Marcus Jackson’s chat with the wolverinenationespn.com writer Michael Rothstein
Quarterbacks who turn the ball over aren’t always very popular. How is it that Denard Robinson is still so beloved there?
It’s actually an interesting question and one I’m not totally sure I know the answer to. Guess the best answer is he makes so many good plays, beat Notre Dame two straight years in dramatic fashion and helped knock off Ohio State last season. Plus, his mistakes had never been a huge reason for losing a game — at least until Notre Dame this season. The other part of it is he comes off as a genuinely nice, humble guy, which I think helps people mentally forgive some of his on-field gaffes.
Has Denard Robinson learned how to tie his shoes yet?
I could be wrong, but I’m guessing he actually knows how to tie his shoes. He just doesn’t do it. Has actually lost his shoe three times this season during runs, including a 58-yard touchdown run without a shoe.
Is there a sense in Ann Arbor that old-school Michigan football is back?
Yes and no. I think there’s a sense of that mentality returning with the information flow out of Schembechler Hall screeching to a halt and Brady Hoke being, well, less than forthcoming with the media. On the field, though, still a ways to go. The offense isn’t what Hoke and offensive coordinator Al Borges want to run yet and the defense isn’t at the level they’d like. I think there’s a sense they are close — especially if Michigan has a strong Big Ten season combined with last year’s result and incoming recruiting classes — but not all the way there yet.
Is the top-5 basketball team getting any attention up there, even though this has been a rather pedestrian football season?
Basketball? What’s that? I’m kidding, of course. There is genuine excitement about this year’s team, mostly because of the return of Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. and the recruiting class John Beilein brought in headlined by Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary. Add a new arena and past recent success and there is optimism around this Michigan team. But football will always be tops at Michigan.
Give us a prediction.
Michigan by a lot, say 41-10, mostly because Illinois has not shown it can hang with many teams this season and the Wolverines will probably be on the higher end of the teams they play. Illinois’ best chance Saturday is if Michigan is caught looking ahead to Michigan State.