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Published: Thursday, 10/9/2008

Rodriguez lauds work of Michigan freshman Odoms

BY JOE VARDON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Odoms
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NOT BLADE PHOTO / UM PHOTO SERVICES, MARTIN VLOET Enlarge

ANN ARBOR - Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said earlier this week he wants 125 guys on his team like Martavious Odoms.

Now he might not even have Odoms against Toledo, or at least not at full strength.

Odoms is still nursing a sprained shoulder suffered in the Wolverines' 45-20 loss to Illinois last week. Rodriguez said his freshman receiver/kick returner played a portion of that game hurt - a game in which he tallied 129 yards on seven catches and 183 yards on seven kick returns.

Rodriguez said Odoms, who participated in portions of yesterday's practice, was questionable for Saturday's game against the Rockets. If his shoulder isn't 100 percent by game time, Rodriguez said Odoms would be held out of "a lot of things, certainly [on] returns.

"We think Avery Horn and James Rogers will be OK back there [on kick returns]," Rodriguez said. "The biggest thing is catching the ball. I think we've got our blocking shored up a little bit. Even though we didn't block many people in the last game, we think we'll be better this game."

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<img src=http://www.toledoblade.com/assets/gif/TO17150419.GIF> <b><font color=red>THE END ZONE:</b></font color=red> <a href=" /assets/pdf/TO57138109.PDF" target="_blank "><b>Blade staff comments on UT, BG, OSU, and UM</b></a>
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Enlarge

Odoms, who is 5-foot-9 and 168 pounds, leads the Wolverines in receiving (23 catches, 253 yards), kick returns (10 returns, 244 yards) and all-purpose yards (498).

Rodriguez said on Monday that his team played "soft" against Illinois, but had much more positive things to say about Odoms.

"He loves to compete and he's a tough little guy," Rodriguez said. "He's a hundred and whatever he is, not much taller than this podium. He's 165 pounds and blocking 225-pound linebackers. He's one of those guys that is tough.

"I want 125 guys like that, [guys who] have the passion and desire to play."

NO HUDDLE: Speaking of challenging his players' toughness, Rodriguez said the Wolverines responded with one of their best Tuesday practices this season. Tuesday is the only day each week UM practices in full pads. Rodriguez said this about the Rockets, who have lost their last three games: "They scored 54 on Fresno [State], who Wisconsin only scored 13 on, so I think that helps get our players' attention. In talking to some other coaches that have played them, they feel they're probably as athletic as anybody in the MAC. We know they've got athletes, and against us we know they're going to play hard." UM is tinkering with the idea of moving Stephen Schilling from right tackle to a guard spot. If that happens, either current left tackle Perry Dorrestein or left guard Mark Ortmann would slide over to right tackle. Defensive end Brandon Graham (leg infection) is still questionable, while Dorrestein (head injury) appears to be a go against UT. Graham played against the Illini with the infection. Freshman receiver Terrence Robinson (knee) is still not fully healed from a preseason injury and is likely heading toward a redshirt.

Contact Joe Vardon at:

jvardon@theblade.com

or 419-410-5055.



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