I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
I don't have anything to add to this one, and I don't want to bloviate for another 160-some words to make this pass the diary minimum, so here we are.
Denard Robinson is the most spectacularly explosive quarterback in college football today; I think few would disagree with that. Dilithium, Shoelace, Judge Dreads, Sonic, or whatever you want to call him-- the kid has got moves. Given the impressive results of the season so far (875 yds. of offense in TWO games!), critics seem to have only one refrain left to fall back on--
Yeah, you have a great QB, but with 28 carries a game he'll never survive through the Big Ten portion of the schedule. [side note: the Wall Street Journal wrote a textbook article summing up this objection today]
The point of this diary isn't necessarily to refute this argument, though it's relevant to the main question at hand, which is this: Is our offense incomplete without a home-run-hit running back?
ON THE QUESTION OF CARRIES:
Last year we had a 4-headed rushing attack (Minor, Brown, Smith, Shaw), of whom only two rushers returned, Shaw and Smith. Although they split carries, it is worth noting that in the entirety of the 2009 season, neither Shaw (42 attempts) nor Smith (48 attempts) had as many carries as Denard has had in two GAMES, a total of 57.
While Denard is not the first incredible dual-threat quarterback in recent years to rack up yards on the ground and through the air, his carries are pretty far out there. Vince Young and Pat White both never averaged more than 16.5 carries a season while playing for Texas or WVU, respectively. Tim Tebow did manage to net an impressive 18 carries a game during his senior season, often in battering-ram, short-yardage plays, but even then, a pretty far cry from 28.5. Again, this isn't to say "ZOMG INJURIES" but more so to note that even the most successful dual-threat quarterbacks of the past decade have had far more balanced offenses that relied on fewer QB rushes than Michigan has thus far.
These numbers should come with the caveat that Denard will be getting far fewer touches against UMass, Indiana, and Bowling Green. Furthermore, with regard to risk for injury, he is being tackled mostly be second-level defenders, as opposed to getting gang-tackled by linemen, as is more often the case with dedicated running backs. That being said, as before, this is not a question of risk of injury (though that is relevant), but rather:
Why Are We Not Relying More On Running Backs?
Well, the answer isn't too difficult to see at the moment. Thus far this season, the numbers are underwhelming for both Shaw and Smith:
In the Notre Dame game, our non-Denard rushing attack was a paltry 30 yards. On the season, both RBs are averaging 3 yards per carry for about 10 attempts a game. These are underwhelming numbers.
Yet that's pretty surprising that for an offense as capable as Michigan's of producing jaw-dropping 87-yard rushing touchdowns on any given play when Denard touches the ball. And it is also puzzing that behind a very competent senior-laden O-Line, the longest play for scrimmage for a running back thus far this season is 15 yards.
I submit to you that this doesn't mean that we should rely on Denard more, but rather, that Rodriguez needs to dial up more run plays to establish a rhythm and determine where our RB attack is going to come from this year, because right now, that's pretty unclear.
Obviously these numbers can be expected to go up, and yes it is only 2 games, but at the moment, the Michigan offensive identity is basically all Denard Robinson, all the time. If he can't get the ball into Roundtree's hands or seems stymied on the ground at some point in a close game, what are our other options? Is it balanced to put that much weight on one player's shoulders? How successful have we been in establishing a rhyhthm running the ball with our RBs, or even discovering reliable homerun-threat running plays? Even Pat White could hand off to Steve Slaton every once in awhile when the pressure was on:
If past history is any precedent, a balanced offense and healthy QB play necessitate fewer carries by Denard and higher-level RB play. People keep saying "Rodriguez has finally found his Pat White-style quarterback," but they forget that effective Rodriguez offenses also had unbelievable stud running backs like Steve Slaton and Noel Devine lining up in the backfield, too. Amazing as our offense is, I really don't think we're that close to the ceiling, yet.
As we are only seeing the beginning of the Denard Robinson era, hopefully the current offensive balance is just a part of the growing pains and we'll be able to keep terrified opposing D-Coordinators up at night fearing runs, throws, or QB keeps equally.
Although Wendy's is awesome(#7 with no tomato and a mountain dew), I figured I would take up some board space and talk about some Michigan Football and how impressed I was with the way Shaw ran last week and how that bodes well for us in the future.
If I was more savvy with the interwebs I would link the play, but when Shaw took that swing pass for about 20yds and was horse collard down against UConn it reminded me of Minor Rage. I think that Shaw gleaned a lot from Brandon and it looks like he might be emulating Minor's style of running going forward. He still likes to dance a little(which I think is his original style), but he showed signs of straight murder against UConn.....and I love to see that.
I hope to see a great performance from Shaw today. He will be the player of the game IMO because of all the hype over Denard.
That being said I love me some V Smith. That guy is shifty and fun to watch. They both are going to have to rack up some yards for us to get a W. GO BLUE!
I was hoping that someone can shed some light on the progression of several of the running plays against UConn that went to Michael Shaw. To me, and untrained observer, it appeared as though several of the Shaw rushes in the 1st half were broken plays of sorts, or at least some kind of misdirection plays where Shaw changed direction after handoff. To me, it appeared as though Shaw was headed for a hole that never materialized and then changed direction. It seemed as though Denard had a better line of attack for the run and should have kept it himself (as if he didn't do enough already). Did I miss something? Were these runs some kind of veer or misdirection play? Regardless, they each went for positive yardage.
I apologize in advance for not knowing enough to link the video footage. I refer everyone to the previous Board poster that posted video of every offensive play a few days ago.
UMgoblog Is reporting on Twitter that sources say Shaw is eligible.
Breakdown: Shaw was mean to an unpadded osu player last year. During a dinner at Coach Jacksons house there were airsoft guns. They are HIGHLY dangerous. RR recruits bad people to represent the school. Also, MGOBLOG is involved.
Yes,I know the whole thing is just stupid. It involves the blog we love and one of our top running backs, although meaningless it is still "news".
I went back 8 pages on the MgoBoard and didnt see anything that looked like it had anything to do with this, so if it was posted then neg away.