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Alabama Michigan follow Alabama tight end Michael Williams, left, pulls in a touchdown pass in front of Michigan linebacker Jake Ryan (90) and safety Jordan Kovacs during the first half Saturday night at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Michigan lost 41-14.
Alabama tight end Michael Williams, left, pulls in a touchdown pass in front of Michigan linebacker Jake Ryan (90) and safety Jordan Kovacs during the first half Saturday night at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Michigan lost 41-14.
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Published: Monday, 9/3/2012

UM attempts to regroup after Alabama blowout

BY RACHEL LENZI
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

ANN ARBOR -- Was Saturday's loss to defending national champion Alabama a measuring stick of sorts for the Michigan football team?

After the 41-14 whipping, Brady Hoke sized up his team's situation.

"I would think we're on the short end of that measuring stick right now," Hoke said. "I mean, we've got a lot of things that I know we can do better. I've seen us do it better."

Michigan must regroup for its home opener as it hosts Air Force at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

After the loss, the Wolverines pinpointed their shortcomings and while they won't necessarily retailor, they expect to re-examine a few measurements -- a process that likely won't be enjoyable.

"It's going to hurt watching the film," said Michigan safety Jordan Kovacs. The defense gave up 431 yards of offense. "But at the end of the day, we have to watch it and make the corrections."

Quarterback Denard Robinson placed part of the blame upon himself. He completed 11 of 26 passes for 200 yards, far short of a dynamic performance many anticipated.

"I didn't play as the Michigan quarterback," Robinson said. "I've got to step up and be more accountable."

It was a collective loss, and Michigan will have to focus on several key areas in preparation for its first meeting since 1964 with the Falcons, who defeated Idaho State 49-21 at home Saturday.

With tailback Fitzgerald Toussaint expected to rejoin the Wolverines after serving a one-game suspension, Michigan will have the opportunity to establish its running game. Against Alabama, the Wolverines finished with just 69 yards on 29 carries and forced Robinson and backs Thomas Rawls and Vincent Smith to scramble.

"I can't guess if we missed Fitz or not," Hoke said of Toussaint, who ran for 1,041 yards and nine touchdowns on 187 carries in 2011. "That's hypothetical."

In turn, a more fluid running game will likely take pressure off Robinson, who finished with 27 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown.

The reshuffled offensive and defensive lines will have to continue to mesh after being manhandled by the Crimson Tide.

"We didn't get our blocks very well from the defensive standpoint, and then we didn't tackle the run very well," Hoke said. "We had an opportunity to tackle and we didn't tackle very well."

After the hoopla of playing at Cowboys Stadium and on national television, the Wolverines will have to take a new mentality into the week.

"It's just one game," receiver Jeremy Gallon said. "We've got 11 more to go. Get back home, get in the film room, fix our mistakes, and get ready for Air Force. It's on us. We made mistakes, we didn't execute or start fast. It's not on them. It's our fault."

INJURY REPORT: Hoke did not know the status of linebacker Blake Countess and offensive lineman Taylor Lewan. Countess suffered a leg injury in the first quarter and left the field on crutches, while Lewan injured his leg in the fourth quarter and was visibly limping on the sidelines.

Contact Rachel Lenzi at: rlenzi@theblade.com, 419-724-6510 or on Twitter @RLenziBlade.



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