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 Fri, Dec 9, 2011 : 2:42 p.m.

Michigan football coach Brady Hoke reveals QB Denard Robinson had staph infection, almost missed game

By Kyle Meinke


Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson played in against Minnesota with a wrap on his right forearm.

Melanie Maxwell |

While Denard Robinson was being criticized publicly for inconsistent play this season — some called for him to be benched — the Michigan football team's junior quarterback quietly was dealing with a host of injuries.

Most serious of all was a staph infection that coach Brady Hoke revealed Friday.

Hoke, meeting with the local media for the first time since his team was tabbed for the Sugar Bowl, said Robinson nearly missed a game.

“It was bad enough,” Hoke said.

Hoke said he couldn't remember which game was jeopardized, but intimated the infection was in Robinson's forearm. Robinson wore a large wrap over his forearm against Minnesota on Oct. 1.

They both said at the time the injury was "a boo-boo."

Robinson was asked throughout the season about his health, but he never let on about the severity of the staph infection, one of several injuries that beset him throughout the year.

He left four of Michigan's final six games because of injury.

"He had a lot of different problems he went through during the course of the season,” Hoke said. "His elbow, his hand, he had an abdominal problem. He’s a tough guy. He played with it."

Robinson finished 133-for-237 passing (56.1 percent) for 2,056 yards, 18 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He also rushed 208 times for 1,163 yards and 16 scores.

He finished first in the Big Ten in total offense and third in touchdowns, despite playing in offensive coordinator Al Borges' new "spread-West Coast" hybrid offense — and the injuries.

Hoke said for those efforts, Robinson deserves to be a Heisman finalist, although acknowledged he doesn't know much about stats.

"I can’t sit here and rattle of statistics, but in the Big Ten Conference, he took a team to 10-2," he said.

No. 13 Michigan will conclude its season against No. 11 Virginia Tech (11-2) in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 3. (8:30 p.m., ESPN)

Other notes from Hoke's news conference:

Ohio State gets advantage
Rival Ohio State received permission from the NCAA to have two coaching staffs for the bowl game. One will prepare for the game, and the other will recruit, which provides the Buckeyes with a competitive advantage on both fronts.

“It's different,” Hoke. “Is that advantage? Yeah, I think so.”

Hoke: NCAA proposal 'ridiculous'
Hoke was asked for his opinion on an NCAA proposal that would reduce the scholarship limit from 85 to 80. His response: That's “ridiculous.”

"When you go through a season, when you look at some of the injuries and you look at your two-deeps and once you look at your skill groups, I don’t think it’s a wise suggestion," he said.

Competition persists at key spots
Hoke listed several positions at which competition remains open for the bowl game, including linebacker, defensive line and running back.

Michigan's first bowl practice is this afternoon, with a focus on fundamentals and developing younger players. Hoke said he hopes to vary the routine throughout the bowl prep workouts to avoid monotony.

Personnel note
Hoke said he believes his staff will be intact for 2012, adding that if offensive coordinator Al Borges, defensive coordinator Greg Mattison or any other assistant wanted to leave, they would "approach me about it."

Borges' name has circulated for various vacancies this off-season, and Hoke said recently he would permit Borges to pursue one, if he was interested.

Top 25 ballot
Hoke didn't have much to say about San Diego State coach Rocky Long — who was Hoke's defensive coordinator with the Aztecs the past two years — voting Michigan 18th in the final USA Today coaches poll.

That was the Wolverines' worst ranking among the coaches.

Hoke did say, though, he's not the only one who fills out his weekly ballot, which is common practice for coaches.

"That’s a very personal question," Hoke quipped, when asked if he has assistance in the process. "I have a little help, and then I discuss it with the person who helps."

Does he have the final say?

"I would think so."

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


David Paris

Sat, Dec 10, 2011 : 11:43 a.m.

"I can't sit here and rattle of (sic) statistics, but in the Big Ten Conference, he took a team to 10-2," he (Hoke) said. But, but, but... Rich-Rod said that the team was primed to go 10 & 2, anyways, what's the big deal!

Susie Q

Sat, Dec 10, 2011 : 2:10 a.m.

Denard is not "lucky he still has the job", he has earned the job and continues to improve almost every week. He has had an enormous challenge to adapt to a very different offensive scheme and has proven he can adapt. Kudos to Hoke, Mattison and Borges for their success in getting the vets to buy into their system, and kudos to the former staff for recruiting and preparing these young men for their 2nd or third scheme during their college years. GO BLUE, BEAT THE HOKIES ( whatever that is).

Buster W.

Sat, Dec 10, 2011 : 12:18 a.m.

"Hoke said he couldn't remember which game was jeopardized..." Really?

Buster W.

Sat, Dec 10, 2011 : 3:34 a.m.

But why? What's the big secret?

Billy Bob Schwartz

Sat, Dec 10, 2011 : 1:50 a.m.

Betcha Brady remembers every minute of every game. And that's just from being on the sidelines. Watching the films? Memorized them. Pretty sure he's joshing us here.

1st Down

Sat, Dec 10, 2011 : 12:11 a.m.

Denard will cut down the INTs next year and be at least a Heisman finalist.


Fri, Dec 9, 2011 : 10:10 p.m.

eww don't they clean their uniforms and equipment?


Fri, Dec 9, 2011 : 9:36 p.m.

Denard is lucky he still has the job after the middle of the season and doing as bad as he did throwing! The turnovers were horrible! I am glad to see him playing much better and throwing the ball with accuracy and touch. This makes him almost impossible to stop. In terms of ohio. What a joke, but does it suprise you with the NCAA. Setting a double standard with universities that are cash cows vs. universities that are irrelevant financially. Why is ohio the only team in the nation allowed two coaching staffs to do both things? If I am not mistaken RR was not allowed to recruit players while Lloyd was still the head coach. What a pile of junk!!! Go Blue!!!


Sat, Dec 10, 2011 : 2:59 a.m.

chiro19, Denard isn't "lucky". He was never, ever in danger of losing his starting job. Not for one instant. Why? Because coach Hoke is 100x smarter than you or anyone else on this website when it comes to what this team is and isn't capable of.


Sat, Dec 10, 2011 : 12:09 a.m.

You are mistaken. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Fri, Dec 9, 2011 : 8:26 p.m.

i always read quotes from the coach on loud in my best brady hoke voice.


Fri, Dec 9, 2011 : 8:14 p.m.

Unless you are a U of M football alum, it is very hard to imagine what these starters go through during the course of the season. Denard overcame a lot this season to be as successful as he was. He seemed to be most healthy the last two games. His work hard ethic is what a real Michigan Man is all about.

Mumbambu, Esq.

Fri, Dec 9, 2011 : 8:10 p.m.

Why don't these Hoke quotes start with the word &quot;Well&quot; ? :)


Sat, Dec 10, 2011 : 12:10 a.m.

haha, exactly. Thats how my Brady Hoke impressions start. With a hoarse voice and a drawn out &quot;WEEEeeeeelllllLLLL...&quot;