Michigan zeroes in on Alabama as game-week commences

No update on Toussaint, Clark

When the bright lights of the nation's attention shine on Cowboys Stadium this Saturday night, hoopla will take a backseat to execution as Michigan tries to upset Alabama to open the 2012 college football season.

"We have a great sense of urgency," said safety Jordan Kovacs, who was named co-captain of the team Sunday afternoon.  "We're playing, arguably, the best team in college football and that's why you come to Michigan is to play in those huge games and sure enough that's what we have week one, playing the defending national champs down in Dallas, national TV.  You wouldn't want it any other way."

"That's what you come to Michigan for," said Robinson.  "To be a part of something like this, to be a part of a big game like this and make the most of this opportunity.

"And make sure you play football like Michigan football should be played."

Robinson enters the season as one of the top players in the country, positioned to become one of the most productive quarterbacks in NCAA history.  

He was named a captain Sunday afternoon, the first quarterback at Michigan to receive the honor since John Navarre in 2003.  

Alabama head coach Nick Saban likened Robinson to former Auburn star and Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton, and also said his ball-fakes are like those you typically see on a basketball court.  

"They're going to be a fast and physical team," said Robinson.  "They have great coaches and a great staff and if you look at the stats from last year they were one of the teams that didn't give up too many yards on defense."

Head coach Brady Hoke was non-commital on whether running back Fitzgerald Toussaint or defensive end Frank Clark will play on Saturday.

Hoke said a decision on both players participation would be made "soon."

Wide receiver Roy Roundtree, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery earlier this month, will be ready to play on Saturday.  

"I kept practicing on it all week and never thought it was anything, and then the last Thursday it just went out on me," said Roundtree.  "When they said your MRIs are back and you might have to have surgery I was like, 'Ah, don't tell me that, not my senior year.' But then they said you'll have microscopic surgery so it won't be that bad."

Roundtree is the most experienced and accomplished of the receivers Robinson will look to include in the offensive gameplan.

The spectacle of playing at Cowboys Stadium isn't lost on the players, who gave mixed responses when asked if they'll take a minute to soak it all in Saturday night.

"Obviously you don't want to get distracted.  It's gonna be a huge game," said Kovacs.  "They've got those big jumbotrons that are, what, from the thirty yard-line to the thirty yard-line?  Whatever they are.  

"I'm gonna try and soak it in though.  It's going to be one of the biggest games I've ever played in and the biggest season opener I've ever played in."

"You can't be looking around doing all that stuff, you've got to be focused on the game," said tackle Taylor Lewan.  "It's going to be cool to walk in with that big screen or whatever it is.  I've never been there, but I'm excited to play a game there."

Michigan and Alabama are scheduled to kick off at 8:12pm this Saturday.  You can watch the game live on WXYZ.   

Follow Tom Leyden on Twitter @TomLeyden

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