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Posted on Mon, Oct 18, 2010 : 4:53 p.m.

Rich Rodriguez says Denard Robinson is OK; he'd like more kickers and more

By Michael Rothstein


Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson runs in the first half of Saturday's loss to Iowa. Robinson, injured in the third quarter, is expected to begin practicing on Wednesday.

Melanie Maxwell |

Rich Rodriguez backed off, joking that he doesn’t answer hypothetical questions. Then again, entering an off week, the Michigan football coach doesn’t worry about whether or not his quarterback, sophomore Denard Robinson, would be ready to play.

He said he hadn’t seen him as of lunchtime Monday, but he was optimistic.

“If we had a game, he could probably play Saturday,” Rodriguez said, who said he expects Robinson to practice Wednesday.

Robinson, for a few weeks the Heisman Trophy frontrunner, was limited in practice last week leading up to the Iowa game after injuring his throwing shoulder.

He landed on awkwardly on his shoulder Saturday in Michigan’s 38-28 loss to Iowa and sat out most of the second half.

Rodriguez is optimistic Robinson will be back by Oct. 30, when Michigan is at Penn State for an 8 p.m. (ABC, ESPN or ESPN2)

“More of a sprain,” Rodriguez said. “Something in his rotator cuff that when you fall on it, it’s aggravated or sore.”

Robinson has 1,096 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. He’s completed 97 of 143 passes for 1,319 yards, nine touchdowns and five interceptions. His 2,415 yards of offense already is the 11th-best single season of total offense in Michigan history.

Rodriguez said Robinson’s injury is not like the one former starter Tate Forcier suffered a season ago, when he couldn’t lift his arm after some games.

Kenny Demens impresses Rodriguez Redshirt sophomore Kenny Demens picked up his first start Saturday at linebacker against Iowa and finished with eight tackles, tied for second on the team with Jordan Kovacs.

He played enough to hold on to the spot - for now.

“He’s played well enough that Obi (Ezeh) will have to beat him out in practice the next week and a half, I guess,” Rodriguez said. “But Obi, he went in there and did some decent things.

“But that competition will be ongoing, for sure.”

Martavious Odoms' surgery goes well Rodriguez said Martavious Odoms’ surgery to repair a broken foot suffered against Michigan State went well. He doesn’t know how long the rehabilitation and recovery will take.

It is unlikely, though, Odoms would return for the rest of the regular season at least.

“That’s a tough blow because he was playing pretty good football and was pretty scrappy,” Rodriguez said. “If we can get him back by the end of the year, then we’ll use him.”

Rodriguez also said he expects defensive tackle Mike Martin and center David Molk to return from ankle injuries in time for the Penn State game. The same goes for running back Michael Shaw, who tweaked his knee and played sparingly against the Hawkeyes.

The search for a kicker Michigan has one kicker, redshirt freshman Brendan Gibbons, on scholarship. Punter Will Hagerup is also on scholarship.

And Rodriguez has said several times this season he’d welcome students who want try to walk-on as a kicker.

Now, with two scholarships eaten up and a walk-on, Seth Broekhuizen, handling the kicking, Rodriguez said he’s still looking for kickers.

“We can’t talk in specifics about recruiting,” Rodriguez said. “But we’re looking, all over the country.”

Michigan had its one field goal attempt blocked Saturday, and then the Wolverines watched as Iowa picked up the ball and returned it to midfield. It was a play that Rodriguez said he took the blame for because his staff didn’t inform the unit of what to do.

“We talk to our defense all the time that if we block it, scoop and score,” Rodriguez said. “If it is on our side, you want to get away from it.

“We didn’t do a good job talking with our field goal unit on the same issue. Normally if you kick it and it is on their side, they’ll get away from it because it becomes a live ball if they touch it. We had guys just stand around, but the whistle’s not going to blow until someone puts their hand on the ball or the official deems it’s a dead play. So we learned our lesson from that, but it wasn’t a good play for us.”

Pros and cons of the Alabama game When Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon had a conversation with Rodriguez about scheduling Alabama in a one-off game in 2012, there was some hesitation.

The schedule, from looking at it in 2012, could be difficult with road games at Notre Dame, Ohio State and Nebraska along with a neutral site game against the Crimson Tide.

Then Rodriguez thought about it and realized the positives would outweigh the difficulty of playing a tough schedule and losing a home game in 2010.

“Pretty tough road schedule,” Rodriguez said. “But weighing the pros and cons, we did that and I'm sure Dave did that as far as, let's see, Denard will be a senior, these young guys playing now will be juniors, so we looked at that a little bit.

"The hesitation we probably had was giving up a home game to do that. Would our fans be excited about going? I think there will be a lot of excitement about that because people will talk about it over the summer. And it's a great venue, from what I understand, and, obviously, two well-known programs.”

This and that Michigan will be off Monday and Tuesday before practicing Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. … Rodriguez said he’ll watch film with coaches Saturday and then watch opponents play. He’s also hoping to get to his son Rhett’s junior football game. … Michigan’s assistant coaches are recruiting Monday and Tuesday.

Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan basketball for He can be reached at (734) 623-2558, by e-mail at or follow along @mikerothstein


jim ralston

Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 4:34 p.m.

I know there is no quick answer for the problem's for the defense, but for starters fire the defenseive coache's. And when I say coache's, I mean ever damn one of them. If there not embarrassed thats o.k.-I'm embarrassed for them...


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 3:20 p.m.

Dad, Don't believe that I ever suggested to move to the Big East. Not sure where you get that from what I said so please explain.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 3:11 p.m.

Daddio, exactly right. In fact, Michigan already moved to the Big East. In 2008.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 2:47 p.m.

PU MSU, According to your assessment, Michigan should move from the Big Ten to the Big East, they'd be undefeated.

BLUE fan Az

Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 2:11 p.m.

With all this talk about how bad the Michigan defense is did anyone see the Auburn game? The "losing" Razorbacks put up 43 points and still lost to an impressive offensive performance. That is the future for Michigan football, impressive wins no matter how many points the D gives up. I liked Mr. Carr's traditional football teams but how many games did he LOSE to wisconsin "getting ready" for ohio st only to lose to them also. Also talking about the previous regime how many times did Henne have to score 2-4 tds in the 4th quarter to get Michigan a last minute win? I remember quite a few games especially against mich st!


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 1:31 p.m.

WWBD, I hope that you are right, but I would be satisfied with a decent defense. They will still have a lot of young kids on the field.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 1:12 p.m.

PU MSU- the defense will be very, very good next year. If anyone doesn't think these young Michigan men won't learn from their mistakes, get stronger and comeback with a vengeance is prime for a hard fall. These guys have pride and aren't losers and it's far from over.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 12:56 p.m.

leathercouch, I hope you were joking about Harbaugh. On ESPN radio today he stated, "There's nothing wrong with UM football... it is alive and well in East Lansing." Do not think he has any plans on saving the weasels from their current course.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 12:25 p.m.

Here another stat. They are breaking every offensive record on the books too. Both sides of the ball will improve as these kids mature. I'll take a stellar offense and an ok defense any day of the week. The Big 10 struggles with other conferences because of their lack of fire power and speed. Michigan has these now. Take the next year two focus on improving the defense and we are a top teir program again. Or you can quit and the team and coach and start over. How mnay of these kids will be able to play in a pro-style system? A new coach (assuming its a pro-style system) will bring a ton of transfers and a few more years of rebuilding. I would like RR to work out here at Michigan because he COULD bring stability to the program. Many pro-style coaches are looking to move to the NFL. RR is a college coach and will never try to coach in the NFL. He is young. He could be the coach at Michigan for many many years. I think that it would be a mistake to not give this system and staff some more time. As long as they continue to make improvements, they deserve time.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 11:30 a.m.

Here's a valid point, during these last 3 seasons, Michigan is breaking all of the historical defensive records, only in the wrong direction. No amount of kicking is going to help or matter.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 11:08 a.m.

"If he didn't have a back injury..." Only if RR was never hired, would we be having this conversation? The fact of the matter was he did have a back injury. You cannot say he would have left or not had he not had an injury. The fact of the matter is that he did have an injury. Your point is not valid.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 11:02 a.m.

They need to find a coach to go with the kicker. rr will be gone eventually and that day can't come soon enough!


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 10:57 a.m.

PU MSU, Initially it was a back injury. However, if he didn't have a back injury, you are making my point, RichRod doesn't have the relationship with his players to make kids stay. Come on, it's Bowling Green not Harvard, he could have found another major.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 10:18 a.m.

Rodriguez said. But Obi, he went in there and did some decent things." Like getting pancaked by an Iowa player right away and getting yanked out of the game again. It appears obvious Demens should have been playing earlier. Even if they're dead even, I'll take Demens any day of the week since he has several more years to get better at least. Now if we can just find a kicker!


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 10:02 a.m.

Dad, Brian Wright graduated Michigan and enrolled at BG because the Master's program he wanted wasn't offered at Michigan. It had nothing to do with RR. lol nice example.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 9:33 a.m.

It's obvious that RichRod needs to work on his relationship with players. It's hard for me to believe that he couldn't keep a few of these players that left the program with a strong discussion and some coercion. Why didn't he keep Bryan Wright, the excuse was that Wright was battling back injury. He looked fine kicking for Bowling Green. Just one example. In addition, why do kicker walk-ons need to pass running tests? Tell Tom Dempsey that he needed to pass a running test before he kicked a 62 yard field goal.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 8:43 a.m.

Michigan has 4 place kickers on the team. Are none of them good? If so, appears there is a recruiting lapse.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 8:35 a.m.

Rich Rod should go after this season! This team is just a gimmick team on offense and weak on defense. We can beat small schools but not Big Ten schools. Rich Rod has to go.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 8:28 a.m.

Pathetic fan. Sad that I am even associated with most of you. Stop your whining and support your team. Calling for the coach to be fired with a 5-2 record is pathetic. The comment about Lombardi is simply poiting to the fact that these players are young and time is the only answer to improvment. Don't read too far into it. 11 of 46 players on Michigans 2-deep roster on defense are juniors or seniors. Iowa had 14 starting seniors. The players have been in the postion to make plays. Thats the coaches job. They have missed tackles. That is on the players. Stop with the Jim Harbough talk. He will be in the NFL in a few years. If he came to Michigan it would only be a stepping stone.


Tue, Oct 19, 2010 : 8:19 a.m.

RR is got to be saying boy I wish the little brown jug was on are schedule, so we know we will get to a bowl game. To his credit (7 games to late) Demens is playing and Ezah is sitting! Are we to expect other changes in the line up and scheme? Is there a chance they may realize playing with 5 or 6 d backs is not the smartest defensive scheme yet for their team, unless on 3rd and 15. Or are we about to see the exact same thing as last year? Is this team any different? Who is the leader of this team, because it sure looked to me like he got benched on Sat. and it didnt have to do with his injury. Where is the growth you expect to see through the year? Is Demens it or are other guys ready to get smarter, stronger, and better?! Once again I feel for the guys on defense because they are put in a position to fail not succeed. As coach do you not want to determine what your strentghs are and minimize your weaknesses? Or are guys on this post actually smarter at schemes and personel decisions than Greg? At what point has this defensive scheme or personel for this scheme worked in 3 years (even Western Ontario Techincal School for Fruit Basket Makers has taken advantage of our d and they only play 8 guys). The only problem I have with the Bama game is michigan may be changing its offense again.


Mon, Oct 18, 2010 : 9:41 p.m.

oh, but for sure it will be jim harbaugh...everybody wants him and it would be "perfect fit".


Mon, Oct 18, 2010 : 9:38 p.m.

Whoa, I take back my comment in the Vince Lombardi article. We found some accountability! "It was a play that Rodriguez said he took the blame for because his staff didnt inform the unit of what to do." We didnt do a good job talking with our field goal unit on the same issue." No kidding. But Vince Lombardi couldn't coach this? Poor Coaching! And what could we ever lose from immediately grounding a blocked kick of our own? It is 4th down. This is the stuff that makes you wonder if these kids have been taught the wrong thing as even in High School you know better. Get a Special Teams Coach!!! And we already know to skip field goals as it is better to try for first downs. Now we are better to try onside kicks as opposed to giving it to them on the 40 yard line after we kick it out of bounds. He should have tried an onside that last kickoff!


Mon, Oct 18, 2010 : 9:37 p.m.

I'll take Saban, and give you Rich Rod and the assistant coach of your choice. Today. Right now. Over and over again.. On another subject, maybe we could start the "Mark Dantonio to the Cleveland Browns" rumor. Hey, it couldn't hurt.. On yet another subject, maybe we could start the "Rich Rod to Slippery Rock" rumor. Hey, it couldn't hurt.


Mon, Oct 18, 2010 : 9 p.m.

I am not sure it is a great idea to compare our RR to Nick Saban. How many regular season games did Alabama win in a row, before this last loss? Well, RR has won 4 Big Ten games in 2.5 years. I really doubt that Dave Brandon knows who will be coaching UM in 2012.


Mon, Oct 18, 2010 : 6:09 p.m.

Rich likes the 'Bama game because he knows he might not coach that game. Maybe Nick "I'm not going to be the Alabama coach" $aben will be gone also.