Gator Bowl: No. 21 MSU (8-4) vs. Michigan (7-5), Saturday, 12:30 p.m., EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Fla., ESPN2 (Mike Patrick, Craig James and Todd Harris)
A handful of Michigan players addressed the media today at their downtown hotel this morning, including quarterback Denard Robinson. The super sophomore said he's fully recovered from injuries and the general beating of the regular season.
He's been making big plays in practices.
"It's a big boost to see him out there 100 percent," WR Darryl Stonum said. "He can make the passes that he was making at the beginning of the season. Just his body language – he's up-tempo, laughing around."
So let's hear first from Robinson as we run through the highlights of today's chats.
• On being recruited by Dan Mullen when he was Florida's offensive coordinator: "I basically committed to him. We had built a relationship on I'm probably going to be his quarterback one day."
• On practicing with cowbells: "They actually run up to you, shake it in your ears and stuff. It's kind of funny."
• On the cold weather (he's from Florida): "Everybody was talking about the Florida weather. It was like, I thought we were coming to Florida, not Detroit."
Now let's hear from Stonum, a junior and Michigan's second-leading receiver.
• On practices: "We're just kind of keeping things polished and just going over the game plan. We're not really grinding too hard, because we've already got that out of the way."
• On Robinson's scrambling: "Whenever he's scrambling, you've got to stay alive, because you never know where he's going to end up."
• On MSU's defensive backs: "They're tall, athletic guys, a lot bigger than what we've faced in the Big Ten so far. Tall, long arms, they like to jam you a lot. It's a good challenge for our receiving corps."
Here's center David Molk, a junior.
• On MSU interior defensive lineman Josh Boyd and Fletcher Cox: "Boyd's a little quicker. I don't know much about Cox. They're good players. They'll hit you hard, they run up the field. Nothing special."
• On watching other bowl games: "I don't watch a lot of football. It gets boring. I only like playing it."
And finally, tailback Vincent Smith, a sophomore.
• On what stands out about MSU's defense: "Their front sticks out to me, because they do a lot of stunts and stuff like that. We'll have to be more disciplined and maintain and pick up all those blitzing schemes and stuff like that."
• On Robinson's best play in practice thus far: "The best play was when he handed the ball off to me. (media laughter) I'm just playing. He made a couple of good reads in practice, and practice is going good so far."
• TODAY'S ITINERARY: A busy day lies ahead for yours truly and the teams. So here's where I'll be today, assuming I don't get lost and wind up in Panama City. (I'll use Central times, for your sake.)
–MSU player party at Jacksonville Beach, 12:30 p.m.
–Michigan outing at Adventure Landing, 2 p.m.
–MSU practice at North Florida, 4 p.m.
I've also got to find EverBank Field and pick up my game credentials.
• RANDOM NOTES: We were originally told that MSU was given 12,500 tickets, but a school official told me this morning that the number is actually 15,000. There were still about 700 tickets left for MSU fans as of last night. … A Michigan spokesman said all the Wolverine players are now in Jacksonville. Weather delays had kept a handful from reporting on time. … Michigan's practice will be open tomorrow, so I'll try to get out there and take it in. MSU's practices are closed all week, but we'll get coaches and players this evening.