Commentary

Will Hoke bestow No. 1 jersey?

Coach says it's not out of question for Robinson or WR to wear number

Updated: April 14, 2012, 4:26 PM ET
By Tom VanHaaren | WolverineNation

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- As spring games go, there typically isn't a great deal of excitement that comes out of it. The most intriguing aspect actually came after the game, when coach Brady Hoke was asked about the possibility of giving out the No. 1 jersey for this season.

"We'll consider it,'" he said.

[+] EnlargeEdwards
Donald Miralle/Getty ImagesWill someone wear Braylon Edwards' No. 1 jersey in 2012?
Even more interesting, the answer was given after being asked if quarterback Denard Robinson could be a potential recipient. The main candidates more than likely would be Robinson and wide receiver Roy Roundtree.

"I really don't even think about it like that," Roundtree said." If the coaches give it, then they give it. I'm still rocking the No. 12 for now and working hard. It would be special for any wide receiver on the team. It takes hard work and dedication."

Typically the No. 1 jersey is given to a wide receiver, so it was odd to have Robinson in the conversation. Former receiver Braylon Edwards, who has started a scholarship fund for the jersey, has been very vocal about how sacred the jersey is. His sentiments aren't the general consensus from all former receivers, though.

"I don't have anything to do with (the No. 1 jersey), that's a Braylon thing," Desmond Howard said. "Why would I care if (Robinson) wears the No. 1 jersey as a quarterback? I don't know the whole thing, so you're asking the wrong person."

Whether Robinson actually is being considered for the jersey is unknown, but it seems unlikely despite Hoke's answer. Robinson thinks it would be an odd situation and doesn't consider himself in the running.

"That's an off-the-wall question; 16 is my number," he said. "I feel it's a receiver thing, but if they wanted to give it to me, I don't know what I'd do with it."

Denard sits as coaches see backups

Robinson didn't see much action in the spring game, as backups Devin Gardner and Russell Bellomy took the majority of the snaps. Gardner seemed to struggle in the glorified practice, despite receiving high praise for his performance throughout spring ball.

Bellomy at one point was 6-for-7 passing for 40 yards, and the incompletion, according to offensive coordinator Al Borges, was a mechanics issue. The redshirt freshman even caught the eye of Howard and seemed to have the best day between himself and Gardner.

"Russell always wants to learn. I've got to see him on the scout team, and see him making the throws he was making," Roundtree said. "For him to come out here and get comfortable, I feel like he could compete."

Running backs shine

The quarterbacks weren't the stars of the practice, though, as the running backs stole the show. Fitzgerald Toussaint and Thomas Rawls showed glimpses of their abilities. Rawls had two touchdowns and has started to pick up the offense more and more as he has been giving the defense fits consistently throughout spring.

"Rawls is like the equivalent to a bowling ball, he just always keeps his feet moving," defensive end Craig Roh said. "Rawls is my new favorite player on the team. The way he runs ... it's fun to watch. He'll just throw guys."

As a bigger back, Rawls might have more opportunities to throw opponents as a one-two punch with Toussaint this season.

Rawls did a good job showing toughness and breaking a few tackles on the day, and he made it hard for the defense to bring him down. The defense was a main question mark coming into the day, as Michigan has lost some big components from last season, particularly on the line.

Quick hits

The day was a success in terms of the team being able to learn from what happened, watch film and get better, not having inclement weather and also serving its main purpose as a charity. The event raised $161,079.54 in donations for Mott Children's Hospital, not including text donations. ... Joey Burzynski started at left guard over Elliott Mealer in the biggest surprise in the first unit. ... Linebacker Desmond Morgan left with a knee injury, wide receiver Jerald Robinson tweaked his ankle, Brandin Hawthorne had an elbow issue earlier in the spring which required surgery (though he was able to play in the game and even had an interception), and linebacker Kenny Demens said he hopefully will be getting the turquoise cast off his left wrist later Saturday.