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Wolverines leave cold for Outback before Christmas

The Michigan Wolverines arrived in Tampa on Sunday to get acclimated to the warmer weather and continue preparations for the Jan. 1 Outback Bowl.

Michigan coach Brady Hoke promised his players a fun Christmas Eve tonight and the team will take Christmas Day off. Then it's back to work.

"It's not a vacation," senior right guard Patrick Omameh said. "It's a business trip."

South Carolina, Michigan's Outback opponent, will arrive Wednesday. The Gamecocks have practiced in Columbia, S.C., where the temperatures have been in the low 70s.

Hoke has remained mum on how exactly senior quarterback Denard Robinson, who missed 2 1/2 games and hasn't thrown a pass since Oct. 27 when he injured a nerve in his right (throwing) arm, will be used. So South Carolina is preparing two quarterbacks, as well. Devin Gardner has filled in for Robinson.

For the Gamecocks, Connor Shaw is the projected starter and has recovered well since tweaking an ankle that held him out of the regular-season finale against Clemson. He has battled ankle and shoulder injuries all season, but South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said this week that Shaw is running better than he has during the last month.

South Carolina also expects to play quarterback Dylan Thompson. While Shaw is considered the better runner, Thompson has the better arm.

"The more tape we watch on (the Wolverines), the more we know what a big defensive front they have with the defensive line and linebackers," Spurrier said.

Michigan co-captain Jordan Kovacs said that even though the Outback Bowl is not a BCS bowl, the focus is clear.

"If you know Coach Hoke, you know it's not going to be less intense," said Kovacs, referring to the team's preparation. "You want to go have a great time, but at the end of the day it's about winning the ball game."

FAU WR to leave: Duron Carter, the son of former NFL star Cris Carter, is leaving the Owls program, coach Carl Pelini confirmed to the website Owl, and could be headed toward the NFL draft. Academic eligibility was a constant issue for him.

Southern Cal: Quarterback Matt Barkley still has not practiced since injuring his shoulder Nov. 17, leaving his status for the Dec. 31 Sun Bowl against Georgia Tech uncertain. Max Wittek could make his second start.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Wolverines leave cold for Outback before Christmas 12/23/12 [Last modified: Sunday, December 23, 2012 10:35pm]
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