The Wolverine

November 2011

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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������ michigan football football Notebook Exciteable Shoeski ��� Fifth-year senior center David Molk likes to engage in some playful banter, whether speaking to the media or his teammates. It���s serious business when he���s trying to calm down junior quarterback Denard Robinson in the middle of a gameday storm, but Molk still takes the light-hearted approach. ���Most football players, they need to be put back in that state of mind,��� Molk said. ���You���ve got to get hyped up and all that kind of stuff. But Denard, he���s a different player. Every time I see Denard on the sideline, especially after [a rough stretch], I���ll just go up to him and go, ���Hey, Shoeski, come on. We���ve got to have some fun this half. Let���s have some fun.��� He just smiles. ���He just smiles, we laugh, and we go out and play. We have fun. That���s what makes him good. When he���s having fun, he���s unstoppable.��� Young Runner ��� Senior captain Kevin Koger recently urged those following Michigan football to not forget about freshman running back Thomas Rawls, who showed promise early in fall camp before an injury set him back. Rawls is healthy now and looking like he could see more action down the stretch. ���Thomas Rawls is getting a lot more snaps at running back,��� Koger confirmed. ���You can look for him to contribute a lot more this season. ���He���s a hard runner. He���s a bigger back, as you can see. He was running hard during camp, then he had that shoulder injury that set him back a little bit. He���s coming back strong, and he���s learning the offense. Once he learns more of the offense, you���ll see him more on the field.��� O-Line Talk Never Too Late ��� Michigan offensive line coach ��� Fifth-year senior defenDarrell Funk finds himself fully fosive tackle Will Heininger is cused on improving his position another Wolverine who has group between now and the end been making strides of late. of the year. At the same time, he���s Heininger came off a knee always looking toward the future. injury from last year to comRecently, he mentioned some pete for an eventually win a names of players who might be starting spot in Michigan���s getting a look not too far down front four. Fifth-year senior center David Molk may appear all business on the road. U-M defensive coordina���[Redshirt junior] Elliott Mealer the field, but on the sidelines he helps the team, including quar- tor Greg Mattison noted of humor. got into the MSU game,��� Funk terback Denard Robinson, stay loose with his sense by per kjeldsen he���s been pleased with how photo noted. ���His level of play in pracHeininger has progressed. tice, at multiple positions, has improved. Jack Miller is just a ���He���s always been a big, strong guy,��� Mattison said. ���He was freshman, but he���s taken a lot of practice reps. He���s not on the coming off a knee, and probably had a setback that way. I edge of playing yet, but he has improved as a young guy, and didn���t know him then. I���ve seen him buy into what we���re trywe���ve been able to develop him. ing to do. Because of his confidence now in the technique, ���I would even say young [freshman] Chris Bryant has imit���s allowed him to use his strength, and he���s become a lot proved. I get a chance to rep him in certain situations in pracmore physical football player. tice, to get a jump on his development.��� ���When you���re not sure of yourself, you���re just kind of getting ��� Funk also appreciates what redshirt sophomore Taylor through it. Now he sees it all, and he���s a pretty intelligent Lewan has been able to accomplish at left tackle this season. young man. Things are coming together for him.��� The third-year Wolverine has demonstrated a nice combination of aggression and restraint, according to his position Potential Hardware ��� Redshirt junior safety Jordan Kovacs and head coach coach. Brady Hoke have both made the cut for national trophies. Ko���The nice thing about that is, he has eliminated those penvacs has been named one of 20 quarterfinalists for the Lott alties, but he���s still playing a physical brand of football,��� Funk IMPACT Trophy, which honors college football���s Defensive said. ���Even hidden in that Michigan State game, he played Player of the Year who best exemplifies integrity, maturity, physical the entire time. You watch it between the whistles ��� performance, academics, community and tenacity. The Lott he played through injury, and he did play with the mentality winner will be handed out at a dinner Dec. 11. we need to have. Hoke, meanwhile, is one of 20 coaches named to the Bryant ���There will be a penalty of aggression every now and then. Coach of the Year Award watch list. A group of five to 10 finalBut penalties after the whistle, and penalties that are going ists will be announced in December with the winner chosen to hurt our team, are just stupid. We correct them in practice at a Jan. 19 awards dinner. and so far, he���s playing clean on Saturday.��� 50��� the wolverine��� ������ November 2011

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