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Posted on Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 8:08 p.m.

Denard Robinson fine after "funny bone" injury against Iowa, Hoke says he grew as a QB

By Nick Baumgardner


Denard Robinson, above, was 17-for-37 passing for 194 yards, two touchdowns and an interception against Iowa.

Melanie Maxwell |

There were varying reports as to what exactly happened to Michigan junior quarterback Denard Robinson on Saturday at Iowa.

After Robinson temporarily left during the third quarter of Michigan's 24-16 loss to the Hawkeyes, the Michigan Radio Network reported team trainers were looking at his arm and collarbone.

Following the game, Michigan football coach Brady Hoke hinted at a possible hand injury, while Robinson said it was his elbow that took a shot.

So what exactly happened?

"He hit his (elbow) on a helmet and his fingers went numb," Hoke said. "It was his humerus bone. His funny bone."

Robinson was replaced by sophomore quarterback Devin Gardner on the ensuing series, a possession that promptly resulted in a punt.

Robinson then re-entered the game on the Wolverines' first possession of the fourth quarter, leading an eight-play touchdown drive, polished off by a scoring pass to Kevin Koger.

He then finished the game going 5-for-14 on team's final drive that finished three-yards shy of the endzone.

On the day, Robinson went 17-for-37 with 194 yards, two touchdowns, an interception and a fumble.

His elbow's fine, but was his performance?

Hoke says, yes, it was.

"I thought Denard played a really good football game," he said. "He tried to make a play and lost the ball. At the end of the first half he throws a slant in there (that was intercepted), whether there was contact there or not (I don't know). You look how he set his feet and how he threw the football, how he managed the offense.

"I thought he grew as a quarterback. In those environments, that's when you do grow."

Hoke hopeful for Ricky Barnum return

Hoke said injured junior guard Ricky Barnum will "do more this week" in practice after missing yet another game Saturday due to multiple ankle injuries.


Ricky Barnum

The staff is hopeful Barnum, who has now missed four games due to injury this season, will return to action Saturday at Illinois.

Barnum's absence further lessens the already thin depth along Michigan's offensive line, as sophomore Michael Schofield has been forced to start in his place, rather than rotate as a backup at both tackle and guard.

Sophomore left tackle Taylor Lewan played the entire game at Iowa through both a leg and ankle injury.

Had Lewan been hurt Saturday, Hoke said he wasn't sure what would've happened.

"It'd have been interesting," Hoke said.

Hoke takes blame for wasted timeout

Trailing by eight with 5:22 to go in the fourth quarter, Michigan opted to take a timeout, with the clock stopped, prior to an Iowa punt.

Hoke said he was the one who asked for the timeout, Michigan's first of the second half.

On Monday, he explained why.

"I thought we had 12 guys on the field," he said. "We didn't. I didn't count very well. As soon as I called it and I counted, I said 'I hope we don't need that one late.'"

Michigan could've used the timeout late.

Hoke acknowledged that had Michigan kept it, the team might have been able to run the ball from inside the 5-yard line in the waning seconds, rather than attempt four straight passes on its potential game-tying drive.

"That was (my fault)," Hoke said. "I didn't execute on that one very well."


Brady Hoke praised the play Brennen Beyer (97) and his fellow freshmen linebackers.

Ryan suffers a stinger,
Hoke praises freshmen LBs

Michigan redshirt freshman outside linebacker Jake Ryan was limited during most of the first half Saturday, forcing Michigan to use freshman Brennen Beyer in his place.

Hoke said Ryan suffered a stinger on the game's first play, and took some time to recover before eventually returning.

With Ryan on the sidelines, Byer and classmate Desmond Morgan saw plenty of time together on the field.

How'd they do?

"I thought both of them handled themselves very well," Hoke said. "I was really happy with Desmond's flow to the ball and how he plays the game. Brennen played a lot when Jake went out, he got his feet wet in there.

"I think both of those guys have a very bright future."

Hoke won't comment on Penn State scandal

Asked for his thoughts Monday on the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal at Penn State, Hoke declined comment.

"I wouldn't even know how to answer that question," he said. "We've got Illinois to worry about."

Odds and ends

Hoke said the extended play of fifth-year senior receiver Kelvin Grady late in the Iowa game wasn't situational, but rather because Michigan's receivers needed a break during the extended two-minute drill. Grady made two catches for 22 yards, and drew praise from Hoke for his efforts. "It was good to see him have some production," Hoke said. ... When Michigan won the toss Saturday, it elected to take the ball to begin the game rather than defer to the second half. Hoke said "99.9" percent of the time, the Wolverines will defer. However, Saturday was a special case. "We had made a decision on Thursday when there was going to be a significant wind called for," he said. "Wanting to have the wind in the fourth quarter was something that we really wanted to do. We got lucky, we won the toss. ... We thought that thing out pretty hard."

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



Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 3:10 p.m.

Last year, defense's weren't set up for Denard. But now that defense's are keyed for Denard his output is a little lower. The choices of plays by Hoke come into question also. Last year the team had one dimension, if you took away Denards plays, the team wasn't that good. Denard was the total output for the team. Teams will finally figure out how to stop him better. I think Denard is in the same caliber as Barry Sanders, as he has shown. He would drive other teams nuts. Unfortunately, we don't have last years offense, but we have a young man who can electrify a nation. Denard will never be a pro quarterback, he will be turned into a running back or receiver if he gets drafted. As a running back/receiver, he could focus solely on moving the ball forward with his running abilities. His short comings at quarterback would not stop the momentum of a drive. This is just my opinion, but I feel his talents lie in running the ball, as we have all seen. Last year at quarterback, his numbers were fantastic, but that was the whole output of the team. A team wins as a team, not by one mans output. But this year is a different story, he is still exciting player to watch. But I just feel that he is being under utilized. You don't hear Denards name being talked about for the Heisman any more. And the current break down in offense can't be blamed fully on Hoke's shoulders. This is all just the opinions of a Monday morning armchair quarterback. GO BLUE !!!!! Let Denard run and catch the ball, then watch U of M perform as their history demands.


Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 12:57 p.m.

We averaged 500 yards on offense last year. If we had last years offense with this years defense we could definitely win the Big Ten this year...


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 11:09 p.m.

Some people say Denard is no good at QB. Funny, didn't he set a national record for quarterbacks last year? It's not Denard, it's the system that Borges is forcing him to play. We are trying to run the pro-set and the spread and we are not good at either one of them! They are not utilizing his talents. DR is an instinctive runner first. Keeping him in the pocket and forcing him to go through three progressions is coaching that ahtleticism out of him. Note to Al, "Let Denard loose!" The longer he stays in the pocket, the more the DB's read his eyes and move to recievers and then DR is throwing into double coverage. Last year our line was spread out and gave DR lanes to pick through. This year we are bunched and so are the defenses and the designed running plays are going no where. The part of bringing in Devin is interesting, however dosen't work most of the time. One- it disrupts any flow you are trying to establish Two- it takes the ball out of the hands of the most electrifying player on the field Three- if you put Devon in with Denard, do it for a whole series and use those plays one after another, not just once in a while. That is my very humble opinion. I'm just an armchair Qb


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 10:19 p.m.

It's up to Al Borges and Brady Hoke to come with an ID for this offense. There's got to be a happy median here on when Denard should use his feet , scramble and gain a few positive yards if his recievers are not open. He's got enough game experience to be a better judge. The using of Devin should be minimal, only if we're up a few scores. I agree with the criticsm on this breaking the offensive flow. Michigan can win this game at IL on Saturday. It is more about the offense than the defense at this point in time.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 7:17 p.m.

ONLY AT MICHIGAN!!! Move DR to any other decent team in the BT and they'll probably be in first place and win the BTC, you nay sayers would see just how good this kid is. Add him to Wincy with those backs, OLine and WRs, and it's lights out, because any other team would use him to win. Take ALuck and try to make him a duel threat QB and keep force feeding designed runs all game and see what happens. That's the real problem with M, they keep forcing the low percentage pass. DR's INT in the red zone; slant from the weak side into congestion, the WR brought the CB to the OSLB with a S on top, DR put the ball where he should, but it bounced off the WR in congestion, result: INT. Why not fade him to the back corner away from traffic and put the ball only where the WR can get it or throw it away if not open. All the long routes down field without any separation, the WR are not coming back to the ball when needed. The whole passing game is not in sync, you do not need to necessarily go back to the spread, but you do need to script your scheme to your personnel, that's typical football. AND QUIT BLAMING DR...he's one of the reasons this staff is off to a decent start!

Lorain Steelmen

Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 1:36 a.m.

Well said Tally, well said! The kid's a great talent and an even better person. He WILL get the hang of all this, but its' up to Borges to get HIS act together and use DR appropriately . This team should be, and could be, unbeaten right now....and that is what is driving me nuts!


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 2:28 p.m.

Our offense sucks really bad. Can we call RichRod in to run the offense. i wish they would have brought Jeff Casteel with him from West Virginia, we would definitley be defending National Champions. Texas payed Will Muschamp $900000 a year . Michigan offered Casteel $265,000 and no contract. The richest University in the world can't pay more than that...


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 10:14 p.m.

Will you PLEASE let the Rich Rod era go? Yes, you should compare this team to last year's since most of them played last year for Rich Rod. I make these comprisons often and are warrented. Michigan has only lost two games this year. They are capable of winning at IL on Saturday. It sounds like you expect 58-0 blow outs every week as was the case against MN. Read John U Bacon's book, yep Rich Rod is not ALL to blame but he's gone. Al Borges needs to come up with some ID for this offense. If your a Michigan fan, then you WANT Rich Rod's players to do as well as they can on the field and win more games-THIS YEAR. Too bad but you will keep commenting on how Rich Rod needs to be back, unless Michigan goes 12 and 0 like we did in 1997.

Lorain Steelmen

Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 3:18 p.m.

57-44-6. I agree with you to a point. I think when RR came in here, he thought he would have Casteel with him. When 'UM went cheap', RR was left without his right hand man. Interestingly enough, we have the 'inverse' right now. If Hoke doesn't get the 'offense straightened out', he may be a 'short timer' as well. Time will tell. but recall that RR only got 3 out of his 6 years. Brady has '6 years' as well. So there are just 2 years left, for him to figure this out. We all know that the next four games will be tougher than the last four games....and, 2012 features road games with Alabama, Nebraska, THEosu, and ND. This team is a year older than last year, and will be two years older than 2010, next year. This is Michigan, and the expectations are high.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 1:21 p.m.

.Hoke is "over thinking " the games.. passing on 4th and short,.. t.o. before a punt,.. not deferring the kickoff,.. no rollouts from the 3 with 4 downs to score.. in both losses he lost the "chess game".. play to The Wolverine strengths and let the chips fall..,grab the headset and run the show Brady!!.. I still have two questions about the iowa game, I would appreciate any attempts to answer.. 1.can a player use the football against the field to keep his balance and it still be a "live" play?? if not, D-Nards fumble was not a fumble.. 2. doesn't the clock stop automatically after a penalty on the defense? if so, why was it restarted on M's last drive with 24 secs left? thanks, Go Blue! v


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 5:01 a.m.

We as Fans and/or Alums, are part of the team, and the synergism that will result.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 4:55 a.m.

Don't fix what's not broke! There should be little doubt that notwithstanding comments to the contrary, R.R. brought an excitement to Michigan offensive football not seen in many a decade and in spite of losing, Michigan games were "Exciting" to watch! The defense however left much to be desired, and if on equal measure with the present defense developed by the new coaching staff, Michigan would have won many more games over the last three years, just by reducing opponent scoring opportunities and increasing Michigan offensive possessions. While many of the posts incessantly argue differences, it appears that there are elements of credibility, in most if not all, notwithstanding being laced with emotional biases. It is readily apparent, however that the coaching staff, in transitioning to its desired offensive style, "not fix what was not broke" , and use the" tried and tested offense of last year" to get ahead in games, thence using the lead "to practice in game performance" and "transition to the desired new offensive formations" as opposed to vice versa, and using "what has been proven with the same personne"l, to try to manufacture come-from-behind victories, falling short twice. This is offered as a constructive commentary and not meant to be critical or demeaning to either coaching staff or team personnel, however, it should be clear, beyond peradventure, that "WINNING" has a great impetus on carrying positive morale and momentum forward into the future and Prominence, to where we all want Michigan to be. Can you even imagine, a Michigan team with the caliber of "an explosive scoring offense" of last year, (no matter what the ultimate style) and the defense that is developing this year, progressing into the future? Any Michigan coach, staff, and mostly the players deserve our best, and our comments to be" supportive and constructive" at the very least. We as Fans and/or Alums, ar


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 10:25 p.m.

Please look back at the final score last against WI, OSU, Ms State and even the Penn State game. The trend line went WAY-DOWN. I'd have never thought that would happen. Fix what you can to make it better and win football games. This is an excellent offense on paper so they need to execute-consistently. Next chance is against IL on the road.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 9:32 p.m.

Last year's offense WAS broken. It didn't work against good defenses that took away the run and forced difficult throws. Denard is still learning how to manage the passing game. It's essentially the same situation, except now we are trying to be more diverse in our running attack to protect him from injuries and keep defenses more honest. We just haven't found the right balance yet. I agree we should still run some spread and got away from it too much against Iowa, probably because we had success against Purdue without using it as much. They'll get it right. It was just one game.

Ed Kimball

Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 4:31 p.m.

Yeah, "exciting" like a train wreck!


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 3:31 a.m.

I think Denard is one of the most exciting players in college football. But there can be no way that he can be considered a good quarterback. He is a great runner who would do well as a running back, tight end or a receiver. When he comes out of the backfield you never know what to expect from him. But his quarterbacking skills have cost us games. I'm hoping that Hoke realizes this and that's why he has been bringing in Gardner the last couple of games. I think he might be trying to see if he could run the team if Denard was moved to a different position. As teams get used to Denard they seem to be able to defend him a little bit better. His passing is improving, but still far from where a college level quarterback should be. People didn't seem to like or respect Tate Focier very much, but he moved the team pretty well when he was trying to come from behind. He didn't have an offensive line to help out much, but he still did a pretty good job of moving the team. I wanted to see Focier at quarterback passing to Denard or handing it off to him. I think that would of been a winning combination. But, oh well, we will never know now.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 11:05 a.m.

Ok, how about going back to 2007, does anyone want those quarterbacks? We are blessed to have Denard, and although he does get balls batted down here and there he is our quarterback. Denard has something in store for Illinois..wait and see.

Terry Star21

Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 2:15 a.m.

Well okay, here we go again.....yes, I too am concerned about the play calling - especially in the fourth quarter of both those last two losses ( yes, I dream about what could have been like everyone else). However, without making excuses the thing that is going to be done is learning. Our new coaching staff although very experienced are working a new system (from past three years) with relatively new players (to them). Yes, we have made great improvement and are surely making great progress for our future. Michigan fans are impatient and maybe they should be after the last three years - but now is the time to have faith, hope and a great time with the Greatest College Football Team of all time. Don't worry - we'll get it right folks !, hope and a great football team


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 4:08 a.m.

We can debate some play calling, etc, but what is tough to debate is that this team is getting better. This team is tougher, more diverse, and FAR better on defense. Plus, these coaches acknowledge their mistakes and learn from them. Michigan football is in good hands and the future looks bright. Go Blue!


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 1:49 a.m.

Two Close games Hoke has not made the right Calls.When u have DR on the Goal Line Roll him out.Pass or Run.Very Simple,at least once.No excuse on that at all.