The Wolverine

May 2012

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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MICHIGAN FOOTBALL FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK EARLY EXITS • After discussing their situation with the Michigan coaching staff, offensive lineman Rocko Khoury, long snapper George Morales, wide receiver Ter- rence Robinson and tailback Michael Cox have decided not to return for a final season, even though each is eligible for a fifth year. A 6-4, 287-pounder, Khoury played DUAL PERSONALITY • Though the Michigan coaching staff never confirmed that junior quarterback Devin Gardner could play wide receiver in the fall, the Inkster, Mich., native did practice at the posi- tion during spring practice. A 6-4, 205-pound former four-star Junior Jibreel Black made a position switch from weakside defensive end, where he appeared in 26 games the last two seasons, to defensive tackle this spring. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL "He's a faster player in there," Mattison said. "When a guy like him beats a block, he has the ability to run some things down. On the other end of that, he is not as big, so he needs to play with better technique. That is what he has to work on the most. "At the weakside end position, considerably at center against Iowa in 2010 when starting center David Molk suffered an injury, and was des- ignated the starter against Virginia Tech in last season's Sugar Bowl be- fore Molk entered the lineup on U- M's second possession. He began the spring second on the depth chart behind classmate Ricky Barnum and left, inexplicably — Khoury has not returned interview requests — con- sidering Michigan had just seven scholarship linemen to work with in the spring. After a leg injury derailed him for all you are almost always out in open space and you have only one guy inside of you to deal with. Now he has guys on both sides of him and can be blocked from both ways. It's a little bit more physical, but it is also a place where he can become a faster athlete in there." The biggest change for Black has been on the scales. He weighed in around 260 pounds in 2011, and has put on 10 pounds the past few months, with 10 more still to go before Sept. 1. "I was kind of nervous about gain- ing the weight, about how my body 2012 Football Schedule Date Sept. 1 Sept. 8 Opponent Sept. 15 Sept. 22 Oct. 6 Oct. 13 Oct. 20 Oct. 27 Nov. 3 vs. Alabama* Air Force Massachusetts at Notre Dame at Purdue Illinois * at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas Nov. 10 Nov. 17 Nov. 24 at Ohio State 34 THE WOLVERINE MAY 2012 of his rookie campaign and left him less than 100 percent as a redshirt freshman also, Robinson made a tri- umphant return with a 43-yard catch in the 2010 season opener against Connecticut. However, he never caught another pass and was rele- gated to a pure special teams role in the rest of 2010 and 2011. However, he did contribute, forcing a fumble on a Nebraska kickoff return last season. Cox, who will transfer to UMass, rushed for 169 yards and two touch- downs on 19 carries (8.9 yards per rush) in blowouts of Eastern Michigan and Delaware State in 2009 and Bowl- ing Green in 2010. He was buried on the tailback depth chart in 2011 and wasn't expected to see the field much in 2012, opting for a better opportu- nity with the Minutemen. In four seasons, Morales never ap- peared in a single game at U-M, and his prospects were not any better in the fall. • Isaiah Bell will not be back for his Michigan State at Nebraska at Minnesota Northwestern Iowa signal-caller, Gardner is not expected to be a receiver exclusively, but could see the field for 10-15 snaps per game (maybe more, maybe less) this fall. Such a move is not without prece- dent. In 2010, with his path blocked at quarterback, four-star MarQueis Gray played wide receiver for Minnesota. The 6-4, 240-pound Gray caught 42 passes for 587 yards and five touch- downs and proved one half of a formi- dable receiving tandem that included Da'Jon McKnight (48 receptions for 750 yards and 10 scores). In 2011, he moved back to quarterback, taking over for the departed Adam Weber. "At the end of the day, it was about getting your most talented players on the field, O'Connell said. "They had Da'Jon McK- night and nobody else at receiver, and then they had this unbelievable talent who was going to be holding a clip- board for the entire season because it was clear, at that juncture, Adam We- ber was the better quarterback. "There were probably all the same "'s Matt concerns with MarQueis that you'll have there at Michigan — the injury risk, whether it's fair to the kid, and on and on — but I think most fans under- stood what the coaches were doing. "If you've got an impact player just biding his time, you're not doing him any favors nor the team keeping him on the sideline. So they made the decision to put him at wide receiver and looking back on it, it was a good decision." ON THE RISE • The improved play of redshirt redshirt junior campaign. The 6-1, 245-pound linebacker, originally a member of the 2009 class and a team- mate of tailback Fitzgerald Toussaint at Liberty High School in Youngstown, Ohio, never saw the field for the Maize and Blue. He was listed by as a three-star prospect and the No. 27 player in Ohio. freshman quarterback Russell Bel- lomy has given the coaching staff the freedom to work Gardner in at wide receiver. Though Gardner is the No. 2 signal-caller still, the three-star 6-3, 189-pound Bellomy is a capable No. 3 and could even develop enough con- fidence in his coaches to be a No. 2, if they want to employ Gardner at wide- out more.

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