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Published: Friday, 10/16/2009

Michigan's Rodriguez wants fewer games

BY RYAN AUTULLO
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

ANN ARBOR - If Rich Rodriguez's opinion mattered, the University of Michigan's football players would have used this week to rest their wounded bodies and catch up on any classroom work that may have been shelved during a busy past month.

Instead the Wolverines prepared to play another football game, one that wouldn't be listed on the schedule if Rodriguez's plan for an 11-game season was adopted by the NCAA. As it stands, the Wolverines will host Football Championship Subdivision member Delaware State in a game that shouldn't greatly benefit the home team aside from the money exchanging hands at the ticket gates and concession stands.

Rodriguez wonders why NFL teams receive a bye week and many college teams, including most of the Big Ten, do not. His main point of contention is that unlike in the NFL where injured players are replaced in a variety of ways - practice squad, free agency, trades - the number of available players on a college roster typically decreases over the course of a season due to injuries, sicknesses and suspensions. A bye week would aid in the healing of hurt players, provide the coaching staff more of an opportunity to evaluate and recruit instead of prepare, and allow players to take a more active role in their studies.

Rodriguez will get his wish next year, sort of. The number of games has not changed, but UM will have a 14-day layoff in October between games against Iowa and Penn State.

"I'd play 11 games," Rodriguez said. "Our athletic department probably wouldn't like that - they like the revenue from the 12th game. But as a football coach, heck yeah. Most coaches that I know of would like at least one."

Unlike Appalachian State in 2007 - you knew that name would come up - DSU is far from a power in the FCS (formerly I-AA). The Hornets, coming off of a 9-7 loss to Bethune-Cookman, are just 1-3 and, like UM, has an injured quarterback. Anthony Glaud, who once backed up Tyler Sheehan at Bowling Green State University, injured his head last Saturday and may or may not play at the Big House. DSU coach Al Lavan told reporters that if Glaud is not cleared medically, freshman Nick Elko - 5 of 15 for 39 yards this year - will be promoted.

"We're going to prepare for the starter," Rodriguez said. "I think regardless of the quarterback, they're going to run the same system."

Though they may not be particularly overjoyed to play this game, the Wolverines have to appreciate the timing of it. UM has lost two straight games, there are injuries at key positions, and the defense is in flux in the secondary. This isn't the best time to play a key conference game, but the Wolverines are treating Saturday's affair as they would a Big Ten clash on ABC's primetime slot.

"It doesn't matter if we're going up against Iowa, Penn State, Delaware State, Ohio State - we want to play the best game we can," offensive lineman David Moosman said. "You guys [media members] could come out here and we'd probably play the same."

The media wasn't too kind to UM following the last and only other time the Wolverines played a FCS opponent. It has been two years since Appalachian State recorded one of the most memorable upsets in college football history. It should come as little surprise that the embarrassing memories from that day in 2007 are resurfacing two years later.

"I knew I was going to get that question," said Woolfolk, who made his college debut against Appalachian State. "I don't believe in playing toward your competition. You have to play at your best regardless of the competition because you never know what might happen."

FORCIER, BROWN PROBABLE: Concussion victims Tate Forcier and Carlos Brown were listed as probable for tomorrow's game on the team's weekly injury report released last night.

Contact Ryan Autullo at:

rautullo@theblade.com

or 419-724-6160.



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