MADISON — This is one of the all-time worst stretches in the history of the Michigan defense.

Since padding the stats against Delaware State, the Wolverines have given up more than 1,800 yards and 156 points in four games. As a frame of reference, it took 11 and a half games for Michigan to surrender that many points in 2006.

Two quarterbacks — Penn State’s Daryll Clark and Wisconsin’s Scott Tolzien — have each thrown four touchdown passes during that skid. Before this season, just four quarterbacks had ever reached that feat against the Wolverines. Even the much-maligned 2008 defense isn’t on that list.

And even though Brandon Graham called Michigan a second-half team after the Iowa game, the Wolverines have been outscored 99-19 after the break in the past four games.

The Michigan defense is bad. Understatement. The Wolverines have given up 309 points this season, four more than at this point last season, which was the worst statistical defense in the history of Michigan football.

But that’s not what this column is about. It’s not hard to point out that the unit is bad. What I want to know is who is being held accountable.

Rich Rodriguez will answer questions about the defense in his press conferences, but the head coach is notoriously hands-off with the defense, focusing instead on the other side of the ball.

His defensive staff should be answering some of the questions. Where are the halftime adjustments? What was going on with switching Donovan Warren to safety? How did Wisconsin “keep getting stuff behind us,” as middle linebacker Obi Ezeh said?

But they won’t even give reporters the time of day.

Greg Robinson has talked to the media once in the last four weeks. That one time, he was briskly walking toward Schembechler Hall as myself and another reporter tried to keep up and ask him a few questions.

After the Wolverines were torn up for 500 yards against Purdue?

“Not today,” Robinson said to reporters. His defensive line coach Bruce Tall also declined comment.

What about this week?

Linebackers coach Jay Hopson told reporters he didn’t want to talk and then said, “Greg will handle that.” Robinson exited the locker room five minutes later. He said no, looked back and said, “You guys — tomorrow. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

There has never been media availability on a Sunday, and Robinson has never come to a midweek press conference.

Last season, I almost felt bad for Scott Shafer. Every week, the defense looked inept. Every week, Michigan gave up big play after big play. But every week, as it became more obvious that Shafer wasn’t fitting in and was probably going to be let go at season’s end, the defensive coordinator still forced a smile on his face, asked reporters how they were doing and let them grill him for a few minutes.

Robinson should be more than comfortable with fielding tough questions. He had to have gotten his fair share of them while he was the head coach at Syracuse, when his teams went a combined 10-37.

As the defensive coordinator of the Michigan Wolverines, you should be willing to answer questions about your unit — even when you give up 45 points and the questions will undoubtedly be negative. Robinson should feel compelled to at least give an update about the defense every once in a while, even if it’s for nothing else than the100,000 people packing the stadium every Saturday, for one of the most loyal fanbases in college sports.

I’m not asking for much. Just answer a few questions.

— Reid can be reached at

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