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Posted on Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 5:40 p.m.

Craig Roh returns to defensive end, Big Ten honors Roy Roundtree, Ryan Van Bergen not impressed by Ndamukong Suh and more

By Pete Bigelow

Flustered by their season-long inability to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks, the Michigan football team made two changes on defense heading into last Saturday’s game against Illinois.

Based on the results, they’ll become permanent.

Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez liked the way the defense played with Craig Roh moved to defensive end and J.B. Fitzgerald in the lineup at outside linebacker.

“Craig is athletic enough that we can move him around a little bit, but especially at open-side end, that’s a good move,” Rodriguez said. “He’s more comfortable there, and it’s a more natural fit.”

Roh played the position last year as a true freshman at 235 pounds, played outside linebacker this season at 250 pounds and Rodriguez said he could bulk up to 265 by the time he starts next season.

Roh’s teammates felt like his return to the line Saturday immediately bolstered a pass rush that ranks ninth in the Big Ten with 12 sacks this season.

“I just felt like there was a lot more pressure coming off the edges,” said Ryan Van Bergen, who slid to tackle to accommodate Roh’s return. “The quarterback was very uncomfortable and had happy feet. I think Craig definitely felt more comfortable and produced better.”

BIG TEN HONOR ROLL Michigan receiver Roy Roundtree shared Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors with Illinois’ Mikel Leshoure, the conference announced Monday.

The two were the offensive standouts in Saturday’s epic triple-overtime 67-65 shootout.

Roundtree caught nine passes for 246 yards and two touchdowns. Michigan’s previous single-game high for receiving yards belonged to Jack Clancy, who had 197 versus Oregon State on Sept. 17, 1966.

Roundtree had 209 by halftime.

Leshoure had 172 all-purpose yards and five touchdowns on the day for the Illini.

LIGHTENING THE MOOD With Michigan’s NCAA investigation that involved practice-time violations behind him and postseason eligibility secured, Rodriguez let down his guard a little Monday.

Asked if the Wolverines would spend extra time watching film this week because of the length of the triple-overtime game, he said, “We’re not breaking any rules."

“When it gets close to that four-hour limit, we’ve got sirens going off and people screaming and countdown clocks and all that stuff. Normally, we don’t even cut it close. But at 3 hours, 58 minutes, the coaches are all running into the building.”

The remarks got a good chuckle. The next question asked was “how good does it feel to joke about that now?” “I’m not joking,” Rodriguez replied, again drawing laughs.

JUST FOR KICKS? Michigan defensive end Ryan Van Bergen could only shake his head in disbelief while watching Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh miss an extra-point attempt Sunday.

“I knew I would have made that,” Van Bergen said. “There’s no way I missed an extra point."

Van Bergen, who kicked at Whitehall High School, said Monday that his career long is a 46-yarder. Given the Wolverines’ woes this season on field-goal attempts -- they’re 4 for 11 this season -- could the 6-foot-6, 283-pound defensive lineman lend any help?

“It’s been four years, so I don’t have the technique down. In high school, I practiced it every day and got decent," he said. "If called upon, I would make an extra point for this team, for sure.”

INJURY REPORT Injured on a kick return during Saturday’s game, U-M’s Teric Jones will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL.

He had played in seven games this season, primarily on special teams. In training camp, he moved from safety to running back, where he has three carries for seven yards this season.

QUOTABLE “My first thought was ‘You got to be kidding me. Again?’” - Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez, upon watching Illinois complete two passes to wide-open receivers running a wheel route.

Rodriguez said two different players had been responsible, that the Wolverines had run different defenses and it was only coincidence they both resulted in blown coverages.

Nontheless, Rodriguez said he “would expect we’ll see a play similar to that in every game going forward.”

Pete Bigelow covers the Michigan football team for He can be reached at (734) 623-2551, via email at and followed on Twitter @PeterCBigelow.



Thu, Nov 11, 2010 : 10:02 a.m.

I don't think you ever "win" fans. Fans are usually a product of some form of loyalty to the team. (Former students/grads, parental association, locality, etc). Offense only helps make fans feel better about their team when they outscore an opponent. They don't turn in to people who hate their team when they lose. This loyalty to the team also grants "fans" the right to disagree with what makes up the team. The team would still exist if there were no fans, but if there were no fans, administrative decisions would change policy concerning the team. Fans who are disappointed with the makeup of the team are the true fans because they are concerned about something that matters to them. The blind faithful who mostly accept whatever is presented to them as their team seem to have no investment in that plastic loyalty they profess. Consider our recent elections as an example. I claim loyalty to the US, but have no problem in making this a better country by electing different officials. I do not blindly accept who is currently in office. I have the right to disagree with whoever is currently in office. If I were indifferent to who is leading us, I show no interest in participating in my "country". Doesn't mean I don't love my country.


Thu, Nov 11, 2010 : 9:45 a.m.

Couple of points: By being eligible to go to a bowl game, UM and RR also gain the right to perhaps lose one more game this year and become more of an embarrassment. Anyone here weighed that option and how they might feel then? You have to try, granted, and make the effort, but is UM really ready to participate in a bowl game of any worth? A lot of you preach keeping an underachieving head coach at the cost of millions of dollars a year to allow him time to create a UM dynasty. Now that UM has lost some of its shine as a football power, perhaps it might be time to consider a coach that has great potential from a lower division for a lot less money. I'm sure one could be found and you might be surprised by the results. The proverbial next year of success is only a promise by a man that has promised the world so far and only lucked into a star QB with talent. Although it appears your O-line is getting better, how much of that is due to DR getting better at finding marginal holes. A defense in the future is also only a pipe dream today. A lot of improvement is required to trim down the opposing scores of the better teams you play to match your offense's output. As some of you suggest, another year of maturing will definitely help your defense, but I seem to have heard a lot about other teams gaining that extra year as well. Graduations may help balance that out. The pivot point appears to be coaching on this aspect, and it's really not something RR has been known to excel in (defensively). He also has suggested he will not fire his D coordinator, although this might just be until the end of the year. How many D coordinators have you had, though, recently? Might be a problem there for RR and his ability to pick a good defensive head man.


Wed, Nov 10, 2010 : 5:18 p.m.

With "Michigan Fans" like you guys, who needs MSU/OSU cranks. Michigan isn't, and never has been, a "three and out" coaching mill--this institution plans for and adopts long term strategies, and has the patience to see them through. True, you win fans with offense and championships with defense. The O is here (and it is some O!), the D will come. Pace.

3 And Out

Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 7:31 p.m. sure is "nice" that it took Rich Rodriguez and his genius staff 8 games and a bye week to "realize" (after Roh reportedly begged to be moved back to DE)...that Craig Roh is ineffective as a LB and DE is his true, natural and best position. Way to go Coach! Great talent evaluator that you are!

3 And Out

Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 7:30 p.m.

RR made some comment yesterday about how "if you are a true Michigan fan, you shouldnt criticize the program because it affects recruiting blah blah blah etc, yada yada yada" Just when you want to start to like the guy, Rich Rod then comes off (again) as a whiney, excuse making, narcissist. OK Coach...we get it: You had the "perfect storm of injuries and situations" that hurt the defense this year (your words) and now...true Michigan alums and fans are not supposed to criticize your vaunted 5-15 in the Big Ten program Coach? My advice to Coach Rich Rod: Shut up. We dont want to hear you making excuses, crying and laying the groundwork for the scapegoats for YOUR failures and future failures. You are at Michigan Coach...and you have Top 10 facilities, tradition, educational and support resources behind you. Worrying about fans talking on the internet and how it "hurts recruiting" is ridiculous. Take care of your own Business Coach other Michigan coach made excuses to the level that you do.... especially not pertaining to fan support and its relation (if any) to Recruiting. Peace and Go Blue.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 6:56 p.m.

Oh good grief. Whether RR stays or not will remain to be seen, maybe the D will improve but don't hold your breath. Let's just hope things get better in A^2 next year, maybe under new leadership.. but better none the less.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 2:02 p.m.

Only a State fan would find themselves spending their time posting on another teams stories.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 12:44 p.m.

You really believe Michigan only exceeded the practice limits one time but yet were found guilty of Major violations? Then you have the audacity to ask someone else if they feel stupid? Only a Michigan fan.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 11:43 a.m.

Howard the Duck, the Michigan coaches ezceeded the practice limits by 20 minutes once. TWENTY MINUTES! Contrast those 20 minutes with an aentire MONTH of extra practice time teams are awarded for making a bowl game. How stupid do you feel right now?

Lorain Steelmen

Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 11:40 a.m.

I've heard that the Freep will closely monitor the extra 15 practice days, to make sure that our young men are not being abused, or permanently scared, in any way! That is, immediately after, they bailout the MSU players who were jailed on DWI charges over the weekend.

Howard the Duck

Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 9:25 a.m.

Extra practice time? They've been doing that already!

birch creek john

Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 7:42 a.m.

Don't forget a most important point--by becoming bowl eligible The UM football team has extra practice time; not an unimportant consideration given the youth of the team.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 3:18 a.m.

Hai guys! I'm very excited to have Michigan playing in a bowl game for the 2010 season. All year I told myself I would not get amped about the season until Michigan got to six wins. Go Blue! This is all so very exciting and being able to listen to WTKA on my android phone (tune in radio) every night before bed sure is cool way out here in Seattle. Go Blue!

Macabre Sunset

Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 2:10 a.m.

There were some extraordinary offenses under the last three coaches, though Rodriguez does have an outside chance to post the highest single-season point total since Yost's "point-a-minute" offense. What he does have to himself, however, is the only three 300-point defenses in Michigan history. With a decent chance at reaching 400.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 11:05 p.m.

I certainly respect everyone's opinion, but those who demand RR's dismissal should note that even though the team has been/is performing poorly, no Michigan offense has ever produced as much as this one. The Big Ten is better overall and the Michigan offense has never accomplished what it is now when many Big Ten teams were much worse. 28 and 31 points scored in two losses is typically enough to win most games. It is not all DRob, the O line is performing well and I have been very impressed with the blocking by the WRs and running backs. Of the three losses, one was by 17 points and two by ten points. Not blowouts and with a relatively average Michigan defense this team could be undefeated, and with the runaway offense likely ranked No 1. I think RR deserves at least one more year to see what can be accomplished. I do not think going through new coach, new philosophy, new coaching staff all over again will result in a better result. Replace the defense coordinator, but RR deserves more time. The offense is clicking but defense wins ballgames as we see here.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 9:55 p.m.

7-5 8-4 My Bad.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 9:55 p.m.

7-5 8-4 My Bad.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 9:53 p.m.

7-4 with a win over "The Suckeyes" 8-5 with a loss to "Buck$" Saves Richy Rich's job. Anything less will not Do!!! Go Blue!!!!


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 8:58 p.m.

michrick if thinking a 7-5 season and being in the bottom half of the big ten standings with the worst 3 defenses in Michigan football history are reasons to keep rich rod then your standards have surely dropped off. You were probably one of the guys screaming to fire Lloyd for 8-4 seasons and now your "hoping" for 7 wins so Rich Rod can stay. The game was exciting but how long did we go without losing to Illinois, Purdue, Penn State, Michigan State, and other "average" teams before Rich Rod got here. I think he needs to win 8 to have any shot to stay. The defense & special teams are unprepared and continue to make mistakes. And before you blame Greg Robinson, guess who hired him.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 8:32 p.m.

Who says one more win will do anything to save his job? People like that have very low standards! There are not enough wins in the next ten seasons to fix all the things Richyrich has done to hurt this program. He is over his head and an embarrassment to the school and to the real fans of the program. No one man is above the program. Take that lovers of Richyrich. lol


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 7:39 p.m.

I hope Mich wins at least 1 more to ensure RR can remain. He will lead us to many winning and exciting seasons when defense gets older and stop transfering. Take that haters of Mich football.