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Posted on Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 2:55 p.m.

Kicker likely to remain same for Michigan football team, Denard Robinson nears record and Wolverines injury report

By Pete Bigelow


Don't expect to see this in a game: Defensive tackle Ryan Van Bergen, who was a kicker in high school, practiced his form last week before Michigan played at Purdue.

Melanie Maxwell |

As he watched defensive tackle Ryan Van Bergen practice field goals during warm-ups before last week’s game against Purdue, one thought ran through Rich Rodriguez’s mind.

“I hope he doesn’t hurt his toe,” Michigan’s coach said Wednesday.

Translation: No, Rodriguez has never seriously considered augmenting his kicking rotation with Van Bergen, who kicked at Whitehall High School before concentrating on defense.

For now, Rodriguez said Wednesday that he’s still inclined to keep Seth Broekhuizen as the Wolverines’ starting kicker after watching him compete against Brendan Gibbons in practice this week.

That endorsement came with a caveat: Rodriguez will not make a final decision for Saturday’s game against Wisconsin (noon, ESPN) until pre-game warm-ups.

In the meantime, both kickers will alternate working with the first team during practice.

Broekhuizen missed a 42-yard field-goal attempt and an extra point against the Boilermakers. On the season, the two kickers have combined to make four of 12 attempts, including 0-for-4 beyond 40 yards.

“The frustrating part with me and the athletes is that they’ve done really well in practice,” Rodriguez said. “Seth, I have a lot of confidence in him, and Brendan has had his moments as well.”

Robinson nears a record After rushing for 68 yards against Purdue, Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson stands closer to the all-time college football record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a single season.

He enters Saturday’s game 77 yards shy of former Air Force quarterback Beau Morgan, who ran for 1,494 yards in 1996.

Robinson ranks as the nation’s second-leading rusher. He has 1,417 yards on the season, and trails Oregon’s LaMichael James by 5 yards.

Injury report Defensive tackle Mike Martin (ankle) practiced fully Tuesday, and is expected to be ready for Saturday’s game. Linebacker Jonas Mouton (chest) has still been limited in practice, but Rodriguez also expects him to play against Wisconsin.

The only other concerns for the Wolverines are left tackle Taylor Lewan and running back Michael Shaw, who both displayed symptoms consistent with a concussion Saturday.

Rodriguez didn’t know when Lewan was injured, but thought it might have come in the first half.

Early against the Boilermakers, Lewan, 6-foot-8 and 294 pounds, scooped a Vincent Smith fumble off the soggy field and rumbled for an 11-yard gain.

“He was laughing with the guy yesterday about that, how he was keeping it high and tight,” Rodriguez said. “He probably heard me yelling at him to get down. But he is a good athlete.”

Quotable “It goes fast and slow at the same time. You think about all these things that happened, and it’s like I did a lot here. But at the same time, you feel like you just got here and you remember it so vividly.” - senior left guard Steve Schilling, who will play in his final career home game Saturday. Pete Bigelow covers Michigan football for He can be reached at (734) 623-2556, via e-mail at and followed on Twitter @PeterCBigelow.



Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 3:31 p.m.

People who say the cupboard wasn't bare have not done their homework and actually look and see who was gone after Lloyd left: OL Jake Long(1st pick in the draft) RB Mike Hart(all-time leading rusher) QB Chad Henne(all-time passer) WR Mario Manningham WR Arrington OL Kraus OL Mitchell OL Boren QB Mallet S Adams S Englemon S stewart CB Trent DE Jamison LB Crable LB Herron LB Thompson Are yiou kidding me? These are not just 17 players, these were THE top 17 players on the team. Lloyd Carr would've missed a bowl with these loses! RR stepped into the biggest rebuilding job since SMU recieved the "Death Penalty". So to say the cupboard was NOT bare is simply intellectually dishonest.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 10:16 p.m.

Sean, I like your point and I think you said it better than I did. MD started with a lot less than RR did and brought a new system in to boot. That's why I'm tired of the apologists. This program has gone beyond defendable.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 6:19 p.m.

I think the cupboard was bearer than it had been. Also even though Lloyd Carr did well his last Big Ten championship was in 2004, and his last four teams did not beat OSU. Last Rose Bowl win was 1998. I think the program was sliding downward. Look at this year. The three losses were relatively close. One by 17 points and two by ten points. Turnovers, something a coach cannot control, may have caused those losses in concert with a poor defense. The offense? Name a Michigan offense in modern history that has produced so well. Especially one with such young players. Sure the last two games are probably losses, but the improvement is significant. To eject RR after this season would be stupid. With even a slightly improved defense that can get more stops and the offenses tightening up on the ball, next year should be a key year. If the team boots the pooch next year after some tweaking, then I say do what you have to do. Chitown makes a good point about kicking, the "forget about it" moments on fourth and whatever and the kicks out of bounds and the long runback after one blocked FG attempt. All may have had more impact on just the points FGs might have provided.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 5:55 p.m.

Pete, do you know if the kickers are practicing at the practice facility or at the stadium? I think if I were RR I would make Broekhuizen and Gibbons live in the stadium and practice between classes. Well only as much practice as the NCAA allows.

Sean T.

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 3:10 p.m.

PU MSU, Though I disagree that the cupboard was bare, I agree that RR should have his 4th year. That way there is no doubt if he is the right or wrong coach for the job. I too, thought he was the wrong hire and haven't changed my stance on that but I'm willing to let the chips fall where they may. Another point I disagree on is with comparisons between Dantonio and RR. Dantonio followed behind one of MSU's worst coaches in their history and had to bring in a whole new system. The system which required a different skill-set from his style of coaching. In contrast he has went to a bowl every year he has been in "spartyland".(which sickens me) What bothers me is John L Smith actually went to a bowl game in his first season with Bobby Williams players. (Pro-style system) We cannot give RR a pass on his failures because he didn't have his players nor should we continue to sugar-coat his faults in recruiting by saying the cupboard was bare. Improvement in his win/loss record is a mirage because of the powder-puff non-conference schedule. (But I'll take it) But do you think that beating a decimated by injury Purdue team and a hapless Indiana team improvement?


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 11:57 a.m.

Agreed, extremely rational argument, P U MSU. Wish people could calm down and understand that demanding RR out immediately is just not our best option. Could very easily end up like Notre Dame and suffer for many more years. I still blame Bill Martin for this mess! He is the one that completely screwed up the coaching search and hire. Lloyd didn't do us any favors in that whole process either. Oh, and nice article, again, Pete. I always go straight to your pieces for factual break-downs and comprehensive notes. Much better than the extremism opinions we get from other "reporters".


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 11:31 a.m.

P U MSS: you just wrote the best post of the football season. Well done.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 8:45 a.m.

aarox, Take those kids who transfered from the program out of that recruiting class and they are no longer top 15. Believe it or not, the "cuboards were bare" on the defensive side of the ball. Partly due to injuries and the lack of recruiting in the defensive backfield. MD has done great things for MSU without questions. However, your comparison does not match up. RR was hired to implement his spread and adopted a pro-style personal. It was a unfortunate hire to begin with. Now that his personal is finally in place you want to run him out of town? That does not make sence to me. To disagree with the hire - yes i understand that. To ask him to leave after finally getting personal to run the system, where we only graduate 4 stating players - this makes no sence. Beating #8 Wisconsin or #9 OSU would be an upset. The talent on this team is just not ready to win those games. (In a non-upset manner). No one, who lives in reality, is expecting RR and the team to win these next two games. Stealing one would be great, but if the games happen to play out like they should, we will lose. "Well how can you just expect to lose?" I live in reality. We start over 15 underclassmen. The quarterback, the most important player on the field, is a first-year starter. There is a ton of attrition on the defensive side of the ball. These are things that happen, and they are a part of reality. They go into the winning equation. Do you think that Mack Brown is a bad coach? One of the winningest coaches in college football, yet he finds himself with a first-year starting quarterback and a 4-5 record. I suggest you take your fandom out of the equation when judging this team and look at all of the surrounding factors. You would be much happier.


Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 11:14 p.m.

Pete Bigelow - Have to disagree with you about the kicking game. You are forgetting about the kick-offs and the times Michigan didn't even atempt a field goal when in range. Michigan has consistently allowed teams to start with better than average field position. That cost Michigan just too much not to say that at least one game could have gone the other way, especially Iowa (two out of bounds on kick-offs and Iowa averaging 10 yards better on starting field position). It for sure cost Michigan in some of the close games that they won. Also, don't forget about the number of times any team in the country would have kicked a field goal, but Michigan opted to go for it. I sure would liked to have three on the board vs giving the ball up on downs. It sure seems to me that there is some serious validity to the kickers costing the Blue one game...


Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 10:12 p.m.

Great point, Pete. I don't know if that makes it more or less frustrating. I'm assuming Broekhuizen is not on scholarship. I don't keep up with recruiting, but I'm curious, will Michigan consider burning a scholarship on a kicker? Though I know little about recruiting norms, I understand that most kickers, even at big schools, are usually walk-ons. Though field-goal kicking has not been a determining factor in the games thus far, I doubt Michigan will be so lucky to say the same thing at this point in the season next year. It couldn't hurt the team's confidence to have the next Jason Hanson as a fourth-down option next season.


Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 9:50 p.m.

Is Van Bergen kicking with headphones? And if so, what are those headphones plugged into - an iPod playing music, how to kick FGs tapes, or coaches up in the booth? What is the saying? "You will perform like you practice, so practice like you are performing." If you let your players practice while plugged into their iPods, well, then that explains a lot. Hopefully he was listening to something else.


Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 9:18 p.m.

Our record's so bad that we moo. Let's blame that darned kicker, that's new. But since we can't win which kicker fits in, oh, yes it's Ndamukong Suh!


Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 9:12 p.m.

It's great that DR is coming into a record, but its the RR record that is the problem. While we keep stumbling, MD down the road is poised to set a record of his own. MSU with a win against Purdue will have more wins than in any other 4 year period in its history. RR needs to win 17 games next year to match MD's performance. So I hear RR's cupboard was bare. You can tell that because UM was 27-11 in the 3 years before RR, while MSU was 14-21 in the three years before MD. And, ESPN ranked all 6 UM recruiting classes that fed RR in the top 15 in the nation. 5 of the 6 were in the top 10. 15. Go figure. I am way tired of losing and way tired of the apologists. No excuses!


Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 7:46 p.m.

We love Lloyd Carr; The answer unique. Kicker solution? Ali Haji-Sheikh!


Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 6:40 p.m.

UMguy: I don't know how you came up with the assertion that "The lack of a solid kicker has probably cost UM 2 games this year". Maybe you could give the rest of us more specifics. But, I'd say that our defense has cost us the 3 losses much more than the "lack of a solid kicker". That being said, I do agree that Michigan needs to recruit a good kicker in this year's class. Obviously, the decision to offer Gibbons a scholarship by the coaches was a poor one in retrospect. We can't depend on searching among the student body to find one.


Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 6:26 p.m.

Sick of hearing about it Coach!!! We have seen Broekhuizen can do. He has kicked basically all year and has not been good! Quit talking about it and make a change. Gibbons was brought on with a scholarship, can kick field goals over 50 yards, and has not been given the same "game" opportunities as Broekhuizen. Make the change Coach!!


Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 6:07 p.m.

Let's hope we only need to kick extra points this weekend.


Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 5:46 p.m.

The lack of a solid kicker has probably cost UM 2 games this year, and will cost them games in the future if they don't get it fixed stat. I can't believe out of 30,000 students, they can't find one who can kick a field goal.


Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 5:41 p.m.

Bring back the "Fat hairy Kicker". You know, 2 steps in a straight line, excellent for bad weather and rainy days. Let him smoke cigars on the sideline and drink from a flask full of Bathtub Gin.


Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 5:10 p.m.

..get that last win at the Big House seniors! Go Blue! v


Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 4:41 p.m.

I Agree with True_Wolverine_Fan. Much better than Freep's "better win or else" crap.


Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 4:04 p.m.

Thank you for this article. It was a nice read and I felt it was informative without being agenda-driven. Nice work!