I am not a man. I began as one, but now I am becoming more than a man, as you will witness.
– Francis Dolarhyde, Red Dragon
After the Iowa game last year, my nervous system instantaneously rushed to the precipice of meltdown every time Denard Robinson stepped onto the field. Mixing equal parts of anxiety and exhilaration yields a volatile cocktail. There were times when I couldn’t stand up because I was so nervous; only once or twice but, regardless of frequency, that ain’t right. Trembling calves, bated breath, dilated pupils, thumping heart. Then, a money Chewbacca impression; happy or sad, the reaction was the same. I can’t have been the only one.
There was good reason for such a strong pavlovian response. It seemed as though the outcome of a play with Robinson under center was the random result of the flip of a coin—tails: utter disaster, heads: spectacular success, on edge: just another play. Denard threw interceptions at a nauseating 13% rate on 31 passes. However, he also scored touchdowns 7% of the time on 100 total touches. Forcier only produced TDs a little over 3% of the time. Think about that for a second, Forcier had 399 touches last year and scored 13 TDs…Denard, theoretically, could’ve had 28. Those numbers are ridiculous to quote because Denard touched the ball so infrequently last year, but it isn’t fair to quote his turnovers without also quoting his TDs.
Anyway, eight months later we are faced with another batch of the cocktail, this time with a twist. A full offseason and a spring practice session have apparently yielded a thrilling prospect, Denard can throw. Maybe we can actually stomach the elixir and keep it down. That prospect sparks at least two questions. The first, how much could he have realistically improved? I mean, there’s improvement, and then there’s being good; the latter is not guaranteed. The second question is, who do you play, Tate or Denard? In this diary I hope to rigorously estimate an answer to the first question and hopelessly flail at the second.
Sorry if anyone is getting upset about all of the NCAA 11 posts, but I have not yet seen this topic. New to NCAA 11 is the option to sub players into what ever position you want for all different formations, this feature existed on the old generation of console games but this is the first year that the next gen console games have this option. I am starting Tate at QB, but I am wondering what are some good formations (and subsequent location) to sub in Denard for trick plays or just to run with him? I am trying some different locations but I have yet to find any trick plays where thte RB/WR has the option to pass. Any ideas from those who have messed around with this feature?
Like many of you I got NCAA 11 yesterday. I have not started my dynasty yet as I am waiting for named rosters to be released for the PS3. So, for those of you doing Michigan dynasties: Who are you gonna start at QB? I'm leaning towards Denard after I just beat ND 35-12 and Denard was 9-11 passing with a TD, had 62 rushing yards and 2 TDs, and had a 63 yard TD reception. Tate was just 3-10, with a TD pass to Denard.
Sidenote: Formation subs rock. I'm putting Denard all over the field.
I know Tate seems to be a pretty popular guy around here, but I guess I just had to ask if anybody else finds him to be a bit cocky/kinda douchey. No doubt he is a good football player, but I can't help but feel like if he were the starting QB at any other big ten school (even ones we traditionally don't have much animosity for like Northwestern) many of us would probably point out that he seems like a douchenozzle.
As a current student I've seen both Denard and Tate around the Union some (havent talked to either of them personally) and Denard is usually laughing about something and talking with regular students. Tate, on the other hand, seems to keep more to himself, keeping himself relatively separated from the random student body.
But more than that, and more than just a general sense of arrogance I see when he talks to the media, one specific thing sticks in my mind. A couple days after an article came up (I think it was on rivals but I'm not sure) praising Denard's strides as a QB in the spring game, Tate put the article up on his facebook "wall of shame" and added the comment "I was against the 1s he was against the 2s." Personally if Tate can't get excited for a teammate's success, even at the same position, then I find myself really not wanting to root against him.
Obviously as a UM fan/student I'll be rooting for Tate's success every time he touches the ball, but I can't help but feel a really strong hope that Denard somehow manages to win the starting job outright and Tate transfers in 2011 (when DG would be able to be a solid backup as a RS Freshman). Personally this is not a guy I want to have to cheer for and not a guy I want representing my school. Undoubtedly an extremely unpopular opinion here but I just wanted to see if literally anybody else on this board feels the same way.
I was looking for my daily football fix/methadone, and came across these free stories from Rivals. Neither story is glowing but were 72 day away from "the most wonderful time of the year".
Story on Denard & Cam:
Nugget on Obi:
Nothing new or informative but it's something to read at work.
Edit: fixed title, thanks chunkums, it was partical board.
This is just going to be fairly brief, but I really feel optimistic about the outlook for this season. First, a few brief thoughts about last season. Michigan was about 6 inches away from 6-6 (Illinois), and a few "bad bounces" away from 8-4 (MSU and Iowa). With this view, we should all be thinking that 8-4 is certainly reachable.
Let's start at the very beginning. (A very good place to start!) Back at Center, we will see David Molk, who should be fully healed from his injury. Molk is potentially an all-conference center who can anchor the line. As far as the rest of the O-line goes, I'll let people smarter than me about these things tell you more, but from what I understand, it seems like signs are good that the team will be as good or better than last season on the offensive line.
I'm not going to weigh in on Denard vs. Tate at this time. (So what if that makes me chicken!) But at the very least, we should have a QB that is better than last season's QB. Tate is healthy, and with one more year of experience and work should be better than he was last year. Denard is beginning to look like a real QB, and not just a TB who occasionally throws the ball. By all accounts the sophomore version of Shoelace should be better than the freshman version of Forcier. So barring the double gut-punch injury to BOTH QBs, we should have a better QB than last year. Also, the competition this season between the two seems more active, which should make the current starter (whomever that may be) have to work harder to stay in that role. This means that the starting QB should be improving even more than last season. In the doomsday scenario, both of the best options get injured and we have (OMG) yet another true freshman playing QB in Devin Gardner, which--let's face it--is still better than a walk-on. In all liklihood, the starting QB at Michigan should be better than last season (and doesn't that make you feel better too?)\
Ok, so Minor and Brown (and Grady) graduated...and this is maybe a little sad. But Minor or Brown was hurt almost every week and Grady rarely saw the field. It seems like the important thing to have here is depth. And this Michigan has, perhaps even in abundance. There is some experience in this system for guys like Shaw and Smith (who should be healthy again). And this gives me hope that the status quo will be maintained and this group is at least as good as last season.
This year, Michigan has lost Matthews and Savoy (who I fondly remember for those catches against Notre Dame...happy thoughts!) But Hemmingway and Stonum are back on the outside. And Odoms and Roundtree will be awesome in the slot. Maybe Koger gives us a decent middle of the field threat, you know, the one we hoped he would be last season. There is plenty of reason to be optimistic with this skill group as well.
So to summarize, the offense should be better, in just about every phase of play this season. This might even make up for not having a space emperor (of space) winning the field position battle so often. We can always hope, right?
There can be hope with this group too. Briefly, can it really be worse than last season?
You don't lose Brandon Graham and get better. But Martin, VanBergen, Roh, Campbell, and Segasse make a good nucleus for DL depth. Who will step up? It is possible that the DL is still the strength of the defense this season.
Ok seriously. It can't get worse. Right? Please? If I close my eyes and wish really hard, does that make it so? Maybe this change in scheme we heard about is really about simplifying life for the LBs...and this can be a group that doesn't kill us on Defense. It's still the off-season, so I can be optimistic. Just ask any Lions fan you know (for whom the off-season, and sometimes, the preseason, are the best times to be a Lions fan).
Again, it can't get worse, can it? The big questions to answer. Will we have a reliable deep safety that doesn't get burned at least once per game? Will we have the athletes at corner to play adequate coverage? I think that there are enough hands on deck in that position group to be effective.
So in summary, the defense might even be adequate this season. Nobody will mistake them for one of the stellar defenses of the past (see 1997) but they should make do.
I think we can all crawl back from the ledge. I can't wait for September 4th to come!...And not just because it will be my 6th anniversary! ;)