Michigan kept scissor lift low because of wind concern, latest injury report, Jeremy Gallon's emergence and more
With forecasters predicting winds of more than 50 miles per hour across southeastern Michigan last week, football coach Rich Rodriguez met with his team’s operation director and video coordinator.
“This is pretty heavy wind,” Rodriguez told the group Wednesday.
The Wolverines spent part of their practice that day inside because of the winds. When they went outside, the video coordinator went 10 to 12 feet off the ground in a hydraulic lift instead of filming the team’s practice from a higher perch.
Under similar conditions that day, a student videographer was killed in South Bend, Ind., when his lift toppled from a height of 40 to 50 feet while he filmed Notre Dame’s football practice.
At Michigan, Rodriguez said he makes the decision on whether conditions permit practice to be held outside or necessitate a move inside, and then he speaks with the video coordinator about safety.
“The video coordinator will talk about the conditions, and whether it’s safe to go up or not, and he communicates that with me,” he said.
Rodriguez was optimistic Martin would practice today or Tuesday in advance of Saturday's game against Illinois (noon, ESPN).
Sophomore quarterback Denard Robinson is expected to practice the entire week, although he hurt his hip after being tackled on the sideline against the Nittany Lions.
Right tackle Perry Dorrestein (knee) should practice by Tuesday. Rodriguez said cornerback J.T. Floyd was “fine” and suffered a stinger Saturday, although he limped heavily after the game.
Running back Michael Shaw’s knee injury limited his role against Penn State. He carried one time for 4 yards. Rodriguez wasn’t sure when Michael Cox or Fitzgerald Toussaint would practice.
Kick returns improve
One of the bright spots for Michigan during Saturday’s game was how Jeremy Gallon fared in an elevated role at kick returner.
Replacing Darryl Stonum, Gallon returned five kickoffs for 124 yards, including a 47-yarder that helped stage the Wolverines' late third-quarter run.
Michigan’s offense took over near midfield. Four minutes later, Denard Robinson’s 1-yard TD run cut the deficit to 38-24.
“I think he provided a spark,” Rodriguez said of Gallon. “We need to do a better job blocking for him.”
Busy week at headquarters
Officials flagged an unknown Michigan player for a personal foul at the start of what became the decisive fourth-quarter Penn State drive.
Rodriguez appeared livid with the call. He said Monday he reacted strongly because he wanted the uniform number of the player responsible, but couldn’t get it from the officials.
“I don’t want to get into trouble,” Rodriguez said. “There’s some calls we’re going to send in, and that’s one of them.
For some reason, we had a hard time getting a number on that one.”
Officials whistled Michigan for five penalties and 55 yards in the game; Penn State had one penalty for 15 yards.
Perhaps the biggest of the day was one never called. In the second quarter, it appeared Penn State chop-blocked Michigan defensive end Jibreel Black, which also drew a strong reaction from Rodriguez on the sideline.
Military Appreciation Day on Saturday
On Saturday, more than 80 wounded military members and family members of soldiers killed in action will line the Michigan Stadium tunnel as the Wolverines (5-3, 1-3 Big Ten) take the field against Illinois (5-3, 3-2).
As part of the Military Appreciation Day, Team Red White Blue, an Ann Arbor-based organization that supports veterans, the university will collect donations for overseas soldiers and Afghan families outside Gates 2 and 8 on Saturday.
Requested items for soldiers include: black socks, deodorant, baby wipes, hand sanitizer, gum, protein bars, Ramen noodles, canned meat, trail mix, DVDs and video games.
Requested items for families include: new or used winter clothing, coats, hats, gloves, Michigan clothing, blankets, pens, pencils, crayons, notebooks, children’s books, generic bifocal lenses and small toys and stuffed animals.
Pete Bigelow covers Michigan football for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at (734) 623-2556, via e-mail at email@example.com and followed on Twitter @PeterCBigelow.