big ten notebook: Rich Rodriguez, hypothetically, would welcome drop-back passer on Michigan football team, Wolverines tryout and more around the Big Ten
Should he ever want to run an alternate version of the spread offense, Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez wouldn’t be afraid to recruit a pro-style quarterback.
“If we had a guy who was a great drop-back passer, we can fit our play-calling around the skill set of our quarterback,” he said Tuesday on the Big Ten weekly coaches’ teleconference.
Right now, Rodriguez isn’t in a hurry to tinker with his offense.
In the first two weeks of the season, quarterback Denard Robinson has vaulted from probable starter to Heisman Trophy contender, accounting for 885 yards of offense.
Years from now, once Robinson has left the Michigan campus, Rodriguez anticipates no problems recruiting another dual-threat quarterback. He said spread quarterbacks have proliferated at the high school level in recent years.
“No question,” Rodriguez said. “So many more high schools are getting into the shotgun and spreading people out. Some are throwing out of it, some are doing both. “There’s always a few hidden kids out there that nobody knows about, but now so many more teams are playing it.”
Ohio State takes notice
As the man responsible for turning Terrelle Pryor loose on the Big Ten, Jim Tressel knows a thing or two about quarterbacks who succeed in the spread offense.
So far, the Ohio State coach likes what he sees from Michigan’s Denard Robinson.
“Anytime you have the added dimension of your quarterback being a threat, it puts more pressure on defenses,” Tressel said Tuesday. “That’s going to make it more difficult for the Big Ten defenses, without question.”
Tressel added that he has included Michigan on his USA Today coaches poll ballot the past two weeks. The Wolverines jumped from No. 35 to No. 22 in the coaches poll this week. They are No. 20 in the AP top 25 poll.
Shine a light
Rich Rodriguez said Tuesday he expects permanent night lights to be installed at Michigan Stadium in time for the Big Chill at the Big House hockey game on Dec. 11.
On Thursday, the Michigan athletic department will formally ask the university’s Board of Regents for approval for the lights, which are expected to cost $1.8 million.
The Wolverines have already scheduled their first night game in school history for Sept. 10, 2011 against Notre Dame.
Student prospects unearthed
More than 30 students participated in tryouts for the Michigan football team Monday afternoon. Rodriguez said six or seven will receive an extended look during a two-week trial period.
“A couple really caught our attention,” he said. “They might have a spot on the team.”
Two years ago, Rodriguez found safety Jordan Kovacs in a student tryout. Kovacs wound up starting eight games in 2009, and is currently the senior starting member of the secondary.
Familiar face for Wisconsin
In preparation for Saturday’s upcoming game against Arizona State, Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema had his team watch an awful lot of the Badgers’ 2008 loss to Michigan.
In that game, quarterback Steven Threet rallied the Wolverines to a 27-25 upset of the No. 9 Badgers behind a 20-point fourth-quarter effort.
Wisconsin will host Threet and his new Arizona State team at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.
“I can’t remember, in my knowledge, being involved in something like this,” Bielema said of facing a prominent player at two different schools.
“He’s a big guy, tough to tackle, and he continues to impress us. He’s an extremely accurate passer, and has all the throws in his game, short, long, hard, soft, and has good composure.”
Pete Bigelow can be reached at (734) 623-2556, via email at email@example.com and followed on Twitter @PeterCBigelow.