Still, DR is a great talent, and we are very fortunate to have him.
Had to check. It's true. No Bo-era option QB (that is, 1970s QB) put up total yardage figures anywhere approaching what Denard Robinson has put up after three games this year.
Denard's numbers thus far: 559 rushing yards, 671 passing yards, for 1,255 total yards.
Compare to these REGULAR-SEASON numbers for Bo's starting QBs, circa 1969-78 (the '69 and '70 teams played 10 reg-season games; all others 11):
DON MOOREHEAD, 1969
-- 625 rush
-- 1,261 pass
DON MOOREHEAD, 1970
-- 368 rush
-- 1,167 pass
TOM SLADE/KEVIN CASEY/LARRY CIPA, 1971
-- 347 rush (combined)
-- 675 pass (combined!)
TOTAL: 1,022 (combined)
DENNIS FRANKLIN, 1972
-- 511 rush
-- 818 pass
DENNIS FRANKLIN, 1973
-- 542 rush
-- 534 pass
DENNIS FRANKLIN, 1974
-- 290 rush
-- 933 pass
RICK LEACH, 1975
-- 532 rush
-- 680 pass
RICK LEACH, 1976
-- 638 rush
-- 973 pass
RICK LEACH, 1977
-- 370 rush
-- 1,109 pass
RICK LEACH, 1978 (*include bowl game)
-- 611 rush
-- 1,283 pass
In other words, Denard has more total yards in three games than Bo's option-heyday starting QBs had in an entire 11-game season in 1971, 1973, 1974 and 1975. And the most total yards any Bo QB had in a season (before he loosened the passing reins for Steve Smith and Jim Harbaugh in the '80s) was Rick Leach's 1,894, in his Heisman finalist year of 1978.
(According to gutsnglue.tripod.com, the unofficial Rick Leach website, the 'Flint Phenom' rushed for 100 yards only once in 47 career starts, whereas Denard is 3-for-3 so far.)
At this rate, Denard will eclipse the 1,894 figure in 2-3 weeks -- at or before the halfway point of this season.
Now, granted, each of those Bo QBs had deep, talented backfields behind them, whose FBs and TBs annually combined for roughly eleventy billion yards (OK, but well over 2,000 anyway), so there was no need for them to run -- or even pass -- as much as Denard has been doing.
Still, the comparisons are rather remarkable.
Still, DR is a great talent, and we are very fortunate to have him.
So the 1st stringers may have played less than a full game at times. Also, overall, the Big ten teams were weaker back then, again giving the starters more time on the bench.
Back before the 85 scholie limit, those other teams didn't have a chance.
Nice job! It might be interesting to compare total yardage produced by the backfields since Denard takes the majority of the carries as opposed to halfbacks not to mention fullbacks that used to carry as often as the QB.
Yeah, but compared to 1904, Denard is barely scoring any TDs. 1/2 point a minute? WEAK.
from 1999-2000. Dantzler was a spectactular runner, scorer and a decent downfield passer as well.
Robinson is probably better than Dantzler was at both running and throwing. He's definitely way faster.
Amusing to me that back then nobody seemed to give a godamn that Michigan's Rick Leach was taking major hits play after play by SS and LBs over 48 games. College quarterbacks don't sissy slide like a Joe Theismann, they lower their effing shoulder and get the extra yardage.
Running an Option I offense all the time was very rewarding and effective during that era, but had it's risks, as Franklin's broken collar bone, Leach's perpetually injured hamstring and Wangler's shattered knee clearly demonstrated. Injury is part of the game, even for QBs.
... Franklin broke his collarbone in the 73 OSU game on a dropback pass. Ditto Wangler.
Leach never missed a start in 47 games (Bo chose to start Mark Elzinga in Leach's only non-start).
My memory -- and my ample video-tape collection supports this -- is that Bo's QBs didn't get seriously hurt much, but when they did, it was on dropback passes, or flukey plays (eg, Harbaugh breaking his arm diving for a fumbled ball).
They also were expert at not taking direct hits -- something Denard has to learn. Leach always ducked or weaved or spun at just the right time.
Just a nitpick, but this would be better in a table.
Wangler didn't injure his knee running the option, or running with the ball for that matter. He was cheap-shotted in the 1979 Gator Bowl against North Carolina by one Lawrence Taylor. Wangler, along with Anthony Carter, had already set a Gator Bowl record for passing yards in one half, so Taylor had to put an end to that. Wangler went back for a pass, and was sacked by Taylor. Even though Wangler was already on the ground, Taylor continued to twist Wang's knee, and that was the end of the Gator Bowl for Wangler. He'd actually been a decent runner prior to that, but Taylor took care of that. B.J. Dickey wasn't able to pick up the slack in relief of Wangler.
Your larger point about how nobody back then worried excessively about the QB taking hits is absolutely on point, though. While all of us in the stands watching Slade and Cipa and Franklin and Leach hated to see them limp off the field, nobody was kvetching either locally or nationally about Bo unnecessarily exposing his QB to injury. It was freaking football, fer chrissakes.
As insightful as you reposting tweets, mgoubiquitous.
If you look at the games with the most yards for Michigan Quarterbacks, they are almost all very recent: Henne, Navarre, Brady, and now of course Robinson. The "3 and a third / cloud of dust" strategy didn't exactly rely on lots of yardage.
You might try comparing Denard to Eric Crouch and Tommie Frazer (sp?) and some of the Nebraska option QBs who won MNCs. Granted they had talented backfields too. But they probably won't quite have the same passing #s that Denard has. Big difference? Those guys had some nasty defenses giving them the ball back.
Hey if he's getting Heisman hype, maybe he should be compared to others who got Heisman hype too. (FWIW I'm too young to know if any of the aforementioned MI QBs were ever in the Heisman discussion.)
In those days, Nebraska had one of the best steriod (oops, I meant S&C) programs in college sports. Their players looked bigger, stronger, and faster than everyone else. Even walk-ons would often come in at 195 as freshmen and become 270-300 pound linemen by the time they were redshirt seniors. The wait gain was usually referred to as the player being "corn-fed."
Nebraska's decline started almost exactly when the NCAA started cracking down on steroids. It may be a coincidence, and I may be using post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, but I think there could easily be a cause-and-effect relationship there.
At any rate, Nebraska is now "back," doing things the right way, and it will be fun to have them in the Big Ten.
But my idea is about Heisman hype and a certain dreadlocked QB. If we want to see if any of this is realistic, then we should compare him to other "dual threat" QBs with Heisman hype. And those Nebraska guys were the first who came to mind.
As far as "post hoc ergo propter hoc" fallacies go...this isn't exactly a court of law; it's the court of public opinion and innocent until proven guilty is no longer the standard. Sometimes coincidences aren't coincidental. Even if nothing is ever proven you can still ask people if they will vote Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire, etc. into the Hall of Fame. A politician who has rumors swirling about affairs with staffers may not get re-elected because of them. Or do we automatically believe a male teacher who has a "disagreement" with a female student? So, yeah, while smelling something doesn't mean it is a rat, it still could be.
is the all time leading rusher among QB's, dude.
Had he not broke his hand on someone's helmet in the 1984 surgar bowl, Auburn would have been smoked.
Like someone else mentioned we should make a chart with Crouch, Frazier and Tebow. Maybe through in Pat White and Danztler for the RR legacy thing.
This way we can see how Denard compares to other RR names as well as other running QB greats. Crouch and Tebow also have heisman years that we can compare too. I believe Tebow won the heisman on a 4 loss team that lost its bowl to MICHIGAN.
What if UM can get to 8-4 this year....
Yes, while Denard has the majority of the yardage, the 70's offenses pitched out more often and thus the tailbacks got more yardage. So, how do the total offenses stack up against each other?
... no Bo offense ever averaged 500 yards a game. I think his 1976 team was the most prolific in terms of total yardage -- something like 440 per game, IIRC. But about 380 of that was on the ground!
But I wonder about the whole "different era" argument. I think the general feeling is that offenses move the ball more now than they did then. Is this true? If so, we'd need to "inflation adjust" the numbers so that we are comparing apples to apples. Also, maybe it is more proper to compare rush yards in both eras straight up.
The game was completely different way back then so I'm not sure its a valid comparison. However, the stagerring #'s Denard is putting up is prima facie evidence of why we should stick with RRod going forward. The offense is already in place. It's simply a matter of getting enough athletes on defense before we start winning big...
Bo would not have wasted that talent on offense, he would have put him on D and made him the greatest DB in the history of the world (no offense C. Woodsen )
Couldn't agree more. Although it would also be nice to get a good solid running back in the offense as a major weapon as well. The offense would be unstoppable. But right now, I'm just praying for a mediocre defense to help us out.
I also agree about the 70's being completely different for this topic. In those days, there were always 2-3 running backs that just annihilated our opponents. Bo didn't even bother with a passing game because teams lined up to try and stop our run and they would get destroyed in the process. But not having any sort of passing game would come back to haunt us in those Rose Bowl games...all of which were very close. Any hint of a passing game could have made a big difference.
That's why I like that Denard has such a strong arm and can throw the ball as well as run it. Though I still get nervous sometimes when he tries a deep pass.
lawrence taylor nuked Wangler's leg?