Denard Robinson rested, recharged for bowl

Denard Robinson can't put a percentage on his health at the end of the regular season, but he knows this much.

"I know I wasn't all the way to 100 percent," the Michigan sophomore quarterback said. "There's been a lot of down time lately. It helps to get a lot of treatment in."

Michigan needs Robinson to be refreshed and recharged for its matchup against Mississippi State in the Progressive Gator Bowl. No Big Ten player had a bigger role in their team's fate this season than Robinson, the league's Offensive Player of the Year and the nation's No. 3 rusher (1,643 yards).

Although the lead-up to the bowl has given Michigan's much-maligned defense time to self-evaluate and grow, it's hard to imagine the Wolverines beating Mississippi State without a huge performance from "Shoelace" and the nation's No. 5 offense.

"These guys get to the ball pretty fast," Robinson said. "They've got an active front four, linebackers are pretty good and the secondary's not too bad. So I've got to be on my A-game."

A native of Deerfield Beach, Fla., Robinson is thrilled to be back in his home state. He estimates he'll have about 30 friends and family members in the stands for the bowl game.

"It's a big deal," Robinson said. "Great feeling to be back home. I'll have a lot of people come out and support me. I just thank God for giving me the opportunity to do it."

The uncertainty surrounding coach Rich Rodriguez's future at Michigan has been a hot topic leading up to the Gator Bowl, although Wolverines players are trying to avoid the incessant speculation. According to Robinson, Rodriguez has been "the same guy since when I first came in" leading up to the bowl.

Robinson's success this season appears to be the biggest reason for Michigan to retain Rodriguez, especially since the sophomore quarterback is such a perfect fit for Rodriguez's offense.

"If it was up to me, I'd tell them he has to come back," Robinson said. "We had a pretty good season, and our future's really bright. We've got a young team and we're just starting to jell now.

"I see us in the future winning a national championship or moving in the top 10."