Notebook: Rodriguez hopeful for league-wide NFL-style injury reports

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Daily Sports Editor
Published September 14, 2009

Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez’s impact on the Big Ten could go beyond the playing field.

At last spring’s conference coaches’ meeting, Rodriguez proposed the Big Ten come out with an NFL-style weekly injury report.

“I didn't stand on the table and pound my fists or anything,” Rodriguez recalled. “I just thought it was a good idea, and most of my colleagues did at the same time.”

Such reports are useful information for media and fans, but perhaps more importantly, they mitigate behind-the-scenes scheming in sports gambling.

Rodriguez’s suggestion didn’t become league policy, but individual teams can adopt the measure on their own terms. The Wolverines released their first-ever injury report last Thursday before their game against the Fighting Irish.

Northwestern adopted the policy last season, and Indiana also currently releases weekly injury updates.

Of the six major NCAA conferences, just the Atlantic Coast Conference releases a league-wide report. Conference bloggers for will often assemble lists from various news sources and, a free service which compiles injuries from across the country.

If gamblers manage to learn through unauthorized sources which athletes are injured and to what extent, they can gain an ill-gotten advantage.

A 2003 USA Today story on online sports gambling cited a study conducted by the NCAA in 1998 that found that of 758 Michigan student-athletes surveyed, 35 percent had participated in sports gambling and five percent of male college athletes “had either provided inside information for gambling purposes, bet on their own games or accepted money to play poorly.”

As college football coverage has increased in recent years, so have the stakes.

“That's a great fear for all of us coaches is people that don't have the best interest of the young men at heart, maybe they'll ask somebody, 'Hey, how's so and so doing?' ” Rodriguez said. “And we've told our team, if it's outside our team and your family, outside your family asking about you, you don't talk about that, because of that very same reason.

“I think the policy protects the young men, it protects the program, and to me there's not much you can do about it anyways. The guy's shoulder is dislocated — it's dislocated. It's not going to change from tomorrow to today.”

Denard staying put: It might seem tempting, but freshman quarterback Denard Robinson won’t be using his blazing speed on the Wolverines’ return team.

Although it seems his speed could be used elsewhere, like as it was at slot receiver on a couple occasions against Western Michigan, Rodriguez confirmed yesterday that Robinson will continue practicing at quarterback.

Despite freshman signal caller Tate Forcier’s dominance Saturday, Forcier, Robinson and redshirt junior Nick Sheridan all still share the No. 1 spot on the Wolverines’ depth chart.

“Robinson's a quarterback, and he's going to play a big role for us at quarterback this year and probably for several years to come,” Rodriguez said. “Everybody wants to anoint someone after two weeks and, Tate played well, but Denard's played well, too, and he's had a chance.”

Moosman out: The Wolverines will be without right guard David Moosman this Saturday against Eastern Michigan. Against Notre Dame, the fifth-year senior left the game in the fourth quarter with a shoulder injury.

Last Saturday, right tackle Mark Hugye slid over to cover Moosman’s spot and left tackle Perry Dorrestein replaced Hugye on the right side.

Rodriguez mentioned right guard John Ferrara or left guards Elliott Mealer and Ricky Barnum as possible replacements or moving Hugye over again.

“We rep our twos as much as our ones on offense,” Rodriguez said. “Lots of people give their first team maybe four or five reps and the second team two reps. We make it equal. Again, our pace allows us to do that. But I think it also helps develop our second team.”

Awards update: Forcier’s 240 yards and two touchdowns on 22-of-33 passing Saturday earned him the Davey O’Brien Foundation’s Quarterback of the Week award. The award automatically adds Forcier to the O’Brien Watch List, which recognizes the nation’s top quarterback.

Six other quarterbacks received votes this week, including Southern Cal’s Matt Barkley and Central Michigan’s Dan LeFevour.