Fifth-year senior linebacker Kenny Demens took a detour during a vacation this summer to drive past Cowboys Stadium. He didn’t get too close to the stadium, and he didn’t want to go inside.

He snapped a few photos, and then left, but that was enough for him. Demens just wanted to see in person the stadium that he had been dreaming about.

Just four days remain before the game in Texas, and few outside Schembechler Hall predict a Michigan victory. On Tuesday, Demens allowed himself to ponder what an upset would mean for the Michigan football program.

“I dream about it every day,” Demens said. “If I had to call it putting Michigan back on the map, I would say yes. Just the whole Big Ten-SEC thing and just for Michigan itself, it would mean a lot for the people who played here in the past and the guys last year who got the ball rolling.”

For fifth-year senior tackle Elliott Mealer, preparations for Alabama began months before the won the starting right tackle job. In January, Mealer gathered with a few friends to watch the BCS National Championship game — specifically to scout Alabama.

“We were watching them and keeping notes on which guys were back,” Mealer said. “For me going, ‘Alright, this guy’s a redshirt junior, he’s going to be a senior next year, let’s see how he plays.’ ”

Mealer said he hasn’t thought about what a victory would mean. Preparing for the Crimson Tide since January, after all, has given him enough to think about. Plus Mealer has had a position battle to concentrate on.

He said he is just focused on playing well, not on what winning would feel like.

“If we win the game, we’ll see the excitement,” Mealer said.

Senior defensive end Craig Roh echoed Mealer’s thoughts. Roh said he’s not interested in any extra meaning a win will have against a heavily-favored Alabama team. A win is a win.

“I just play,” Roh said. “I really don’t have much time to go on the Internet and search for ‘Michigan underdog.’ ”

RAWLS HEALTHY: Offensive coordinator Al Borges denied any implication that sophomore running back Thomas Rawls will not be available on Saturday. Rawls had missed time over the weekend with an undisclosed injury.

“Thomas Rawls is fine,” Borges said.

Rawls will likely handle much of the load in the backfield if redshirt junior Fitzgerald Toussaint remains suspended. On Tuesday, Toussaint pled guilty to driving while visibly impaired, a misdemeanor, after he was arrested on July 21 and charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Michigan coach Brady Hoke said the legal proceedings will not affect his decision on Toussaint’s status.

BIGGER IN ‘BAMA: Alabama released its depth chart on Tuesday, and there were no surprised along the offensive line. The front five are very good. And they’re big.

Each starting lineman weighs in at more than 300 pounds. Right tackle D.J. Fluker is the most physically imposing at 6-foot-6 and 335 pounds.

The Crimson Tide average 314 pounds on the offensive line, outweighing the Michigan defensive front by an average of 22 pounds.

Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said he has been working with his defense to counter Alabama’s combination blocks. In its simplest terms, a combination block is when one offense lineman disengages from a defensive lineman to attack a linebacker.

“They’re as good a combination block offensive line as I’ve seen,” Mattison said.

One way to neutralize a strong combination blocking team is through penetration. And that’s where Mattison has a bit of a problem. Since he arrived at Michigan, he said, he’s had trouble gauging whether his line is generating enough penetration in practice.

“You don’t ever know if you’re getting pressure or not because that guy who doesn’t tie his shoes all the time just takes off running,” Mattison said. “You go, ‘Well, I don’t know if that would’ve been successful or not.’ ”

Mattison has adjusted so that in practice, his defense isn’t entirely focused on stopping Robinson but rather, simply getting pressure.

“That’s something on defense, getting shell-shocked or nervous because of what you would do against Denard,” Mattison said. “Because Denard can make you look really stupid.”

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