Michigan football quarterback Denard Robinson is 'fine' after wrist sprain vs. Illinois
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."
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
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.