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Posted on Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 4:21 p.m.

Michigan football quarterback Denard Robinson is 'fine' after wrist sprain vs. Illinois

By Nick Baumgardner

After leaving a game due to injury for the fourth time in Michigan's past five outings Saturday at Illinois, junior quarterback Denard Robinson returned to the practice field Sunday.

"He threw the ball very well last night," Michigan football coach Brady Hoke said Monday. "He's fine. He's just got a little sprain on his wrist, and he's in good shape."


Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson has 910 yards rushing this season.

Melanie Maxwell |

Robinson's injury occurred on Michigan's first possession of the second half in a 31-14 road win over the Illini.

After nearly throwing his second interception of the game on a third and long play, Robinson left the field favoring his right arm. The injury turned out to be a wrist sprain, and Robinson did not return to the field.

The junior quarterback has missed portions of action against Northwestern, Michigan State, Iowa and Illinois this season due to injury.

Hoke said following the game Saturday that Robinson (who went 6-for-10 for 92 yards, an interceptions and two fumbles vs. Illinois) could have returned to the game late if necessary, but sophomore quarterback Devin Gardner appeared to have things under control.

"I thought he did a good job managing the game," Hoke said of Gardner, who went 2-for-5 for 47 yards and a touchdown. "And I think (offensive coordinator Al Borges) did a nice job of calling the game. It was conservative, and the way our defense was playing, we played to our defense."

Michigan didn't need either quarterback to be stellar Saturday, as its defense held Illinois to 214 yards of total offense, and sophomore running back Fitz Toussaint ran for a career-high 192 yards on 27 carries.

Asked if the emergence of Toussaint and the continued improvement of the defense will turn Robinson into more of a game-manager moving forward, Hoke said he wasn't sure.

Robinson has been less than stellar through the air this season (he's thrown a Big Ten-worst 13 interceptions) and his production on the ground has slowed of late.

After rushing for 720 yards in Michigan's first six games, Robinson has run for 190 yards in the Wolverines' last four outings. The big plays haven't been there, but according to Hoke, his quarterback is very much a threat offensively.

"I don't know (if his role changes), but I think it's kept him healthy, healthier than he's been (at this point in the season)," Hoke said. "It's different every week how people want to defend because of Denard. He's part of the formula for Fitz (running well), even though he didn't throw one block in the game."

Hoke happy for Odoms
Michigan senior receiver Martavious Odoms made his first touchdown catch of the season Saturday at Illinois, a 27-yarder from Devin Gardner to essentially put the game on ice.

Odoms, who was saddled with a forearm fracture during fall camp, hasn't done much this season receiving-wise (just three catches for 59 yards), but Hoke said he was happy to see the 5-foot-8, 173-pounder find the end zone.

"He probably would've made more progress earlier if he hadn't gotten beaten up in fall camp," Hoke said of Odoms. "The one thing Tay has done, like most of these seniors, is come to work every day.

"He's done a nice job of leading and coming to work every day and competing."

Michigan extending Veteran's Day festivities
The Michigan athletic department is asking fans to be at Saturday's noon home game against Nebraska at 11:30 a.m. in order to attempt in the first American flag "card stunt" at Michigan Stadium.

To honor the military, Michigan will be handing out roughly 65,000 cards for fans sitting in sections one through 23. During the national anthem, fans will be asked to raise their cards to form an American flag covering the entire south end of the stadium.

In conjunction with the card stunt, four F-16 planes are scheduled for a pregame flyover.

Also, Michigan will be honoring former football player Bryan Williams (1994-96). Williams is being commissioned into the Air Force on Friday.

"It's awesome," Hoke said of the pregame festivities. "We're all thankful for those who have served this country. Coming from San Diego and having the relations we were able to have with the Marine Corps and the Navy, it's humbling (to think) about what they do for our country so we can sit here today and get asked questions.

"Some good, some not so good."

Gallon, Wile praised for kick-game efforts
Michigan freshman kicker Matt Wile was honored by the College Football Performance Awards organization as the national Kickoff Specialist of the Week on Monday.

Against Illinois, Wile recorded a career-high five touchbacks on six kickoffs.

On the opposite side of the kicking game, sophomore receiver Jeremy Gallon returned four punts for 62 yards, including a season-high 32 yard return.

"Matt Wile did a tremendous job with kickoffs, especially into the wind," Hoke said. "And Jeremy Gallon did a nice job in the punt return department. Those guys on (special teams) really did a nice job, and that was a plus when you look at the hidden yardage that's always important."

Odds and ends
Hoke said injured junior guard Ricky Barnum (ankles) practiced in full Sunday. Barnum dressed but did not play Saturday against Illinois. ... Asked his opinion on the Big Ten's decision to remove former Penn State coach Joe Paterno's name from the Big Ten Championship Game trophy, Hoke had little to say. "My reaction is we'd like to be playing for (the trophy)." ... Hoke pointed to junior running back Michael Cox and redshirt freshman running back Jihad Rasheed as possible scout team versions of Nebraska running back Rex Burkhead this week.

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



Tue, Nov 15, 2011 : 3 p.m.

I just hope Denard is actually healthy enough to play (effectively) Saturday. I get the feeling he's a lot more banged up than Hoke is admitting to. Not that I blame Brady; coach-speak is part of the game. College football doesn't have the same injury disclosure requirements as the NFL. GO BLUE!!!


Tue, Nov 15, 2011 : 12:36 a.m.

After much consideration I do not believe denard robinson is a big time college quarterback. I know I will take a lot of heat for saying this. But, after watching all this season his terrible passing. I am done. Michigan needs to move on to the future with a quarterback that can pass the ball and if that means devin gardner so be it. A running quarterback of his size that can not pass will not make it in today's game when the big games are played. Please prove me wrong for Michigan's sake. But, we have witnessed some terrible passing this year and you can not deny this.


Tue, Nov 15, 2011 : 12:01 p.m.

"we have been relying on our defense to get us out of trouble" that actually has a nice ring to it for a change ;)


Tue, Nov 15, 2011 : 11:52 a.m.

I agree with you from a passing standpoint. I think Denard creates problems for defenses when he is out there. Like Coach Hoke said, some of Fitz success has come from Denards presence on the field. He does pass the ball better at Michigan Stadium, so watch him have a good game passing. But, overall we cannot afford his turnovers because we are playing a team that can make you pay in sevens. Hopefully, Denard is going to be more of a manager and distribute the ball without mistakes. Also, when the pocket collapses he needs to be able to take the sack and go down instead of heaving the ball. Turnovers loose games, and we have been relying on our defense to get us out of trouble.


Tue, Nov 15, 2011 : 1:14 a.m.

Towny, maybe just maybe Denard isn't a drop back QB. He is much better from the shotgun. In case you forgot, Denard was BIG 10 MVP and BIG 10 offensive player of the year last year. Gardner is not close to the playmaker that Denard is and never will be. Our next great drop back passer will be neither of these two, however, if you let Denard use his strengths, we'll win 10 this year and 10 again next year. That puts him right up there with other great drop back passers at UM. Obviously, he'll not be an NFL quarterback, but he is still one of the best and most exciting playmakers in America! I actually don't believe Devin Gardner will ever be a starter at UM as when Denard graduates we'll be moving on to the drop back passer Mr. Borges wants. Everyone got geeked about Gardner this week after a 2-5 performance. That touchdown pass was to a receiver with no one around him. Your little sister could have made that pass and yes Denard would have as well. Besides, UM has put together a nice little running offense that is among the best in America. Be happy your team is 8-2, looking to be 10-2 and then get a bowl win. It's a good time to be a Wolverine fan.


Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 11:47 p.m.

Thanks to the ABC video crew, we were able to see exactly when and how Denard hurt his hand. He has seen warming up on the sideline after that incident but also appeared ineffective. Given the stout defensive performance by the Wolverines and holding the lead, keeping Denard out of the game was a good decision by Coach Hoke. Denard plays much better at the Big House. In spite of facing two of the better defenses in the Big 10 these next two games, I feel more confident that Denard will play better. He has had 10 games to learn from his mistakes this season. Perhaps an improving Devin Gardner will help elevate Denard's game if he wants to hold on to the number one QB position on the Maize and Blue team. The road games are now behind us and yes, Denard has played much worse on the road the past two seasons. He has more poise at the Big House and I am confident he will regain this poise and execute his plays better. It may not be enough to satisfy some fans, but as long as Michigan wins, I'll be very happy as I was Saturday vs IL. GO BLUE!!!


Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 11:11 p.m.

Joe's name needs to be removed from the trophy as well as the 900 or whatever number of "wins" he got. penn state, dissolve your program!!! Start over again in 5 or 10 years, or not at all.


Tue, Nov 15, 2011 : 7:58 p.m.

Pressed send too quickly there, sorry. What I wanted to say was that you're right Theo, this is an appalling situation and my heart goes out to all those children that were affected, for the rest of their lives, by this. I just don't think that Paterno's wins/losses is the issue as far as this legal matter is concerned, that's all I'm saying.


Tue, Nov 15, 2011 : 7:49 p.m.

I hear ya Theo my man,


Tue, Nov 15, 2011 : 1:39 p.m.

If those boys can have their lives back to what they were prior to being attacked, then Paterno can keep his wins prior to those attacks. We are now back to 11 teams in the Big Ten.


Tue, Nov 15, 2011 : 10:09 a.m.

Well Theo, Paterno's 407 Victories are 392 more than what the WCIMFH won at U-M, maybe that's why you wanna see his wins purged. I'm not happy with Paterno's act during this whole scandal, but I think he earned his wins


Tue, Nov 15, 2011 : 12:28 a.m.

It doesn't rhyme, but to me that's a good thing. Are you serious? Someone on ESPN wrote a column arguing for shutting down Penn State's football program as a way to -- I guess, the writer's point was vague -- purge the influence of football from the University, or something. As for scrubbing Paterno's wins ... really? Even those before the alleged incidents?