Wolverines support Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez, Denard Robinson wins MVP in landslide, plus injury report
Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez is not the only one waiting for an answer regarding his football future.
His players are anxious to see their coach return, and would prefer his status is resolved before the team’s Gator Bowl appearance on Jan. 1.
“I would appreciate it to be declared,” defensive lineman Ryan Van Bergen said Monday. “I have 100 percent faith in Dave Brandon.
“I think that he’s got everything under control, but I think it’d be more beneficial to just come out and make a statement, so some of the players have an idea. But, obviously, there’s reasons I don’t know about why that can’t be done at this point.”
Brandon, Michigan’s athletic director, said Monday he plans to wait until after the season before completing his evaluation of the football program.
Michigan (7-5 overall, 3-5 Big Ten) will face Mississippi State (8-4 overall, 4-4 SEC) in the Gator Bowl, a game that will be televised nationally at 1 p.m. on ESPN2.
Rodriguez's status has been uncertain since the team concluded the regular season with a 37-7 loss to Ohio State. He made an emotional plea for his job during the team’s annual banquet Thursday.
His speech, which concluded the ceremony, included the playing of Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up,” which raised eyebrows from several hundred people in attendance.
But players appreciated the gesture.
“I get upset when people poke fun at Coach Rod, because I know him on a personal level,” defensive tackle Mike Martin said. “I’ve been at his house with his family, and that man should never be made fun of because he’s nothing but a good person.
“Why would you want to poke fun at a good person? He deserves nothing but the best.”
A LANDSLIDE VOTE The exact tally is unknown, but Denard Robinson most likely won the team’s most valuable player award in a landslide vote. Of the seven players queried Monday, all seven voted for Robinson.
“I voted for Mr. Shoelaces,” Van Bergen said. “He broke all the records, and when he was healthy, he was unstoppable.”
Players knew of only one vote cast that did not go to Robinson.
“Mike Shaw had me laughing,” receiver Roy Roundtree said. “I said, ‘Who’d you vote for?’ And he said himself. ‘I know Denard is going to win, so I did it so I can have one tally in there.’ But everyone knew who was going to win it.”
PRACTICE SCHEDULE Michigan tentatively plans to hold 11 or 12 practices in Ann Arbor, and then four in Jacksonville prior to the Gator Bowl. The Wolverines had the past week off, and will return to the practice field Friday afternoon.
INJURY REPORT Rodriguez said Monday he expects many of the players injured before or during the loss to Ohio State will be recovered in time to play in the Gator Bowl.
He expects Martin (ankles), Darryl Stonum (ankle) and Junior Hemingway (head) to play against the Bulldogs. Linebacker Mike Jones (leg), cornerback J.T. Floyd (ankle) and receiver Martavious Odoms (foot) are still out, although Odoms and Floyd could practice shortly before the game.