Seth Broekhuizen took over the kicking duties after the Notre Dame game. (John T. Greilick / The Detroit News)
Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said during the preseason and early in the regular season that competition would be open at most positions.
He probably didn't think that would be the case 11 games into the season.
But that's the situation the Wolverines' place-kicking. Redshirt freshmen Seth Broekhuizen and Brendan Gibbons have combined to go 4-of-12 on field-goal attempts this year. Gibbons was the starter at the beginning of the season and went 1-of-4.
With sixth-ranked Wisconsin (9-1, 5-1 Big Ten) visiting Michigan Stadium on Saturday for the Wolverines' final home game, Rodriguez said Wednesday during his weekly teleconference it will be a game-time call who will handle the kicking.
"I wish I could tell you," Rodriguez said. "We alternated Gibbons and Seth with the first field-goal unit both (Tuesday) and Monday. Seth was probably a little bit more productive. We're going to continue to do that (this week) and even in pre-game Saturday and determine who will be the first guy out there Saturday at kickoff."
Broekhuizen has missed his last two field-goal attempts, including a 42-yarder at Purdue last Saturday. He also missed an extra point in that game. The Wolverines are 0-of-4 on attempts of 40 yards or more and 3-of-7 from 30-39 yards.
Rodriguez has said throughout this season that both kickers have fared well in practice.
"The frustrating part with me and the athletes — they've done really pretty well in practice," he said. "It's just not carrying over to a game. Sometimes when you're sitting out there and it's cold and raining (as it was at Purdue) and you're called out there, it's a tough skill to do.
"Seth, I have a lot of confidence in him and Brendan has had his moments. The frustrating part is we know they can do it."
Rodriguez said Broekhuizen and Gibbons will continue to work on their mental approach to kicking.
"We'll keep putting pressure on them in practice and see if they can deliver on Saturdays," Rodriguez said.
Starting defensive lineman Ryan Van Bergen said last week that he kicked field goals at Whitehall (Mich.) High and said he could definitely kick an extra point if needed. He made a kick in pregame warm-ups at Purdue.
"I was hoping he wouldn't hurt his toe," Rodriguez said, laughing.
Martin, Mouton 'better'
It appears the Michigan defense will get a boost with the anticipated return of starting nose tackle Mike Martin and starting linebacker Jonas Mouton for the Wisconsin game.
Martin missed the Purdue game with nagging injuries to both ankles, while Mouton was out with a pulled chest muscle.
"Mike and Jonas are better," Rodriguez said. "Jonas is still a little limited in practice. But he did most of everything yesterday. Mike practiced fully, so that's good news."
Adam Patterson started for Martin and Mark Moundros for Mouton against Purdue.
Rodriguez said the only lingering issues from the Purdue game were the concussion-like symptoms suffered by starting left tackle Taylor Lewan and tailback Mike Shaw. Lewan told his coach he thought he might have taken a hit in the first half.
"They were limited yesterday," Rodriguez said. "We didn't do much hitting anyway but they were limited, and they will be a little limited today."
Right tackle Perry Dorrestein has missed the last two games with a knee sprain but he is expected to return for the Wisconsin game. Mark Huyge, who started for Dorrestein the last two weeks, could start for Lewan. Rodriguez said Ricky Barnum could also play at left tackle.
Freshman quarterback Devin Gardner still has lower-back issues and did not practice Tuesday.
By the numbers
22 — Michigan victories against Wisconsin at Michigan Stadium (against five losses).
78 — Rushing yards Denard Robinson needs to set an NCAA record for a quarterback.
2006 — The last time Wisconsin was 9-1.
Michigan kickers are 4-of-12 on field-goal attempts. Here is the breakdown:
Connecticut — Missed 43 (Gibbons), made 24 (Gibbons)
Notre Dame — Missed 39 (Gibbons), missed 40 (Gibbons)
Massachusetts — Missed 38 (Broekhuizen)
Bowling Green — No attempts
Indiana — No attempts
Michigan State — Made 34 (Broekhuizen), missed 42 (Broekhuizen)
Iowa — Missed 38 (Broekhuizen)
Penn State — Made 37 (Broekhuizen)
Illinois — Made 35 (Broekhuizen), missed 39 (Broekhuizen)
Purdue — Missed 42 (Broekhuizen)
He said it
"We're going to be ready to play."
— Michigan senior cornerback James Rogers, when he was asked about the possibility of closing the season with wins over Wisconsin and Ohio State.