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Posted on Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 6:48 p.m.

Denard Robinson says it's better to pass than receive; Michigan has "hope" for a healthy Kovacs and Lewan

By Nick Baumgardner


Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson (16) says he's much more comfortable throwing the ball than he is about the prospect of catching one from Devin Gardner (7).

Melanie Maxwell |

With all the experimenting offensive coordinator Al Borges has done with with his deuce formation, Michigan football fans have a natural question: When will backup quarterback Devin Gardner throw a pass to starting QB Denard Robinson?

Borges was adamant Tuesday in his refusal to answer any questions regarding the possibility of Robinson catching a bubble screen at some point this season.

Robinson went one step further Wednesday, saying he's never caught a pass in a game and, frankly, doesn't know if he could.

"I'm going to tell you this, I never caught a ball before. I've always been behind the center," Robinson said. "I never caught a ball during a game."

But wait. Didn't former quarterback Tate Forcier throw a pass to you in 2009, Denard?

"I didn't catch it," he laughed. "I've never caught one in a game. I've always been behind the center."

Hoke has hope for a healthy Kovacs, Lewan

Coach Brady Hoke says he doesn't deal in percentages, so he won't put a number on the chances of junior safety Jordan Kovacs and sophomore tackle Taylor Lewan being available Saturday against Iowa.


Taylor Lewan

"I hope he (plays)," Hoke said of Kovacs on Wednesday. "And Taylor, I would hope he would play, too."

Kovacs had his streak of 28 straight games started snapped last weekend when he missed Michigan's 36-14 win over Purdue with a knee injury.

On Monday, Hoke labeled the junior strong safety as "day to day." Kovacs was at practice Tuesday, Hoke said, and "did a lot" during the team's workout.

Lewan was in action Saturday against Purdue, but continued to favor an injured leg.

One player who doesn't have as optimistic an outlook for Saturday is guard Ricky Barnum. Barnum returned to the lineup for the first time in three games last weekend, but promptly left with a new ankle injury.

The 6-foot-3, 292-pound junior is now dealing with two ankle injuries, and Hoke isn't sure on his status.

"Barnum's probably a guy who's the furthest away," Hoke said. "I hate to say (he's week-to-week), because he's got such a great work-ethic with everything he does to get ready.

"I would still say he's day-to-day. There are some guys that have that mentality and toughness that can push through more, and I see that more in (Barnum) than I have other guys in the past."


While Purdue's Danny Hope opted for a rain jacket last Saturday, Brady Hoke stuck with short sleeves. A sign of toughness? No, Hoke says. Just comfort.

Melanie Maxwell |

Hoke says short sleeves about comfort

Hoke said he's not attempting to make any type of toughness statement by refusing to wear long sleeves or a jacket on the sidelines as the temperature continues to dip.

Earlier in the week, players remarked that Hoke's refusal to put on long sleeves is a sign of his toughness.

On Wednesday, Hoke said it's more about comfort.

"I'm comfortable, it's about comfort," Hoke said. "If I could wear shorts, I'd wear shorts.

"I don't think anybody, when I was here before, (on the offensive and defensive lines) wore sleeves."

Time to make the donuts

When Michigan kicks off at Iowa on Saturday, it'll be doing so at 11 a.m. CT (noon ET).

It's another early start for the Wolverines and, according to Hoke, it's the way it should be.

"It's like when you played pee-wee football or Pop Warner," Hoke said. "You got up in the morning, went by the donut shop, got a donut, rode your bike to the game, your helmet was on and then you went and played.

"I think it's great, that's the way football should be."

Hoke said his donut of choice as a youngster was glazed, and prior to Michigan's early kickoffs, he makes glazed donuts available for any Wolverines who want one.

Does Hoke still have a donut before each game?

No. He doesn't eat on game day.

Odds and ends

Robinson was asked Wednesday if he plans on running indoor track at Michigan following the football season. "We'll see," Robinson said. "The track coach and all the track teammates are always talking to me. I miss it because I'll always have that love for track, but football's my first love." Robinson has competed for Michigan's indoor track team in the past, but says he hasn't brought up the topic with Hoke yet, and won't until after the season. ... Asked if he remembered playing in the final drive of Michigan's loss at Iowa in 2009, a possession that ended with an interception, Robinson said yes. He also said it was the most nervous he's ever been during a game.

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



Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 4:42 a.m.

yes but it would be even better if denard "the over glorified running back" would actually pass it to his team .


Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 4:30 a.m.

I kind of wonder how effective the double QB back formation is if it's Robinson is always a decoy. Robinson's got big hands and great athletic ability. I would love to see 2 passes to him a game, 2 runs, and maybe 6 times were he decoys (if the run it ten times). Pull out the stops big Al. As to Hoke wearing T shirts, well the reason why is obvious. i do think he should take better care of himself. We want him to coach for the next 15-20 years. Go Blue.


Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 1:08 p.m.

I don't think you want to throw to much at his way and give the Defense an open invitation to lay him out.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 9:58 p.m.

As a former high school track & field guy: I've got to say that I fully understand Robinson's feelings about that experience. It's something that never leaves you (even when you're in your sixties and can't run 100 feet without knee pain stopping you). I do love Hoke's way of looking at things: he's talking about having a donut before the game and riding there on your bicycle: something (thank Heaven) most American kids (and adults) can relate to. With Hoke, it's always about fundamentals - and having fun. Nothing seems to shake him - and I'd hate to see what it is that would shake him. The "most negative" thing I can say about Brady Hoke is that he doesn't seem to care about his own physical condition. I was once overweight and know for a fact that fat is an insulator: a little warmth becomes uncomfortable and leads a person to wear lighter than normal clothing. Everyone has to burn about as many calories as they consume: the way to achieve that balance is by getting adequate time at exercise. (And, by the way, BIKE RIDING is an excellent way to burn calories - Coach Hoke.)

Larry Weisenthal

Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 8 a.m.

I'm glad that people have finally taken on the Emperor's New Clothes issue of physical condition of the coaching staff. When Bo arrived, in 1969, he was very overweight and had a myocardial infarction right before his first Rose Bowl game. Thereafter, he got health religion and, for the most part, did a decent job of eating right and exercising right, which kept him going for a long time, despite his already-established atherosclerotic vascular disease. I cringe when I see Borges on the sidelines. Brady looks like he might be dropping a bit of weight -- could be wishful thinking, but I hope so. Those coaches need to be role models for their players, who will all have lives after football, where many of them will be at risk for the Borges syndrome. Go easy on the glazed donuts! - Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach CA


Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 12:11 a.m.

Have you seen Borges lately? He's starting to look like Charlie Weiss.

Matt Patercsak

Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 9:57 p.m.

Coach Hoke is the right man. A Michigan fan cannot help but smile when reading his little quirks and trademarks. He's a man who truly cares about his players, the program, and all those involved. reading about how Brady used to eat glazed doughnuts growing up, now giving them to his players here is classic. as is his fashion. I wouldn't want anyone else here. 7-1 to start his head coaching job here isn't bad either. lets take a look at what he's done: he's recruited, landing a top 20 recruiting class in a month. many of those players now at key roles, and a top 5 class for 2012 (and counting) he's instilled toughness, bringing back the fullbacks in McColgan and Hopkins, running between the tackles and stopping the run with reckless abandon. competition is thick in the air on state street every week. he's improved the defense, bringing mattison on board, changing attitude and schematics. the players are improving week to week. he's returned the feature back, Fitz is our guy. no doubt about that he's preached importance of "that team in Ohio" he's felt the sting of a loss by the hands of the spartans, a sting that he, nor any of us, will forget. or tolerate. these are only a few of the reasons we must always stand by Coach Hoke. He is Michigan football. He is our man. I'll tell you one thing, he has my support.


Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 12:55 a.m.

Couldn't agree more, Matt.


Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 12:34 a.m.

I'm glad Denard and Devin were here for him, I'm glad the defensive players from last year had another year to mature, hopefully Hoke can get his recruits to keep it going in the future.


Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 12:09 a.m.

He hasn't landed anything yet. Signing day is Feb 2 and I can guarantee you they will not all sign.