‘Give ’em the works, Cubby! We ain’t got a minute to lose! This ain’t a newspaper story — it’s a career! Why, they’ll be naming streets after you!’
It seems to me that Denard has few deficiencies as a QB at this point, and the ones that come to mind are more mental than physical (i.e. some minor ball security problems while running the ball, decision-making issues like knowing when to tuck and run, etc).
However, there is one physical deficiency of his that sticks out to me - touch. His arm is very powerful, and that's great for throws 20 yards and under. However, it seems that when he tries to make throws longer than that, ones that require more touch, he's almost always long. That deficiency has been pretty consistent this season. Thus teams like Iowa playing a saftey ten yards behind the receiver on deep passes.
My question is, "Can touch be taught?" I tend to think you can gain a little more of it with a lot of practice, but for the most part it's unteachable. It's more of an innate athletic instinct, and I'm not sure how much progress Denard will be able to make on it. It's like the huge guy in high school who would punch you in a "just kidding around way", all the while not knowing that he hit you in a "I want to hurt you" way instead. Many of the people on this board tend to say that when Tate goes in, you get nothing new, just more throwing and less ground speed. I tend to disagree. I think one major advantage Tate brings is his touch on the long throws. That's why he's very dangerous on late drives that require a lot of throwing. I really hope Denard can get a better feel for deep balls, but I'm just not sure that you can practice your way into that skill.
Angelique Chengelis has a new article up at the News (http://detnews.com/article/20101116/SPORTS0201/11160402/1131/sports0201/Rich-Rodriguez--Denard-Robinson%E2%80%99s-body-of-work-bigger-than-one-game)Rodriguez makes an obvious observation:
He has not had (recently) some of those huge games like he had, but I still think he's had pretty good production," Rodriguez said Tuesday during the Big Ten teleconference. "What's hindered him the last couple weeks has been the turnovers. He had some pretty good production in the last game (against Purdue), but the turnovers kind of overshadowed that."Nothing really new, but RR doesn't sound too upset. He, like all of us, wants to see Denard hold on to the ball, and make better passing decisions. The next two games will be interesting on that whole score.
Twelve Vandals Vandalizing? Twelve Aggies, um, agging? Also, I avoid picking on two teams in consecutive weeks only out of the goodness of my heart.
Western pulled out a barn-burner against Eastern, locking up second place in the MAC Trophy. Signs of life from the EMUs/Eagles/Hurons for next year? Both teams were +/- 500 yards of offense, but Eastern was a more grind-it-out than the Western air raid.
Speaking of track meets, Tulane beat Rice 54-49. Our boy Sam McGuffie had 15 carries for 71 yards and a TD for the Owls. I'm not sure what a Rice Owl looks like, but can't help but wonder if it's anything like a Corn Snake.
Last, Tennessee clobbered Ole Miss 52-14 and is now awarded the title of Tennessissippi. Karma continues to catch up to Jeff Masoli, and he was 7/18 for 80 yards and 3 INTs. Tennessee was up 21-0 after the first quarter, and cruised from there.
Rutgers plays Cincinnati for sole possession of the Big East basement. That's saying something given the way the Big East has gone this year. Rutgers has lost to North Carolina, and squeaked out close wins over the likes of Army and FIU. Cinci can't point and laugh at that resume, either. Since their close loss to Oklahoma, they've been pounded in conference by West Virginia and Syracuse. Rutgers is offensively challenged, and Cinci is equally fair-to-middlin' on both sides of the ball.
Out in the WAC (slogan: The WAC is the new MAC!), Idaho plays Utah State in another leg of the Mormon Bowl. Idaho got thumped, as expected, by Boise State last week. Utah State is on a two game win streak, but the wins are against New Mexico State and San Jose State. So that's like keeping count of the number of times you hit the floor when you drop a ball. Aww yeah, three in a row, baby!
This week's "Sir Not Appearing in this Diary" award goes to Eastern and Tennessee. Eastern plays Buffalo in what is sure to be an ugly game. For no reason other than sympathy, I'll avoid making that a game to watch (or, rather, not watch). Maybe it will be snowing as well. Tennessee versus Vanderbilt also avoids the eyeball for the week, if only because Tennessee seemed like an actual football team last week, and may just paste Vandy and move on.
One last note goes to Appalachian State against Florida in the "If There's a God, Smite The Gators" bowl. I've got no good way to handicap D-IA schools, but still, c'mon, karma!
An interesting perspective below from a team that is well-known for it's own "downhill rushing offense".
From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
Wisconsin DC Dave Doeren:
"You see a more true downhill running game when Denard is the quarterback," UW defensive coordinator Dave Doeren said. "They do the same zone read with both of them.
"But Denard will get the ball in the shotgun and they've got two lead blockers plus the O-line and he makes things go.
"Forcier is an accomplished passer. I'm not saying Denard can't throw. But I'm saying there are going to be more route concepts you're probably defending when Forcier comes in the game.
"There are just more drop-back throws. With Denard there are more play-action, sprint-outs and bootlegs. Not a lot of drop-back passes."
UW DL Coach Charlie Partridge:
He is so fast that if you lose him for a second he can make you pay dearly," UW defensive line coach Charlie Partridge said. "You've got to be aware of where he is at all times . . .
"He can make you miss well enough that if he does make a guy miss he can be gone. I've known who this kid is for a lot of years from recruiting down there in Florida. He is a little bit of a local legend. I'm very aware of how fast he really is."
UW HC Bret Bielema on Denard:
"Robinson, everybody wants to talk about him running the football," UW coach Bret Bielema said. "He looks very special doing that . . . I know he's had some picks, some bad decisions, but he's got a live arm. Because of what he can do in the running game, he really throws your secondary and linebackers in isolated coverages.
Noon kick off.
Less time for the truck drivers to get there drink on. To all going, be safe.