to get 1 or 2 more yards last year, which was dumb. Get the first down, get out of bounds, avoid the hit (or even draw the penalty sometimes). I am placing a lot of stock on the outcome of this Saturdays game. Potentially wining the Legends division.... creeping up near the top of the B1G bowl selection list... and a great record at the end of Hoke's first season ? All tantalizing prospects, but we have a lot of work to do first. I want to play Wisconsin in December! GO BLUE!

Blu n Tpa

Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 2:31 p.m.

I know what you mean by "Felt" like a big hit. I would wager real money that Michigan fans "felt" like they got hit when DRob took unnecessary shots last year. Feel the same this year just not as often or as needless. Fact is Michigan needs DRob to run but it has to balanced with his staying healthy and in the game. Yep, this is a BIG game and great things can come from a win. I do not think it's the end of the season if Michigan loses because this is still a work in progress. Coach Hoke and staff have done such a good job that our expectations might be exceeding reality. Still it is better to dream and lost than not have dreamed at all. (I know I changed the word dream for love, but this is a football site.) TiM Go Blue!

Blu n Tpa

Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 12:56 p.m.

Everything you need to know comparing last year's coaching staff, the WCSiMFH, and this year's staff is there for everyone to see. When the coaches and trainers can't get a player, and in this case I'm sure it's players, like most of the team, to do what they want the coaches no longer have control. Coaches that don't have control are called "askers" and you can't lead over 100 players on a football team by "asking". DR is taking care of himself because he is told to avoid taking unnecessary risks and to get treatment post game to help his body stay healthy. Not "asked", told. Somewhere in the last 9 months Coach Hoke has done something that the WCiMFH couldn't do in three years: Get the respect of this team and use that respect to get better results. I don't need a whole bunch of apologists coming back with excuses for the WCSiMFH. DR states as much in the article. "It was (stressed) I just wasn't listening." Now imagine somebody not paying attention to the BCSiCF. Not going to happen. That's ALL about RESPECT. TiM Go Blue!


Fri, Oct 14, 2011 : 5:56 a.m.

Finally I know what MCC stands for! Though I've stopped making comments about the former staff, because I've found it just leads to the inevitable back-and-forth we've all read 1,000 too many times. The reason we're all here is because we love UofM Football, anyway. Go Blue!


Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 5:22 p.m.

Man crush I say! Yes Ms. Lorain you are a charter member of the MCC (Man Crush Crowd Ann Arbor chapter 52-14. MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAnchigan footbal will return from the muck. In the MCC you will find no luck!

Lorain Steelmen

Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 4:41 p.m.

Blu n Tpa. How do you know how the team felt about RR duriing the past three years? Are you on the team? Have you ever been on ANY team? Any where? Just curious, how you get off making silly comments like this. I got a little bit different take than you do. I'd say Denard Robinson thinks pretty highly of RR, since RR recruitd him here to specifically play QB... Recall UFLorida refused to look at him as a QB. If DRob is a RR fan, don't you believe that many of the other guys that RR recruited here, share those feelings? How about a Jordon Kovachs? OR an Elliott Meeler? Why is it that you RR haters, just cannot move on? Maybe if you started rooting for msu, or osu, we real UM fans can get back to real football issues.

Matt Patercsak

Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 3:34 a.m.

i was worried about the issue of trickery, thought about it a lot today in fact. so im glad that the staff has addressed it. I think we have the right mindset headed into this game. ball security and ability to run the football will dictate the winner. My biggest fear is the deep play action pass on short yardage. no one has really gone for any bombs against Michigan and i think our deep safeties (kovacs aside) are still relatively unproven. A ton is riding on this game. Recruiting, respect, bragging rights and a Big 10 Champion shot. also concerned about: those weird dantonio plays where you fake a dive up the middle and hand off to another back headed for the perimeter. our outside contain needs to improve. id also like to see Mccolgan back in the backfield too. man...i love fullbacks


Wed, Oct 12, 2011 : 11:20 p.m.

Well now I can sleep tonite. I was worried there for a minute.


Wed, Oct 12, 2011 : 11:17 p.m.

I like the Diamond attack with Denard, Devin and Smith. Hope Borges shows more of it this week than last. Pull out all the stops. This game seems more important than the OSU game -considering the buckeyes meltdown against Nebraska. i think MSU is clearly the best team on our schedule. OSU is clearly the best tattooed.


Wed, Oct 12, 2011 : 11:16 p.m.

I don't mean any disrespect to Brendan Gibbons, but I still think that UM needs a more reliable field goal kicker. When it comes to playing teams like MSU, where it could be a very close game, that one field goal could make a difference between a win and a loss.


Thu, Oct 13, 2011 : 12:07 a.m.

We could always use a better field goal kicker, but don't blame him for the blocked fieldgoal last weekend....NU was stacked up like a human pyramid when the kick went up. This coaching staff has already made him a more confident kicker. Accuracy will improve with experience and practice.


Wed, Oct 12, 2011 : 9:45 p.m.

We'll need Denard's talents against MSU. It has been great to see Devin Gardner get meaningful snaps the past few weeks. The question is if Denard can either score or help his team score in the Red Zone this year. Last year saw Denard throw a pic in the first trip in the End Zone last year and then Sparty rolled. In Al Borgess, I trust. Other injuries, glad to know the Maize and Blue came out of the NW game in good shape. Troy Woolfolk seems more capable of making plays this week against MSU. Bottom line: A healthy Denard gives the offense the fire power it will need to overcome the MSU defense. GO BLUE!!!