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Published: Monday, 12/31/2012

OUTBACK BOWL NOTES

Hoke, Spurrier mum on quarterback decisions

Michigan, South Carolina dealing with injuries

BY RACHEL LENZI
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

TAMPA — Although Brady Hoke won’t reveal the Michigan coaching staff’s plans for Denard Robinson, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier is playing coy when it comes to his team’s quarterback plans for the Outback Bowl.

Spurrier said quarterback Connor Shaw is 100 percent after recovering from a foot sprain and that he plans to start Shaw on Tuesday at quarterback, but also said Dylan Thompson will see playing time against the No. 19 Wolverines.

RELATED ARTICLE: Robinson’s UM final act at home

In a 27-17 win Nov. 24 against Clemson, Thompson played in place of Shaw and finished 23 for 41 passing for 310 yards and three touchdowns, with one interception, against the Tigers.

In 10 games this season, Shaw is 136-202-7 passing for 1,732 yards and 15 touchdowns, while in 10 games, Thompson is 59-117-2 for 910 yards and eight touchdowns. Both play in an offense that relies primarily on its running game.

“I don’t know how it’s going to play out,” Spurrier said. “I don’t know which quarterback will play most of the game. I hope it doesn’t turn into one of these, ‘well you messed up, you go in. Well, you messed up, you go back in.’ I’m hoping it’s not going to turn into that. But we really believe both these guys deserve a chance to play. And maybe the guy who’s playing the best continues playing.

“But again, we plan on one guy playing most of the game.”

RECORD FOR ROH: Michigan defensive end Craig Roh will play in his final game Tuesday, but Roh will leave with a record in hand.

The Outback Bowl will mark Roh’s 51st consecutive start for the No. 19 Wolverines.

“It means consistency, and really, the little things,” the senior said. “Concentrating on the little things.”

Michigan coach Brady Hoke cited Roh’s dedication to maintaining his health as a factor in his consistency.

“He’s very much into his body, and making sure that he’s doing the right things to keep himself healthy,” Hoke said. “But it’s a heck of a tribute to him.”

Roh earned his first start in Michigan’s season-opening 31-7 win against Western Michigan in 2009, and has been in the Wolverines’ lineup ever since. He is currently tied for the school record for career starts with former Michigan offensive lineman Jon Jansen (1994-1999).

“At that first game, I had no idea I was going to start for the next four years,” said Roh, who came to UM from Arizona as a linebacker. “I was thinking, I need to practice my best for the next game, and then for the next game. I think, ultimately, living in that present moment, has gotten me this far.”

Roh initially came to Michigan from Arizona as a linebacker but in 50 games with the Wolverines, he has 148 tackles (79 solo), including 26.5 tackles for a loss of 127 yards. Roh also has 10.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and an interception.

“Ultimately, it’s been a blessing in disguise,” Roh said. “I think my versatility is something that’s going to help me in the future.”

SUNDAY FUNDAY: Michigan held its final full practice Sunday at Tampa’s Jesuit High School, which was closed to the media. South Carolina also held its last full practice Sunday at Tampa’s Jefferson High School, and both teams spent the afternoon at the Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort in Clearwater, Fla.



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