Michigan Wolverines: Gerald R. Ford

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The time he’d seen before came in games long decided, when his role was to enter and finish the game without making any errors, not to have a say in the outcome of it all.

Yet when Denard Robinson left Saturday’s game with a hand injury in the first quarter, redshirt freshman Russell Bellomy was inserted into a game in the first half for the first time in his career.

[+] EnlargeRussell Bellomy
Lon Horwedel/Icon SMIRussell Bellomy played the first meaningful minutes of his career after Denard Robinson left the game briefly.
“I liked how he got himself ready. Liked how he got himself ready during the week,” Michigan coach Brady Hoke said. “But Denard comes out and he’s taking snaps and getting himself ready to go.

“He was composed and calm and wasn’t overexcited.”

Bellomy completed 1 of 3 passes against Illinois over two separate stints -- one replacing Robinson in the first half and another in the second half with the game in hand.

His numbers, though, could have been better than that. Both of his incompletions were drops, one by Devin Funchess and the other by Roy Roundtree, which hit him right in the hands.

“When Russ got him, I told him to just do him, man,” Roundtree said. “It’s great that he got out there and I wish he would have had some completions. I felt bad for him after I dropped a pass.

“He didn’t get on me but I’m pretty sure he got upset. I told him I got him next time.”

Not the worst loss: Roundtree remembered riding home from East Lansing last season on a quiet bus. Most players had headphones on instead of the typical ride home chatter.

While the loss stung, it wasn’t his most difficult at Michigan. He wasn’t sure which one would be, actually.

“Nah, I probably had several of those,” Roundtree said. “When I first got here, coming in as a redshirt freshman to the winningest program and having a down year that we had.

“I wouldn’t want to say it was the hardest, most brutal loss because I took a lot of ‘L’s’ back then.”

His first three seasons at Michigan were not win-friendly as the Wolverines won three, six and then seven games under former coach Rich Rodriguez.

Injury update: Michigan running back Vincent Smith, who missed Saturday’s game against Illinois due to a hamstring injury, is expected back for Michigan State. So is fullback Stephen Hopkins, who has missed the past few weeks due to a hamstring injury. ... Hoke and Robinson both said the quarterback’s hand is fine after missing a quarter against the Illini due to injury. ... Safety Jordan Kovacs, who has worn a brace on his knee the past two weeks, said he knee is “fine” and that his bright blue knee brace is “a fashion statement.”

This and that: Going along with not wearing red, Hoke said Monday he doesn’t remember the last time he has worn green, either. ... Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan, who is usually available weekly to the media, is not on the list of players for this week. Last season, Lewan and Michigan State defensive end William Gholston went at each other pretty well during the game. ... Hoke is planning on educating his team this week on Willis Ward, the second African-American to play at Michigan and the subject of a documentary about his benching due to racial issues when facing Georgia Tech on Oct. 20, 1934. The Michigan state senate deemed Saturday as Willis Ward Day.

Morgan honored to wear No. 48

October, 13, 2012
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The obvious connection didn’t initially enter Michigan coach Brady Hoke’s mind as he went through his selection criteria for who would wear the No. 48 jersey of former United States President Gerald R. Ford.

Sure, Hoke has a lot of players from the Grand Rapids, Mich. area on the roster. But he didn’t look at that as something which mattered when honoring one of Michigan’s legendary players and certainly one of its most successful after football.

It just worked out that way.

[+] EnlargeDesmond Morgan
AP Photo/Tony DingMichigan linebacker Desmond Morgan was awarded the honorary No. 48 jersey, formerly worn by Michigan player and former U.S. President Gerald Ford.
Hoke said he gave sophomore linebacker Desmond Morgan the No. 48 jersey because of what he does, not because of where he is from.

“It was very easy to choose Desmond because of his character and his integrity,” Hoke said. “Because of how he comes every day in our building, in the classroom, in the community. He’s a great kid.

“Really, the Grand Rapids connection didn’t really have a whole lot to do with it. When I felt I was going to do it with Desmond, then it kind of clicked in.”

Morgan is from Holland, Mich., about a half-hour southwest of Ford’s hometown of Grand Rapids.

“I’m quite honored and privileged to represent a former Michigan player,” Morgan said. “He was a standout person and player and on top of that, President of the United States. It’s such a great honor and I’m going to wear it proud.”

It also means two of the four Legends Patch jerseys given out belong to sophomore linebackers. Jake Ryan switched his jersey number earlier this season to No. 47 in honor of Bennie Oosterbaan.

This was something Ryan and Morgan, who could conceivably be anchors of the Michigan defense for the next two-and-a-half seasons, had already discussed.

“Having 47 and 48 as linebackers is pretty cool, being lined up with each other,” Ryan said. “Desmond definitely deserved it and he’ll definitely represent the jersey.”


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Joe Schad discusses how concussions and a concern over long-term health have helped Michigan center Jack Miller decide not to play football his senior year.