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Posted on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 : 2:48 p.m.

Michigan football safety Jordan Kovacs day to day with knee injury

By Nick Baumgardner

For the first time in 28 games Saturday, the Michigan football team played without junior safety Jordan Kovacs in the starting lineup.

How much longer will the Wolverines be without their most consistent defensive back?

"He's day to day," Michigan coach Brady Hoke said Monday. "He ran around and did some stuff (Sunday) night (at practice).

"We'll see."


Safety Jordan Kovacs had started 28 consecutive games before sitting out Saturday in the Wolverines' victory against Purdue.

Melanie Maxwell |

Kovacs missed Michigan's 36-14 win over Purdue on Saturday due to a knee injury. It's unclear when exactly he suffered the injury or how severely.

In his place, Michigan moved senior cornerback Troy Woolfolk to strong safety, allowing freshman Blake Countess to slide into the starting lineup in place of Woolfolk.

One of Michigan's most consistent and versatile defenders, Kovacs has 42 tackles, a team-high three sacks, one interception, one forced fumble and one recovered fumble this season.

Hoke said Michigan didn't change its overall game plan with Kovacs out of the lineup, but admitted the team needs him moving forward, starting with the Wolverines’ game Saturday at Iowa (Noon, ESPN).

"We didn't do anything different without him (Saturday)," Hoke said. "There's some leadership that he brings, there's some football (IQ) that he brings that I don't know if you ever make up for."

After allowing a 48-yard touchdown pass on the game's opening drive, the Michigan defense seemed to find a way to makeup for Kovacs' absence.

Woolfolk finished with four tackles, while Countess didn't seem to blink an eye during his first career start, notching three stops, one for a loss.

"With Troy moving to safety from corner, it puts him over the football more and allows him to be a little more aggressive," Michigan senior defensive lineman Ryan Van Bergen said. "We ask our corners to keep the ball inside and play leverage against receivers, that really wasn't Troy's thing.

"He likes to be aggressive and kind of force what he wants to, and at safety he's allowed to do that a little bit more."

As it's been all season, Hoke stayed relatively quiet on Kovacs' injury.

Van Bergen, on the other hand, was a little more open.

"You could tell he was hungry to be out there, but it wasn't in his best interest to play," Van Bergen said of Kovacs. "He probably could've played, but it wasn't in his best interest.

"Jordan's a competitor. I know he'll be back this week; he was running around yesterday looking pretty good."

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



Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 1:05 a.m.

As long as Woolfolk is playing well Kovaks should stay out. We need him 100% for the Nebraska and more importantly the "Ohio" game. Michigan even gains something with the freshman at corner.


Mon, Oct 31, 2011 : 9:10 p.m.

If Kavacs is day to day, then it will take until the tougher practice days to really know if he can play against Iowa. My concern is that most of our key players came out the MSU game healthy, so I wonder how or when this knee injury came on. The article states the same thing, "unclear" when this injury and how severe occurred. ( Good luck in digging into that one.) We'll have to stop the IA running game or else this game will be a shoot out. The Wolverine defense has been solid, but they'll need Kovacs.

Lorain Steelmen

Mon, Oct 31, 2011 : 8:03 p.m.

Jordon, is like a 'heat seeking missle'. So if UM expects to stop the Iowa running game, aka, Marcus Coker, from ripping off another 252 yards, we'd better hope Jordon plays. Troy, was supposedly moving to safety before Jordon's injury, so the move was a separte decision for the coaches. Countess seems to have gained the starting job at one corner, so that leaves Flloyd on the other side. At LB, Ryan continues to improve, and we are seeing Hawthorn back out there. I think he brings mor espeed and aggressiveness. I don't know about the rest of the posters on here, but this game, to me, is shaping up as a measure of, if UM can play with the 'big boys'. The Hawks are always 'a load' at home, and they are well coached. The loss to the Gophers will NOT leave them in a good mood. Thanks goodness, this is NOT a night game. Go blue, take another step to title #43.


Mon, Oct 31, 2011 : 11:05 p.m.

Agree ... a test of sorts. Frankly, every game from here out is going to receive some focus: o Iowa -- can they play with the 'big boys' as you say o Illinois -- assuming they beat Iowa, can they stay focused for second road game o Nebraska -- is getting better as the season goes on. Can Michigan at least not lose ugly? o Ohio State -- also getting better as season goes on. Beating them would be a big fat juicy cherry on this season