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Robinson’s status still unknown


Michigan head coach Brady Hoke, left, and quarterback Denard Robinson, right, call over the offense during a timeout in the third quarter of an NCAA college football game against Minnesota, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012, in Minneapolis. Robinson did not play because of an undisclosed injury.


ANN ARBOR — Patrick Oma­meh won’t deny it. De­nard Robin­son has be­come the de facto face of the Mich­i­gan foot­ball pro­gram.

“It would be hard to ar­gue that he’s not,” said Oma­meh, a se­nior of­fen­sive line­man for the No. 23 Wol­v­er­ines. “He’s a leader at Mich­i­gan foot­ball, in many ways, and a guy who’s be­come very im­por­tant to not just the teams he’s been on, but to the pro­gram.”

But since a 23-9 loss Oct. 27 at No. 16 Ne­braska, Robin­son’s face has been ab­sent from the play-call­ing and shrouded from the me­dia as he con­tin­ues to re­cover from an in­jury to the ul­nar nerve in his throw­ing arm.

The in­jury has side­lined him for the past two games, and it raises a ques­tion: Will Robin­son play Satur­day for Mich­i­gan (7-3, 5-1 Big Ten) in its fi­nal home game and on the day the pro­gram’s se­niors are hon­ored?

It was dif­fi­cult to ex­tract much in­for­ma­tion in re­gards to Robin­son’s sta­tus from Mich­i­gan coach Brady Hoke dur­ing his weekly me­dia avail­abil­ity Mon­day at Schem­bech­ler Hall. Hoke de­scribed Robin­son as “day-to-day,” but didn't give much in the way of clar­i­fi­ca­tion in re­gards to Robin­son’s avail­abil­ity, ei­ther Satur­day against the Hawkeyes (4-6, 2-4) or for the re­main­der of the sea­son.

“I won’t have any­thing to do with it,” Hoke said of mak­ing that de­ci­sion. “His health is what will have to do with it.”

If Robin­son does not play Satur­day, does Hoke have any par­tic­u­lar emo­tions about it? He an­swered in broad terms.

“Any time a guy can’t fin­ish the way that they would like to, be­cause of in­jury or what­ever, you’re dis­ap­pointed for them,” Hoke said. “They’re all our sons.”

Still, Robin­son’s ab­sence on the field would be glar­ing. He’s wind­ing down his se­nior sea­son and his ca­reer as one of Mich­i­gan’s bright­est and most recog­niz­able play­ers. Even this sea­son, he has ce­mented him­self as one of the Big Ten’s more pro­lific rush­ing quar­ter­backs, de­spite miss­ing the Wol­v­er­ines’ last two games.

Robin­son is third in the Big Ten in rush­ing (118.2 yards a game), third in to­tal of­fense (283.1 yards a game), sixth in all-pur­pose yards (118.2 yards a game) and sev­enth in pass­ing av­er­age (164.9 yards a game).

Yet while Devin Gard­ner has emerged as a re­in­force­ment, pass­ing for 286 yards and two touch­downs in his sec­ond start this sea­son Satur­day against North­west­ern, there is a sen­ti­men­tal swing to­wards Robin­son, who has dressed and been on the side­lines for the Wol­v­er­ines in wins at Min­ne­sota and at home against North­west­ern.

“He’s a source of en­cour­age­ment,” Oma­meh said of Robin­son’s side­line pres­ence. “He’s the kind of guy, what­ever he can do for the team, no mat­ter what the ca­pac­ity is, he’s go­ing to try and do that.”

How much does Oma­meh hope Robin­son gets the op­por­tu­nity to play?

“Ev­ery­body wants to go out the way they dreamed, com­ing into Mich­i­gan,” Oma­meh said. “How those things un­fold, it’s out of my hands. But you have to play the hand that you’re dealt.”

When asked to imag­ine what it would be like not to be able the fi­nal games of his se­nior sea­son, se­nior de­fen­sive end Craig Roh of­fered a hy­po­thet­i­cal an­swer, but of­fered some in­sight into Robin­son’s psy­che.

“Per­son­ally, it would be a lit­tle bit of a tough sit­u­a­tion,” Roh said. “But that’s the great thing about De­nard. He, re­ally, does not seem fazed by any of the stuff he’s go­ing through right now. You give credit to the re­sil­iency that he has, and I think that’s some­thing that’s spe­cial about him.”

BIG TEN HONORS GARDNER: Mich­i­gan quar­ter­back Devin Gard­ner earned Big Ten Co-Offen­sive Player of the Week hon­ors on Mon­day. Gard­ner — who was 16 of 29 for 286 yards pass­ing with two touch­downs — shared the weekly award with Wis­con­sin run­ning back Mon­tee Ball, who rushed for 198 yards and three touch­downs Satur­day against In­di­ana.

BROADCASTS ANNOUNCED: ESPN will broad­cast Mich­i­gan’s fi­nal home game on Satur­day, a noon start against Iowa. ABC will broad­cast Mich­i­gan’s reg­u­lar-sea­son fi­nale Nov. 24 at Ohio State.

Con­tact Rachel Lenzi at:

rlenzi@the­,419-724-6510 or onTwit­ter @RLen­ziBlade.

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