“Nobody is a pushover team on our schedule.” Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson.
As the Michigan prepares for its 133rd year of football, what awaits them is one of the most challenging schedules in the program’s storied history.
The Wolverines not only open up the season against Alabama, the defending national champions. The Maize & Blue also have the daunting task of taking on ten bowl teams from a season ago. Senior quarterback Denard Robinson addressed this issue at Big Ten Media Day.
“I mean, we’ve got ten teams on our schedule that were in bowl games last year,” Robinson told GoBlueWolverine.com. “And the other two are pretty good teams too. So when you look at it, we’ve got to be ready to play. Every week we have to be ready to play. Nobody is a pushover team on our schedule. Nobody is an underdog. Nobody is a team that we overlook. Nobody.
“(Against) everybody, we have to come play Michigan football. And in order for us to do that, we have to get ready right now. We have to be ready to play at Fall Camp. We have to be ready when we get back (to Ann Arbor). And be ready to train as hard as we can. Take no days off and be ready to perform for the University of Michigan. And be ready to perform for each other—so we can know that we gave it our all this season.”
Michigan coach Brady Hoke has been through a similar schedule with the Wolverines before. Hoke was an assistant on the 1997 Michigan team that beat seven ranked opponents on their way to the AP national title. As far as the challenge for 2012, Hoke points to the tough road slate.
“You know, I think every year is different, but obviously we are playing ten bowl teams,” Hoke said. “We are playing five of those bowl teams on the road. So, you know, playing on the road always has its—I don’t want to say difficulties, but a uniqueness about it. Every stadium is different. You don’t have 114, 000 where you know maybe 112,000 are rooting for you. So there are always those distractions that are there.”
Adding to the challenge are road night games at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas versus Alabama, and at Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Purdue. Michigan redshirt senior safety Jordan Kovacs said the Maize & Blue will go through a “gauntlet” of a schedule this season.
“Yeah, I mean, it is truly a gauntlet,” Kovacs said. “I mean, this is probably one of the toughest schedules in the Big Ten, and probably one of the toughest in our history. You start off with the defending national champs. You’ve got the tough out of conference schedule. You’ve got Notre Dame at night on the road as well. We are playing Nebraska at night on the road. We’re playing Purdue primetime. We’ve got a lot of tough opponents on the road at primetime. We’ve got Ohio State. It is going to be a very tough schedule.
“The key is to take it one game at a time,” Kovacs said. “I’m sure that you have heard that a thousand times today. It truly is what it is. You know you start with Bama, you can’t look past them, let me tell you that. You start with the defending national champs, they are going to get all of your attention. Then from there on you go towards Air Force and UMass. You truly have to take it one game at a time and never get ahead of yourself.”
As for Michigan redshirt junior offensive tackle Taylor Lewan—the good-natured giant sees the upcoming schedule in a little different way.
“It’s awesome,” Lewan said. “I think it is a great opportunity for us. I think you come to the University of Michigan to play teams like Alabama, like Michigan State, like Ohio State. It’s an exciting process. I think it’s going to be real fun this season.”
And how will the Wolverine fans see it? We all know the answer to that one …