"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
Michigan fans hoping for the ability to play with more size later this year will have to hold tight for another year, and Ben Cronin fans are out in the cold, as he may never play college ball again:
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan men's basketball coach John Beilein announced today (Tuesday, Dec. 29), redshirt-freshman center Ben Cronin (Syracuse, N.Y./Hemminger HS) will miss the remainder of the 2009-10 season, and more than likely the remainder of his career, as he continues his rehabilitation on his left hip.
"Above all, our chief concern has always been for Ben's current and future health," said Beilein. "Following his hip surgery last season, we were hopeful that Ben would be able to return for this season.
"Unfortunately, there have been complications with this particular injury which have prevented him from progressing like we had hoped. Consequently, Ben will not play the rest of this season, and more than likely for the remainder of his career. This is a very difficult decision that has everything to do with the quality of Ben’s life after basketball.
"Obviously this was not an easy decision to make, but we agree with our doctor's assessment that Ben's chances for a full recovery and to play a full time college basketball schedule are slim. He will remain on scholarship and we will continue to support his rehabilitation and pursuits of becoming a teacher and coach."
"This has been a long process for my family and me, however, after meeting with our doctors I feel it is best for my long term health to focus on my hip rehabilitation and stop playing college basketball,” said Cronin. "I really appreciated basketball and I will miss it like crazy, but my faith will help me get through this. I continue to have wonderful experiences here at the University of Michigan and I am truly grateful for all the guidance and opportunities given to me. I am looking forward to continuing my rehab, having the opportunity to finish my degree and helping this program in any way that I can."
Cronin missed the majority of the 2008-09 season following season-ending surgery on his left hip, Jan. 14, 2009, at the University of Michigan Medical Center. Following his summer rehabilitation and being granted back his freshman eligibility from the NCAA, Cronin returned this season, but has been limited in his playing time due to the hip injury.
Overall, Cronin played in seven career games at U-M averaging 1.6 points and 1.3 rebounds.
Career-ending would be very bad news for Cronin, as well as the team. The silver lining is that it would open up an additional scholarship in the 2010 or 2011 class, with which Michigan would most likely offer a big man. Amir Williams out of Country Day is a big prospect in the '11 class, but it remains to be seen if Michigan can even wait that long.
Might we see the redshirts of Blake McLimans and/or Jordan Morgan be burned later in the year?
- Brandon Minor is doubtful for Saturday. His ankle is healed, but now the shoulder is a problem. He didn't practice at all yesterday, and they're hoping he can do a little today.
- Martavious Odoms should be healthy enough to play on Saturday.
- Carlos Brown should be full-go.
- Last week's Tate/Denard issue was overplayed. Tate and Rodriguez never "argued," but the coach was giving a coachly lecture. The two QBs split snaps with the first team last week (contrary to rumors), and Tate will likely start this week, though both will play.
- Carlos Brown, Mike Shaw, and Vincent Smith are considered co-starters for Saturday at this point. Kevin Grady will get some carries as well.
- Woolfolk is at corner because there were concerns with that position. Brown's position is almost like a nickel safety, rather than a linebacker, so that's a natural fit for him.
- Brandon Smith and Mike Williams are competing in practice this week for the starting safety spot.
- Obi Ezeh and Kevin Leach are still competing for the starting linebacker spot.
- Brandon Graham and MIke Martin are the only defensive players who graded out high in the Wisconsin game.
- The season's permanent captains have been decided, but they won't be announced until tomorrow afternoon - even to the players.
- If you can't get fired up to practice and play this week, something is wrong with you. The players still need to focus that energy towards improving to win the game, not worrying about the implications of the game.
- Rodriguez has not talked to Terrelle Pryor. Still, he's a talented player, and it will be tough to simulate him in practice.
- They'll run more more 1st team v. 1st team this week, in order to practice against the best in preparation for OSU.
- The CARA reporting issue was taken care of as soon as Rodriguez found out about it. He can't say anything else about it, however, as the NCAA investigation is ongoing.
- The team had higher goals this season than scraping into a bowl game, so regardless of the outcome on Saturday, the season will be a disappointment. However, it's not discouraging for the program, and the groundwork has been laid for future success.
- Taking the ball off the coin toss against Wisconsin was one of the few times Rich has ever done it. He wanted to get on the scoreboard early, and Wisconsin's students still hadn't made it into the stadium, so he thought it would give them an advantage.
- Brandon Minor practiced a little bit yesterday, and they're hoping he can go today. Minor is day-to-day with a shoulder injury from the Purdue game. Playing can't do any more damage, but he needs to get practice reps in order to see the field Saturday.
- Carlos Brown should be fully healthy for this week.
- Junior Hemingway is day-to-day with a back issue.
- Martavious Odoms is still day-to-day with his knee injury.
- David Molk's knee surgery will take place tomorrow.
- The coaches are still looking for linebackers that they can trust to play downhill. They aren't sure whether Obi Ezeh or Kevin Leach will start against Wisconsin. Both guys will probably play a lot. At 200 pounds, Leach is more the speed guy.
- More backups will probably get in this week because they're playing a physical opponent. It can destroy a young guy's confidence for the future to go in before he's ready.
- William Campbell got increased reps the other day. He still has a lot of technique to work on, but should be a very good player down the road. He's got the size that Michigan's defense needs.
- Patrick Omameh has won the right guard job. Mark Huyge and Perry Dorrestein will compete for the right tackle spot.
- The coaches wish they had been able to redshirt both Denard and Tate, as with all freshman quarterbacks. Denard is improving each week.
- The Wisconsin offense is different than Michigan has seen this year. They have big linemen, tight ends, and backs. They'll be a challenge for Michigan's smaller lineup.
- Michigan's troubles covering tight ends have been different issues each time. Wisconsin has 3 good tight ends, and they'll be a challenge.
- The team needs to move on from the last game, and just worry about this one.
- Players practice well, but sometimes they don't take that solid play from the practice field to the game. The coaches just have to keep on coaching them to fix this.
Your weekly dose of who's in and out for the weekend's game.
For the Purdue Game (Saturday, Nov. 7)
David Molk (knee)
Martavious Odoms (knee)
Questionable (50 percent chance of playing)
Greg Banks (foot)
Probable (75 percent chance of playing)
Zac Johnson (shoulder)
In addition, head coach Rich Rodriguez announced the game captains for the game at Purdue: linebacker Stevie Brown, defensive end Tim North, left tackle Mark Ortmann and slot receiver Ricky Reyes.
We already knew about Molk, as he's done for the year. At his press conference yesterday, Rodriguez seemed moderately optimistic about Odoms's chances of playing. Losing the team's best slot player is a downer.
As the captains go, I wondered earlier today if Ortmann would be named a game captain to spite the people who said he should be suspended. Not sure if that's the motivation, but the senior is indeed a captain.
For the Illinois Game (Saturday, Oct. 31)
Zac Johnson (shoulder)
David Molk (knee)
Probable (75 percent chance of playing)
Martavious Odoms (knee)
In addition, head coach Rich Rodriguez announced the game captains for the game at Illinois: running back Kevin Grady, defensive end Brandon Graham, wide receiver Greg Mathews and offensive lineman Tim McAvoy.
Odoms not playing or being limited would be a considerable loss; the other options at slot appear to be a meaningful dropoff, and Odoms had reclaimed the punt return job before the injury. Hemingway appears good to go, though, as does Warren.
Cissoko and the defensive backfield
- Boubacar violated team rules, and Rich Rodriguez simply enforced Boubacar's decisions by removing him from the team. Players know that's it's a privilege to play on the team, not a right.
- It wasn't explicitly asked, but Rodriguez's tone made it seem at times as though the window was still open for Cissoko to be reinstated. However, he said that they would help him try to get his career back on track at another institution, with no mention of a potential return. Further inquiries received the "let's talk about guys who play for Michigan" response.
- Despite losing Cissoko, Justin Turner is still on track to redshirt this year, and he's practicing exclusively at cornerback. Troy Woolfolk will stay at corner full-time, and James Rogers has moved to the position (which we knew a few weeks ago). JT Floyd is starting to get healthy again.
- Defensive back is still an area of concern for the team, but at this point, it will have to be addressed through recruiting.
- Brandon Minor practiced very little yesterday. That is related to the ongoing ankle sprain, not the bruised heel from Saturday's game.
- Odoms didn't practice yesterday, but he responded well to treatment, and is expected to practice today.
- Junior Hemingway practiced full contact yesterday.
- Tate mentioned that his shoulder was a little sore following the PSU game. However, he's fully healthy and will practice this whole week.
- It's better to have 2-3 backs that can carry the load than having to rely on one guy and being in trouble if he goes down. Minor's injury is part of the reason there has been so much rotation at RB.
- Greg Mathews had his best game against Penn State, and has been playing well overall lately. He's usually a quiet guy, but has been a more vocal leader in practice this week. RR speculates that may be due to seeing his career coming to an end.
- Carlos Brown was put at kick return to have two explosive options, and prevent teams from being able to just kick away from Stonum. He will stay on kick return.
- Odoms was removed from punt return only because of injury. When healthy, he will probably go back there.
- Despite having two different styles of QB, Illinois won't change their schemes too much on Saturday. They'll still have a spread offense, but probably run a little more with Juice, because he has a lot of running ability.
- The team's focus has been good all season. Even when they don't play well in games, it isn't due to a lack of focus or preparation.
- Kevin Leach and JB Fitzgerald got a little more playing time at linebacker on Saturday than they had been. That will probably continue.