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Posted on Mon, Nov 15, 2010 : 4:45 p.m.

Has Denard Robinson hit a wall? Rich Rodriguez says no, plus Michigan's kicker job and injury report

By Pete Bigelow


Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson had his roughest day of the season Saturday, turning the ball over four times and absorbing some big hits -- including this one by Boilermaker safety Logan Link -- before leading the Wolverines game-clinching touchdown drive.

Melanie Maxwell |

Denard Robinson endured his harshest day as the Michigan football team’s starting quarterback Saturday, fumbling the ball away twice, throwing two interceptions and absorbing three of Ryan Kerrigan’s four sacks.

On the game’s key drive, he returned to form.

“He was having a tough day, but on that last drive, he was the difference,” Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said.

Ahead by four points and in need of a clock-killing drive, Robinson completed a 25-yard pass to Kevin Koger on 3rd-and-7 near midfield. On 3rd-and-9 a few plays later, Robinson scrambled 11 yards for a first down.

The drive he kept alive culminated in Stephen Hopkins' 3-yard TD run, which iced the game for the Wolverines.

Robinson finished 13 of 21 passing for 176 yards. He carried 22 times for 68 rushing yards. It was the second consecutive week Robinson had been held to less than 70 yards rushing.

“I don’t think he’s hit a wall,” Rodriguez said. “I just think he had some bad moments in the last game.” KICKING JOB REOPENS After watching kicker Seth Brokehuizen miss an extra point and a 42-yard field-goal attempt Saturday, Rodriguez said he’ll evaluate his first-team kicker again this week.

He said that Broekhuizen has been the better kicker in practices, but that it hasn’t translated to the field. On the season, Broekhuizen is 3-for-8 on field goal attempts with a long of 37 yards.

Brendan Gibbons would be Michigan’s alternative. He opened the season as the team’s starter, but went 1-for-4 before Broekhuizen replaced him.

Combined, they’re 4 for 12 on the season and 0-for-4 on attempts from beyond 40 yards.

INJURY REPORT Rodriguez said Monday he’s hopeful defensive tackle Mike Martin (ankle) and linebacker Jonas Mouton (chest) will play against Wisconsin on Saturday.

Both were late scratches against Purdue.

Right tackle Perry Dorrestein played sparingly against the Boilermakers, and is still slowed by a nagging knee injury. Mark Huyge has started three straight games, but Rodriguez said the starting job belongs to Dorrestein once he returns.

Running back Michael Shaw (head) is questionable.

“We’ll see if (Shaw) can go Saturday. He’ll go through some tests the next couple of days,” Rodriguez said.

On the other sideline, Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema is unsure whether running back John Clay will play Saturday, although he’ll receive limited practice time this week.

Without him, the Badgers put up 83 points against Indiana. Rodriguez said Michigan’s preparations will not hinge upon whether Clay plays.

“They’re going to run the same plays, and their system will be the same,” he said. “Clay is an awfully big guy to get running down hill. The other guys, you’ve got to get to them quickly, especially if you are undersized a little bit like we are.”

Pete Bigelow covers the Michigan football team for He can be reached at (734) 623-2551, via email at and followed on Twitter @PeterCBigelow.



Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 7:51 a.m.

no, everyone has bad days... Denard too.


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 4:18 p.m.

Denard is fading as predicted by most knowledgeable fans. You can't beat a QB up like that week after week and expect crisp play. The next two weeks will tell us what we have, although I'm afraid I already know. I'll still go down to the horseshoe, but it isn't as much fun when the buckeyes pity you.


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 4:06 p.m.

No he has not hit a wall. But, explain why he should be the whole team, that is my question? He shouldn't we need a new couch one that can compete in big 10 football.


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 4:02 p.m.

If the benchmark is Denard's performances in the Notre Dame game, then his performance really hit a wall so to speak. He really hit the wall with good defenses. LOL! Good luck in breaking the wall against Wisco and Ohio State.

DaLast word

Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 3:26 p.m.

I think the offensive line has hit a wall, and yes the opposing defense's have been well schooled by this time in the season. I've been a RR fan from the start, but I'm losing faith. I think RR has underestimated the quality of talent in the big ten.He's going to need to pull a unexpected victory out of hat or somewhere to keep this job much longer. One more year and that's it.

Sean T.

Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 1:27 p.m.

Good post, Reknedrog.


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 9:50 a.m.

The FREEP ran a story recently on Plymouth High School kicker Kyle Brindza, who until last Saturday was 12 for 17 on field goal attempts, including three from 53 yards. In practice he has even hit a 63 yard field goal. Brindza has attended kicking camps at M and at former Michigan walk on kicker Brandon Kornblu's school in Florida. Until last weekend, all but five of his kickoffs have reached thee end zone. In a recent game he even punted 70 yards. Although recruited by Michigan, Brindza will enroll at Notre Dame in January. M's failure to recruit local players is apparent under Rodriguez.


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 9:14 a.m.

Macabre: You're on target that the entire Big 10 non-conference schedule is too light. But that problem will never be settled at the conference level. The NCAA needs to step in and dictate that teams competing for the national championship play a schedule containing non-conference games of substance, not "pre-season" warm-up games. However, the issue of discussion is, "Has DR hit a wall?" Yes. Several walls, in fact. Wall #1: Competitive defenses with def coords that have truly studied the films. Wall #2: Out of gas. As the season wears on, the effects of "minor" injuries are compounding. Yet, the 1-dimensional UM offenses has to keep him running. Wall #3: Weather. Purdue illustrates the point. Big 10 FB in mid-November is played in the rain, sleet, snow and (sometimes) the mud. This isn't baseball. It's football. Those situations aren't bad game conditions. They're REAL gameday conditions. Those who say DR was stymied at Purdue because of the weather comfirm my long-held belief, the fancy, speed-oriented offenses that are used in the SEC cannot withstand REAL football weather. That is why the SEC builds their teams as they do and why they NEVER held north. Maybe DR is too accustomed to playing in Florida. May it rain, sleet and snow on you on both Nov. 20th & 27. The Badgers and the Bucks will be ready! I doubt DR and RR will.


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 8:30 a.m.

Denard has put up yardage against teams both good and bad. I think the weather had more to do with last weeks performance than anything. Michigan had 14 points on the boad in the first 5 minutes of the game before the rain begain to fall. With that said, these kids to learn how to play in november Big10 weather. The kid needs to take care of the ball. He is still developing as a passer. Step back and take a look of how far he has come in one year. Do you remember last year? Everytime he took a snap and dropped back to pass I had to close my eyes. Denard has not hit a wall.

Jonny Spirit

Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 7:58 a.m.

@81wolverine Sorry, I just say the truth, and for crying out loud out is a post not a Essay. So relax on the low blows for the grammer. We from MSU can't do that spelling thing to good but we got couch burning and riots down! @umgoblue47 Thanks goodness I was found. After getting a classic butt whooping from a Hawkeye someone found me under a bridge. Thank you for looking for me it was very scary to get beat like that. Thank goodness for the bye week I feel a lot better. @umpire Ummm remember that saying about rocks and glass houses. You might want to look at all the police records against Michigan players. I know we are not perfect but your players are not clean at all. @Macabre Sunset Cool post to show strength of schedules. To all Michigan fans, if Michigan puts up a good fight against Wisc, and not get blown out by 30, I will be the first to post it and give them there props. We will see how Michigan will end it's season. As a MSU fan I would be scared to death if MI had any Def. There Offense is AWESOME. Go Green!


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 12:54 a.m.

Why do people make this more mysterious and complicated than it really is? Denard did not hit a wall. He simply sucks at throwing the ball, and that gets more exposed in some games than it does others. He is pretty decent inside 15 yards, so that combined with his incredible running ability makes him extremely dangerous. If Devin can throw as well as Tate, I don't think Denard will be starting by his senior year.

Macabre Sunset

Mon, Nov 15, 2010 : 10:34 p.m.

Big Ten Strength of Schedule: Current: 16. Minnesota 20. Penn State 29. Illinois 38. Purdue 40. Iowa 51. Michigan State 53. Indiana 58. Michigan 73. Ohio State 74. Wisconsin 97. Northwestern Including final two weeks: 10. Minnesota 24. Penn State 31. Illinois 34. Michigan 36. Purdue 44. Iowa 54. Ohio State 56. Michigan State 58. Indiana 65. Wisconsin 74. Northwestern (ranked out of 120 FBS schools) Northwestern's schedule is the third easiest of all the major conference schools, and only a pair of Big East schools are lower. The Big Ten in general has really dumbed it down a lot the last few years. The SEC, criticized in the past for the same thing, has taken steps to increase the number of challenging games. While the Big Ten will probably get a record-setting 10th all-time BCS bowl at-large bid this season, it is undeserved because of the low schedule strength.


Mon, Nov 15, 2010 : 9:29 p.m.

If Michigan had the toughest non-conf schedule against the likes of UConn, ND, UMass and BG, that only speaks poorly of the rest of the B10 rather than to M's strength of schedule. (We had this discussion then--the entire B10 played 'fraidy cat with real teams overall with rare exception--PSU played at Bama but had home for Temple, Youngstown State, Kent State; MSU played ND and 3 other nobodies, etc). As always, wins don't mean anything unless they help you improve and they are against real competition. What's up with MSU though? They handily beat Wisconsin, are tied with UW for losses (one), and yet drop in the rankings, 6 behind Wisconsin? MSU deserves it as much as UW who barely beat a middling ASU team. Seems that Iowa loss by MSU hurt a lot, especially compared to UW beating them.


Mon, Nov 15, 2010 : 9:01 p.m.

the ann arbor news has cancelled the amber alert for the child painted GREEN with the big white S on his chest... seems nobody cared... GO BLUE...

Laura J

Mon, Nov 15, 2010 : 8:42 p.m.

Is there any chance of recruiting a kicker that can actually kick? Please, for the love of GOD, find a high school kid that can kick and give him or her a scholarship. PLEASE!!!

Macabre Sunset

Mon, Nov 15, 2010 : 8:42 p.m.

So we all agree? Denard is talented. He hasn't hit a wall. But he sure feels like he has and could use a good rest.


Mon, Nov 15, 2010 : 8:26 p.m.

This is typical stuff for this time of year. DR has definitely hit the wall--this is the most football he has ever played, he is injured, weather is getting cold and wet, and they are in their 14th week of football including practice. That's one of the reasons that it is unusual for a first year QB to succeed. Same thing happened last year with Tate. It remains to be seen if good disciplined D's like Wis and OSU will be hurt by him, or will they contain him in the way MSU and Iowa did.


Mon, Nov 15, 2010 : 7:28 p.m.

"It was the second consecutive week Robinson had been held to less than 70 yards rushing." way! I guess he is human after all. This brings to light the fact that Denard has had two below average performances. Yet the team won both times and compiled almost 1100 yards in the process. '3 and out' or one of the other highly educated football minds on this board need to enlighten me -- I thought RR's offense only works when the QB was running for 150 and throwing for 250 yards per game?


Mon, Nov 15, 2010 : 6:38 p.m.

Certainly Denard has not "hit a wall". He's only a sophomore for one thing. Also, the poor weather conditions obviously affected him, as it did the Purdue players. I do think the other Big Ten teams have figured out a "Denard" strategy to stop him from getting a lot of yards up the middle. But, it just means he must start throwing the ball a bit more to loosen up the defenses. @Jonny "MSU Troll" Spirit: Please take your bad grammar, off-topic remarks, and pointless logic to some other website please.


Mon, Nov 15, 2010 : 6:23 p.m.

Getting a solid kicker in there will boost the win total by at least 2 games next year. I'm sure those guys are good guys, but you have to be able to deliver on the field in that position.


Mon, Nov 15, 2010 : 5:59 p.m.

But look Illinois just got beat by Minnesota.......... Is there really a quality win Michigan has had. If they win against Wisconsin or Ohio State then I will say one more year but when is it time to move on?


Mon, Nov 15, 2010 : 5:51 p.m.

Denard Robinson only had 500 yards of total offense against Notre Dame... and look what they did to Utah! The point is Denard doesn't play nearly as well in rainy, cold weather where the field conditions are horrendous. He is used to practicing on field turf where he can make hard cuts and accelerate at will. That is what gives him an edge on defenders. When that is taken away, he is average. Everyone knew this. It's not surprising. Iowa, Michigan State, and Illinois (kind of) were able to contain him more-so than other schools however, as you saw against Illinois, if you commit to containing Denard Robinson you will get beat somewhere else. Put Denard against Purdue in good conditions and he will gash them.

Macabre Sunset

Mon, Nov 15, 2010 : 5:50 p.m.

As we've been saying since the start of the season, the schedule was definitely back-loaded this year. Even Purdue, a pretty sad team everywhere else, has a good defensive line. Kerrigan's a possible top-ten pick next spring. Michigan State showed how to contain Robinson. He'll get his yards, but he won't break the scoreboard. Meanwhile, the accumulated price of running your quarterback 25 times per game is being paid. His throwing mechanics are a mess right now. Robinson's as banged up as any running back is at this stage of the season. Which is fine if only your knees and ankles matter. Not so much if you have to throw 25 times as well.

Jonny Spirit

Mon, Nov 15, 2010 : 5:39 p.m.

What are you talking about Denard Robinson is the Heismen Trophy winner. Oh wait, I see, he hit a wall when Michigan started playing real teams beside the Cub Scouts and all the Mac schools. Can't wait to start all the talk again next year. Michigan has Eastern and Western MI heck, maybe Washtenaw Community College might have a team for you to play. Rich Rod for Pres, keep him we love him!

Atticus F.

Mon, Nov 15, 2010 : 5:28 p.m.

I dont think Denard has hit a wall talent wise. But I do think that other teams are more prepared for his ground game as the season wears on.