DRob is a Freak

Apparently, it isn't just enough to be a great high school QB and get a full ride to Michigan to play football...Denard Robinson likes to keep in shape during the off-season by running track...like a freak.

Most of what makes a good dual-threat QB good is the ability to get out of trouble when a play breaks down. WRs don't get open in time or the line can only block for so long. The guy with the ball the most in the spread offense is the QB. And when he has 7 or 8 guys coming after him at full speed, it's beneficial to be able to elude defenders and get into open field.

Incoming freshman QB Denard Robinson will be able to do just that. With ease.

Last weekend, DRob won the BCAA Track Championships at Coral Springs in the 100 meter dash. He ran it in a time of 10.44 seconds. According to Dyestat Elite 100 rankings, that's the #2 fastest high school time in the nation, and the fastest time in the state of Florida. Link to Miami Herald story.
''I was kind of disappointed in myself to run a 10.44, but I will accept that, ''Robinson said. "Running the No. 2 time in the nation is pretty good. I was trying to run a 10.3, but there was strong wind. I'm working harder on it and expect to hit a 10.3 by states.''
Wow. Threet who? Sheridan what?

Michigan Stadium Construction Photos

Up now at mgoblue, the latest and greatest photos of the progress of the quarter-of-a-billion dollar renovation at the Big House.

Clearly, progress is being made on the exteriors of the brick structures, and I assume the interiors as well. It will be really interesting to see just how close to finished the whole project will look this fall.

The most amazing thing to me is the shear difference in size between the old press-box and the new press-box looming over and behind it. There will always be a small place in my heart for the old look of the stadium...with the small maize & blue scoreboards and old matching press-box. But there is no question, when you see the changes being made, that they were overdue.

And, I should also mention that now that the visible part of the press-box from the field is starting to take shape, there is no question that these two structures will dramatically increase the noise level inside the stadium. If the old argument was that most of the crowd noise went straight out of the top of the bowl (and it did), then having two very large deflectors on both ends of the stadium will make a noticeable difference. I know some Michigan fans sit on their hands during the game, but there had to be a reason the Big House was so quiet most of the time...and this hopefully will end those days.

Expect some more photos by yours truly after the spring game in two weeks.

In other news, Nick Sheridan will be out of the remainder of the spring with a broken leg. Sheridan fractured his leg last Tuesday during a scrimmage. He will be back to full-strength by the fall.

"He's got a small fracture in his lower leg," coach Rodriguez explained. "According to trainer's talk it's not a displaced fracture so he doesn't have to have surgery. It's four to six weeks and then he'll be good to go. So that takes him out of the rest of practice for spring ball, but for summer workouts he'll be fine.

"It didn't look like a violent thing, but I think it just got twisted under him a little bit. It happens," Rodriguez continued. "These last few practices will give some other guys more reps and Nick will stay in tune mentally.

"He'll miss 10 practices, but Nick being a sharp guy, and again only being a four to six week injury, he'll be able to pick it up on his own in summer workouts and be able to jump right back into the mix in August."

Hopefully the mild temps will continue for the spring game. So far Michigan has been able to have all of their spring practices outdoors.

Also, Ricky Barnum twisted his ankle and will also be out for a few practices...not sure if he'll return by April 11.

Pulling for Little Brother

Big Ten unity?

Usually we cast aside our feelings of unity to our fellow Big Ten schools when they succeed on the football field, basketball court, etc. Why do we do this? I'm really not sure. Its not that I don't like all but 1 other Big Ten school. Actually when it comes down to it, I really like 10 of the 11 teams in our fair conference. (If you are still unsure as to which Ohio Big Ten school I am referring to that I don't like, take a wild guess.)

But I like 10 of the 11 Big Ten schools whether it is for the good of the conference or not. Does a good Purdue football team benefit the rest of the conference in any way? Some would argue that it does. But this blogger feels that a successful squad, no matter which sport...has to write their own ticket, and not depend on the rest of the conference to boost their ranking.

If a school has a particularly great season, and the rest of the conference sucks, who suffers most? I say the teams that suck suffer the most. Others would argue that the great team suffers most.

This is a debate that will rage on forever, it seems. And that's fine. It makes things just that much more interesting.

But for a bunch of reasons that make zero sense to me, I am actually really happy and excited for Michigan State to be in the Final Four.

It's not like they deserve it more than anyone else. They've had their fair share of success in recent years. And it's not that I like their coach or any of their players that much. It's just that they are going to be the home team at Ford Field this weekend. And not to make sports a metaphor for life or anything...but this just so happens to take place at a point when people in this state have had a tough enough time just getting through one of the longest and most depressing winters Michigan has ever had.

This is something to feel good about.

Oh sure, once September rolls around, Sparty will go back to being Little Brother. But for the next week, we will be cheering for our little green friends from East Lansing.

And if they should lose Saturday night at Ford Field, then at least they can say they made it there. And if this ride lasts until next Monday and even results in a NCAA title...then this blogger will be able to smile and feel a sense of great pride...not for the Big Ten conference, but for the great state of Michigan.

Incoming: Tony Drake

New Michigan recruit...Tony Drake from Dallas' Skyline High. I don't know much about him other than he's only 5-9 and 160 lbs. Awfully small for Big Ten ball...just ask Sam McGuffie. He is not rated by any of the popular recruiting sites...or any of the unpopular ones either. I assume he'd fit into a slot-WR role. But he is the teammate of 4-star LB Corey Nelson. So maybe not such a bad get after all?

Welcome to the show Tony!

Nick Sheridan Injures Leg

According to both media outlets and fellow blogs, Nick Sheridan sustained what is being called a serious injury to his leg during practice Tuesday. I assume that it probably meanshe broke it...and probably pretty badly.

Odds are this means he will be out for the remainder of spring ball and likely the better part of summer drills.

The current QB depth chart now looks very thin. Tate Forcier is likely the starter, or at least going to be getting the lion's share of the reps this spring. And David Cone will be #2. My guess is that Justin Feagin may split some time between WR and QB for the spring until either Sheridan recovers or incoming freshman QB Denard Robinson arrives this summer.

Either way, this is a pretty big blow to the team, at a position where Michigan hasn't been exactly solid the past year or so.

Rich Rodriguez is going to hold a presser today prior to practice, hopefully to address this topic...and also hopefully the rumor that David Cone is also hurt.

The hits just keep on coming.

Playing Catch Up, Spring Game Info

I'm back! After what seems like a month (actually about a week and a half) of no posting, I am back in the saddle. First I must apologize to my minion of loyal readers. Real life has been keeping me much busier than usual these past couple weeks, and thus this blog has suffered the brunt of my neglect. Luckily, we're in the middle of the off-season, and there's not much pressing news to discuss right now. But there are some things that have taken place in recently that we should catch up on.

• Two new 2010 commits. This is old news, but took place last week and we never got around to it. Antonio Kinard (6-4, 210) a linebacker from Youngstown, OH. And DJ Williamson (6-1, 172) a WR from Warren, OH. Both Ohio recruits have yet to be rated by Rivals. Kinard does receive pretty good marks in terms of size and potential. And Williamson, although small, is very fast...boasting a 4.4 second 40 yard dash.

• WR Toney Clemons has decided to transfer after this semester. He cites his long discussion with Rodriguez in which the coach was not happy to hear this news, but did grant his transfer. Clemons said he just didn't want to play in a spread offense. He leaves Michigan with 12 career receptions and 106 yards and no touchdowns. No word as to where he'll be headed.

• The Ann Arbor News is closing its doors in July. The paper started printing in 1835. It will shift to an online version this summer.

• Rich Rodriguez is on Twitter. And it has been confirmed that it is really his page.

• The Detroit Free Press has a photo gallery of the first Michigan spring practice last week. My favorite pic:

QB Tate Forcier handing off to RB Vincent Smith.

•For a recap of last week's practices, mgoblue has you covered.

• The spring game is slated for noon on April 11. The Michigan athletic department is trying to spur some more excitement about the annual inter-squad match up by adding some new events like a Michigan Football Alumni flag football game. According to Michigan Sports Center, Gary Moeller will coach the Maize squad while Jerry Hanlon will coach the Blue. The game will last one hour and will start at 10AM.

Also, from 8-10AM, there will be locker room tours for anyone who wants to show up that early. The locker room will be all decked out in gameday fashion, and fans will be allowed to take photos.

There will be a designated student section for the spring game, the first 20 rows of sections 24 and 25.

The marching band, cheerleaders and dance team will also be in attendance.

All told, the goal for the spring game is to get 40,000 fans to attend. Obviously this depends almost 100% on the weather. But if we can get a nice warm day, then 40,000 doesn't seem all that crazy. I think we can expect a much more gameday-like atmosphere than in years past under the Lloyd administration where the spring "scrimmage" was more like an hour long practice.

But I agree with Michigan Sports Center that a more game-like spring contest will do nothing but increase exposure and excitement for Michigan football.

And of course, admission is still free.

So hopefully this small recap (thanks mostly to MSC and mgoblog) will help get you up to speed with whats new in the world of Michigan football. I will try not to take such a long leave of absence without notice next time. Thanks for reading. Go Blue!

Incoming: Devin Gardner

Just announced...Devin Gardner (6-4, 195), a dual-threat QB from Inkster, MI has committed to the Michigan class of 2010. He follows his former teammate WR Cameron Gordon who committed to the 2009 class.

mgoblog's post lives here.
Varsity Blue's post lives here.

According to VB, Gardner is rumored to be the Vince Young/Terrelle Pryor of the 2010 class. So if that means what I think it means, then he's an awesome runner who can hurt you big time on the ground, but just don't ask him to do too much through the air. But we have time to work on that.

More news to come on this commitment, but no doubt this is huge news for the 2010 class.

Thursday News

Here's whats making news...today.

Sophomore WR Darryl Stonum may face jail time as part of a sentence handed down yesterday by Michigan 15th district court judge Julie Creal for Stonum's late arrival to his hearing. He faced a charge of operating a motor vehicle while visibly impaired in late September (he was drunk). His attorney said that he could face up to 93 days in jail, $300 in fines and 360 hours of community service. He pleaded guilty to charges.

Stonum was suspended by Rodriguez last season for one game, Oct. 4th against Illinois. No further action is suspected from Rodriguez.

Via The Blog that Yost Built, my alma mater is rumored to be considering dropping their hockey program. BGSU is a member of the same division as Michigan...the CCHA. They won a national title in 1984...and have put more then their fair share of players into the National Hockey League. BGSU might not be as big as say Michigan or some of their fellow teams in the CCHA...they really haven't been that good since the late 80's, but that would still be a huge loss for not only the university, but the whole league.

Check out Save BGSU Hockey on the Facebook...it might not help much, but it might be all we can do at this point.

In case you've been hiding under a rock lately, then you haven't heard that the Michigan basketball squad takes on Iowa today at 2:30PM on ESPN2 in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis. The winner of this game will go on to play Illinois tomorrow at 6:30PM. Head on over to UMHoops.com for all of the details.

Here's a snapshot of the tourney bracket via UMHoops.

Most people in the know have Michigan pegged for an at-large bid for the NCAA tourney next week. Last weekend's comeback win against Minnesota was a big one for Michigan in their hopes of making the field of 64 (or is it 65?). Either way, a strong showing (at least 1 win) at the BTT will all but guarantee an NCAA appearance.

Go Blue!

Night Games at the Big House

As we soldier on through this never-ending off season, things that often get overlooked during the fall are often brought up and discussed on blogs, message boards, etc. But one topic that seems the never go away is the idea of bringing night games to Michigan Stadium.

Michigan blogger UMxWolverines (via mgoblog) sent me an email yesterday asking to help support his grass-roots cause to petition for night games at the Big House.

I've been a solid supporter for a while now of night games, and the benefit that they could bring to not only the win column, but also in terms of recruiting and prime-time television exposure. Of course, Michigan plays at least two marquee home games each year. Whether its Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Penn State or tOSU, there is never a shortage of good games that could be worthy of a large television audience in prime-time on a Saturday night.

But for some reason or another, night games (games that start after dark) have yet to happen at Michigan.

Much of that, I think, can be attributed to the traditional nature of college football, and more specifically football at Michigan. Bo always wanted to play at 1PM. If they wanted to televise it, they could. But we all know that things have changed in recent years. Television dominates not only kickoff times, but scheduling in general.

But that still doesn't really explain why it has taken so long (with still no end in sight) to having a honest to goodness night game at Michigan.

And the reason, I believe, is two-fold.

The city of Ann Arbor
It should be noted that Michigan Stadium is located basically on the edge of campus...surrounded by neighborhoods. It takes a small army of campus patrol and Ann Arbor police to keep the crowds safe and to get people back to their cars and on their way after a game.

A population of over 100,000 people descend on Ann Arbor for a few hours each Saturday in the fall...and that causes a huge amount of work for the public services that address the needs of the influx of people. If kickoff isn't until 8PM, those services will need to be working from dawn until well past midnight Sunday morning...at an extraordinary cost to the city.

But it can also be argued that the cost/benefit would be comparable due to the added revenue of having the city's population doubled for an extra 6-10 hours one day a year. All of those people have to eat and drink somewhere. That stimulates the local economy. Maybe lots bump their parking fees 20% for a night game? Who knows. I'm sure finding ways for people to spend their money would not be a problem.

The Athletic Department
Gone are the days of Bo and Lloyd. They were about as old-school as you can get. Don't get me wrong, I loved those days, and I'm still a traditionalist at heart. But the times they are a changin'. And Michigan needs to change with them. There was a time when the big schools played during the daytime, and the small schools had to play at night to be able to get television exposure. But then a funny thing happened. The small schools started to schedule the big schools for night games, and the TV crews followed. Those games turned out to be awesome match ups, and people tuned in.

Now the big schools, often in the south, play at night because northern schools dominate the daytime TV schedules. Why this is...I don't know. It just seems to be the way things are. But now thanks to ABC and ESPN, and to some extent the Big Ten Network...good games are being played at night all over the country. And scheduling a marquee home game at night is all the rage.

Michigan's brass has been pretty against doing this for a while now. Why? Who knows. Maybe they thought they were above doing such things to spur excitement. But I'll stack a night game against any of Michigan rivals up against a noon or 3:30 kickoff any day.

Even games that have started at 3:30 and ended in the dark have been twice as exciting as a daytime game. There is just something about the atmosphere at Michigan Stadium at night. Those winged helmets and blue uniforms glowing under the portable lights. The crowd has a certain buzz (possibly from the alcohol) that just cannot be captured during the daytime. But even on television, those games just feel more exciting.

I have to believe that Rodriguez is and will continue to effort a night game in the next couple seasons. One good sign that changes are occurring in the AD's office is the announcement of a hockey game against Sparty at the Big House in 2010. You have no idea how huge that is. It will be the first ever non-football event held in the Big House outside of a graduation ceremony. That is a good sign that the regents and the administration is seeing the writing on the wall.

There are a couple good games this year that could potentially be a night kickoff. Notre Dame on Sept. 12th, Penn State on Oct. 24th, or tOSU on Nov. 21st. Any of those could be aired on ABC/ESPN or BTN and would draw a huge audience.

If the city could find a way to get past the idea that they would not benefit from such an event, and the athletic department would see the huge upside to this for not only their football program, but the department as a whole...then night games will happen at Michigan. I think Bill Martin and Rich Rodriguez want this to happen. And those are the two guys who's opinions matter the most.

If you feel that Michigan should host a night game, and want your voice to be heard (I'm not exactly sure by whom), then do as I did, and sign the petition mentioned above, by clicking on the "Sign Petition" button on the widget in the middle sidebar. -->

Mountain West Conference Proposes 8 Team BCS Playoff

Compelling to say the least. At least the conversation is getting started.

Hockey at the Big House and the Mind of Maurice Clarett

I've been pretty bad about keeping up lately on this blog. While I don't want to make lame excuses, all I can say is that on Monday, while chopping up some vegetables making dinner, the knife took a wrong turn into my left ring finger, sending me to the urgent care and eventually back the next day for stitches. All told, I'll be fine, but it was a lesson learned the hard way in large sharp knives and their effects on the human appendage. Typing is a little harder than it used to be...so this will be short.

However, since I last posted, some big news has come down the wire.

On December 11, 2010, Michigan will play host to Michigan State in The Cold War II. That's right, an outdoor hockey game at Michigan Stadium! No doubt it will shatter the existing record for attendance at a hockey game. Seven years ago Michigan and little brother tussled in East Lansing before a crowd of 74,554 at the concrete monstrosity they call a football stadium. No doubt a game at the Big House will draw a crowd of well over 100,000. And, all the renovations will be done by then, so there is no question Michigan Stadium can accommodate an event like this.

Also, according to MSC, the Detroit Red Wings are interested in playing an outdoor game at the Big House the day after the UM-MSU game. No official word yet...but that would be amazing as well.

In other news. Former tOSU tailback and now incarcerated member of the Toledo Correctional Facility for wielding an AK-47 and a bottle of Grey-Goose during a police chase in 2006...Maurice Clarett is now a blogger! I don't know how he blogs...prisoners are not allowed computer privileges...but his blog, The Mind of Maurice Clarett, is live and officially confirmed as his.

Obviously letting anyone into the mind of this criminal is huge mistake. And I assume that he dictates his thoughts to an outside source and they actually write for the blog itself. Either way, its live and we must read it...why? Because like our friends at UMTailgate say...we're moths attracted to the flame.

And finally, just saw this. Somehow...some way, Michigan was the most profitable football program in the Big Ten for the 2008 fiscal year.