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Published: Monday, 10/21/2013 - Updated: 9 months ago

UM WOLVERINE FOOTBALL

UM using bye week to prepare for MSU

BY RACHEL LENZI
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Hoke Hoke
AP Enlarge

ANN ARBOR — Two days after record-setting performances by his team’s quarterback and top wide receiver, Michigan football coach Brady Hoke admitted he didn’t step back and take in his team’s gaudy numbers.

Instead, he considered how the Wolverines could utilize their bye week to build on a season-best offensive output, and to prepare for the heart of their Big Ten schedule.

The No. 24 Wolverines (6-1, 2-1 Big Ten) accrued a season-high 751 yards in Saturday’s win over Indiana, a team that’s known more for its high-tempo offense than its lack of defensive prowess. Those numbers — including Jeremy Gallon’s 369 receiving yards and Devin Gardner’s 503 passing yards — will become a building block for UM as it prepares for November, when it faces four Legends Divisions opponents in Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern and Iowa, and Ohio State.

“The guys did some really good things, from the protection standpoint to being able to run the football, which took movement at the line of scrimmage and took good vision by Fitz [Toussaint],” Hoke said Monday. “The receivers down the field blocking is something that I enjoy, and just the production that they have, we liked a lot of that.”

Yet even at the start of the bye week, Hoke is already looking ahed at Michigan State, which hosts Michigan at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 2, and whose defense is much, much different than Indiana’s.The Spartans lead the Big Ten and the NCAA defensively, allowing 228 yards a game.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do before then,” Hoke said.

Facing the Spartans could solidify Michigan’s identity — for better or for worse — which has zigzagged across the charts in its first seven games of the season. One week, the Wolverines took down Notre Dame, and in the following weeks had to eke out late-game wins against Akron and Connecticut.

“I doubt you’ll get the answer until you go out and play, and Michigan State is a heck of a test,” Hoke said. “They’ve got a very good football team, so I think we’ll find out more after that game.”

Hoke is uncertain as to whether the timing of his team’s second bye week of the season is opportune. But he and his staff have set a few tasks during its downtime.

“Obviously, we’ve got to clean up the things we didn’t like,” said Hoke, whose team will practice Thursday, Friday and Sunday. “The timing, you never know until afterwards, but it’s probably good for where we’re at. We’ll take some time, heal up and lift, and as coaches, we’ll be in a little bit more and start looking at Michigan State.”

ACL INJURY: Hoke said offensive lineman Joey Burzynski will miss the rest of the season because of a torn ACL, an injury sustained in the first half Saturday against Indiana.

Burzynski, a redshirt junior and a former walk-on, made his first career start at left guard against Indiana. He’s the fifth player to sustain an ACL tear since the start of spring practices — linebacker Jake Ryan, quarterback Russell Bellomy, defensive lineman Ondre Pipkins and running back Drake Johnson also sustained the same injury.

GALLON HONORED: Wide receiver Jeremy Gallon was named the Big Ten’s offensive player of the week after a record-setting, single-game performance in Saturday’s 63-47 win over Indiana.

Gallon’s 369 yards receiving set a school and Big Ten record, and is the second-highest single-game NCAA output. Louisiana Tech’s Troy Edwards set the single-game record of 405 yards in 1998.

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



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