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Posted on Fri, Aug 19, 2011 : 5:59 a.m.

Freshman Matt Wile will handle kickoffs, Denard Robinson completing 70 percent of his passes and more notes

By Kyle Meinke


Freshman kicker Matt Wile will handle kickoffs, Michigan coach Brady Hoke said Thursday.

Angela J. Cesere |

Michigan football coach Brady Hoke said Thursday that true freshman Matt Wile will handle kickoff duties.

Hoke also said Wile is a strong contender to handle punting duties while starter Will Hagerup serves a four-game suspension to start the season. Place-kicker remains up for grabs with the season opener against Western Michigan looming Sept. 3.

If Wile wins all three jobs, he could become the first true freshman to kick off, attempt a field goal and punt for Michigan in a season opener since freshmen became eligible to play in 1972.

"I'd imagine he'll be our kickoff guy for sure," Hoke said of Wile after Thursday's practice. "I think he's punting pretty daggone well. We did that today, with some pressure on him, and he hit three pretty daggone good punts.

"With field goals and stuff like that, it's still a competitive process."

Wile is challenging incumbents Seth Broekhuizen and Brendan Gibbons to become the starting place-kicker. He is Michigan's highest-ranked kicking prospect since 2003, and made 19 of 24 field-goal attempts his final two years of high school.

He said he is consistent within 50 yards, and he has career long is 63.

Broekhuizen and Gibbons combined to make four of 14 attempts last year, last in Division I, but there may be hope for them.

Hoke said Gibbons has looked good lately in camp, and stood out during a recent workout at Michigan Stadium. Broekhuizen said Sunday that he corrected a mechanical flaw (following through between the uprights) in the off-season, and that he's been striking the ball more consistently.

"I think it's still a great competition," Hoke said. "I wouldn't say we have who it is."

Denard Robinson accurate in drills

Hoke said junior quarterback Denard Robinson has completed more than 70 percent of his passes since the start of camp.

The team charts all throws during organized drills.

"I think the ball's coming off quicker," Hoke said. "I think his timing's better. And you have to give the guys catching the ball credit, because I think their route running is better."

Backup Devin Gardner has completed 59 to 62 percent of his passes. Hoke said the sophomore has shown good maturity, but must improve his consistency.

Thinking of Corwin Brown

Hoke's thoughts on former Michigan player Corwin Brown, who is facing three felony charges after an armed standoff with police ended with a self-inflicted gunshot wound:

"The only thing I can say is our thoughts are with him and his family. We think about him every day, he's a Michigan Man."

Brown currently is being cared for at a hospital but will be sent to jail upon his release.

Hoke on Miami and Nevin Shaprio

Hoke's reaction to the brewing scandal at Miami, where booster Nevin Shapiro allegedly gave at least 72 players impermissible gifts such as cash, prostitutes and trips:

"My reaction is we got to make sure we're doing a great job at Michigan about educating everybody ... our kids, first and foremost, and being a student-athlete and what that's all about."

More notes

Hoke said his team is doing a better job of taking care of the ball after it posted a minus-32 turnover margin the past three years. "We need to be on guard," he said. "That's not winning football." ... Hoke said no tailback has yet separated himself in the competition to become Michigan's first lead back since 2007, but he isn't yet worried. ... Some freshmen are almost completely done with the academic obligations from the summer semester, and there are "a couple guys out there (who are) going to help us," Hoke said. He doesn't expect to have any academic hang-ups entering the fall semester.

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.



Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 3:57 a.m.

@ Ike, with respect, you should know that players must accomplish in practice before they can accomplish in games. That's the value of Shoelace hitting 70% with his passes. Also: we are not told what his practice percentage was before Brady Hoke arrived. I "just suspect" is wasn't as high as 70%. Coach has said (in another interview): We've moved the dial in all areas." We all know what that means: Hoke and his staff have come to work on "The Problem" that existed at Michigan. Now, we are at least assured there won't be any more games we want to leave at the end of the first half.


Fri, Aug 19, 2011 : 9:16 p.m.

As far as I'm concerned, Wile can Punt, Kick, Kickoff and even sell hot dogs and soda pop if that helps. I definitely feel like the kicking game is gonna improve big time, as well as the rest of the team. The D will be way better, the O will be better against good teams too and all the units will improve as the season matures. Go Blue!!!

Blu n Tpa

Fri, Aug 19, 2011 : 6:14 p.m.

CW Thanks, I'm sure that everybody south of the Artic Circle understands that you are a fair weather fan with a wait and see attitude, who never misses a chance to prove your lack of enthusiasm as a Michigan fan. I know I can't wait for the time when Michigan teams are at such a high level of success that you wont be heard from again. The MCC is still breathing.

Chad Williams

Fri, Aug 19, 2011 : 5:33 p.m.

I think like the last 2 years this team will go 4-0 although ND is really a toss up because of how good they will be on offense under kelly. Mich and ND game will come down to which temas defense will step up. ND is going to spread mich out and make them play in space and hopefully Hoke realizes that ND cant stop denards running ability. If mich tries that power running style they might lose because even with a good defense ND will be tough to stop. Neb, MSU, Iowa, Osu and ND are the games im looking to see improvement from both sides of the ball. They have more talent than the other 7 teams on their schedule so it wouldnt be a suprise if they win those 7. To be the best you have to beat the best. Until i see a significant victory then there is nothing to jump up and down about. Beating WMU in the first game isnt something im going to be impressed.


Fri, Aug 19, 2011 : 11:12 p.m.

Every victory is significant, and a 4-0 start would be very significant given the fact that 2 of UM's first 4 games are against very good competition (ND and SDSU which went 9-4 last season, lost a close game to TCU, and crushed Navy in a bowl game). As for beating WMU not being would sure beat losing to Toledo.

Terry Star21

Fri, Aug 19, 2011 : 5:12 p.m.

Great to hear about Wile...I've been around long enough to know that ever once in a while, just ever once in awhile a special kid comes in like this as a frosh and makes an immediate impact, that makes Michigan the super team they are - we've seen it before and our best wishes to Matt. Sometimes the old saying, 'Don't think about it - just do it" will bode well for the kid. "I think the ball's coming off quicker," Hoke said. "I think his timing's better" (Denard). This is some of the best news coming out of camp I've heard. When I watched the spring game in 2010, the little bit of improvement he made in those areas was great. Watching the 2011 spring game, I thought he still had a ways to go. MgoBlueForTiM.....cheers to Wile punting into the EZ stands and kicking FG's from mid-field.


Fri, Aug 19, 2011 : 2:56 p.m.

it's great to have a player like wile who can handle all the kicking duties, but we are going to be in some close games this year ware a fg may decide the game and i would like to see wile do only fg's. that being said i think hagerup will get his act together. if he does not the 3/strikes and your out rule may apply here. from every thing i have seen and read about hagerup he is a good KID. GO BLUE!!


Fri, Aug 19, 2011 : 2:41 p.m.

How much does completing 70% of passes in practice matter? What does that translate to in a game with Wisconsin and OSU's big linebackers bearing down on him and 110,000 hopeful onlookers expecting him to make the play?


Fri, Aug 19, 2011 : 6:29 p.m.

It's better than 59-62%, that's what matters.

Joe Kidd

Fri, Aug 19, 2011 : 5:21 p.m.

And it beats 69% and anything lower. Keep in mind too that the DBs are trying to get that % lower to get as much playing time as they can get. So while the defensive line and those rushing may not be pummeling DRob, I am sure the DBs are trying as hard as they can to make passes incomplete or interceptions. I might rather see the defensive stats higher than the offensive stats since if DRob can make 70% some other QBs around the league may be able to do that too. So is he that good or is the defense lacking? I hope not. Defense wins ballgames.


Fri, Aug 19, 2011 : 5:19 p.m.

Okay, I was just curious about practice percentages reflecting on in game. I hope Denard can keep it up, cause whenever he dropped back to pass last year I got concerned. At least against the Big 10 defenses.

Terry Star21

Fri, Aug 19, 2011 : 5:18 p.m.

Agree with Burton, and adding that the osu and whisky linebackers will be unable to get through our D giving him time and he sounds like he will love the 110,000 cheers and thrive.


Fri, Aug 19, 2011 : 3:34 p.m.

It all starts on the practice field. Obviously things are different in a game but his accuracy will make or break Denard as a QB. If improving his mechanics, footwork, understanding the offensive scheme and reading defenses is resulting in him completing 70% in practice, then that is definitely a good sign.


Fri, Aug 19, 2011 : 2:22 p.m.

It's reassuring to have Wile on the team...we should be set for a kicker for the next 4 years.

Terry Star21

Fri, Aug 19, 2011 : 5:24 p.m.

Steve, in all due respect this is NOT the same coaching staff we had with Gibbons - HUGE difference ! And his early attitude is sounding a lot like Zoltan - there is that kickers mentality. (note; remember when Zoltan tried to double high five the Michigan banner coming on to the field, and it bounced him right on his back - that was too good !)


Fri, Aug 19, 2011 : 5:09 p.m.

Keep in mind that Brendan Gibbons was a highly recruited place kicker as well (No 8 on Rivals, no 11 on scout) and we all know how things went last year while he was the kicker. Wile (NR on rivals, no. 4 on scout) is a freshman and proclaiming him the kicking savior is a bit premature. Also, it sounds like he has beaten out the others for kickoffs (not surprising) and a suspended punter for the punting duties. At this point he has not put any distance between himself and the kickers from last year in the race for the placekicking position. Nothing there to make me feel reassured.


Fri, Aug 19, 2011 : 1:12 p.m.

Well, punting and place-kicking are very different disciplines... different mechanics, different training regimens and different shoes. Any team is typically much better off with both a punter and a kicker rather than a punter/kicker. I certainly hope Hagerup has his head on straight and his leg in mid-season form upon his return. I do miss Zoltan: Space Emperor of Space... a guy who Hagerup would be well-advised to emulate in every way.

Blu n Tpa

Fri, Aug 19, 2011 : 12:31 p.m.

1st, I agree that Hagerup is dancing on the edge of the razor right now and if Wile can average around 40 yds a punt it's AFM. (that Adios My Friend) And it might happen really fast since Hagerup might see the writing on the wall and save having to sit out another year by leaving early in the season. Like during his suspension, to find a place that's more in keeping with his lifesytle choices. I'm not pushing him out the door but missing last year's game vs tsopio and getting a four game vacation under the new coach is not likely to endear him to his teammates. Wake up Mr. Hagerup or the only "kicking" you will see will be on your backsides. TiM Go Blue!

Terry Star21

Fri, Aug 19, 2011 : 5:27 p.m.

Good one ! Although there are different muscles used and mechanics in the punt/kick I really believe with the right coaching and attitude this kid can doit all !


Fri, Aug 19, 2011 : 12:13 p.m.

That minus 32 turnover margin must be turned around to a positive number as quickly as possible. One huge problem this defense has had is an inability to force turnovers. I think this was a combination of not being in the right place to make plays and not hitting the ball carrier hard enough to jar the ball loose. There's a lot of techniques that can be taught to force turnovers and I imagine the new coaching staff is working hard on fixing this problem.

1st Down

Fri, Aug 19, 2011 : 11:23 a.m.

Denard looks so much more comfortable throwing in the footage that has been shown from the fall practices...Devin too...its good news about Wile and Gibbons getting praise too....if they keep that up, there may just be another scholie opening if the current disciplinary case punter makes one more mistake...he already has made two in his brief career at Michigan...and its good to see the other guys stepping up to push him...Punting at Michigan is not a players right....