All the talk about Denard Robinson getting injured in the near future got me wondering how other mobile QB's have been handled, and how frequent injuries occur. These are my findings:
Michael Vick - Virginia Tech(1999,2000)
Carries: 262 Yards: 1,318 TD: 18
Michael Vick averaged about 12 carries per game and missed 2 games out of 22 possible career games due to injury. He carried the ball over 20 times on 1 occasion(23)
Vince Young - Texas(2004,2005)
Carries: 322 Yards: 2,129 TD: 26
Vince Young Averaged 13 Carries per game and did not miss any games due to injury. He also carried the ball over 20 times on 4 occasions (20,21,21,25)
Troy Smith - Ohio State(2003,2004,2005,2006)
Carries: 293 Yards: 1,168 TD: 14
Troy Smith averaged about 8 carries per game and did not miss any games due to injury. He never carried the ball over 20 times.
Josh Nesbitt - Georgia Tech(2007,2008,2009)
Carries: 504 Yards: 2,069 TD: 25
Josh Nesbitt averaged about 14 carries per game and missed 3 games out of a possible 38 due to injury. He carried the ball over 20 times on 10 occasions (32,28,27,26,23,23,22,21,21,20). He played all 14 games of the 2009 season despite carrying the ball an average of 20 times per game.
Tim Tebow - Florida(2006,2007,2008,2009)
Carries: 692 Yards: 2,947 TD: 57
Tim Tebow Averaged about 12 carries per game and never missed a game due to injury. He carried the ball over 20 times on 7 different occasions (27,27,26,24,22,22,20)
The most significant QB's to this study are QB's that played under Rich Rodriguez in his spread option system:
Rasheed Marshall - West Virginia(2001,2002,2003,2004)
Carries: 491 Yards: 2,040 TD: 24
Rasheed Marshall averaged about 11 carries per game and missed 1 game due to injury. He carried the ball over 20 times on 2 occasions (21,20).
Pat White - West Virginia(2005,2006,2007,2008)
Carries: 684 Yards: 4,480 TD: 47
Pat White averaged about 14 carries per game and missed 2 games as a 4 year starter. He also carried the ball over 20 times on 13 different occasions (27,24,24,23,23,22,22,22,21,21,21,20). I think it is also of note that Pat White is around the same height and weight as Denard Robinson.
You can be a mobile Quarterback and get a lot of carries without being sidelined with injuries. It does not matter what conference you play in. Mobile QB's will get dinged up in a similar fashion to running backs but there is no reason to believe because a mobile QB carries the ball a lot he will fall victim to massive injuries and die.
It is also of note that a QB who is mobile is less likely to be injured as seriously as a pocket passer. Pocket passers are prone to injuries, especially on blitzes where they do not see the hit coming, get taken out at the legs, or are not mobile enough to elude a blitz. Mobile QB's get out in space, and are able to elude blitzes, they take more head on hits, but are less prone to devastating blind side hits that plauge pocket passers.
How this applies to Denard Robinson:
Obviously Denard should not carry the ball 29 times a game. Rich Rodriguez has already stated that this will usually be lower. However, having a couple games where he carries the ball a lot does not guarentee doom. If anything a game like this early in the season will be good for the entire offense. Teams will prepare for Denard with his feet, and play action should open up, as well as running lanes for the running backs. The beauty of the spread offense is, one day your QB can carry the ball 29 times for 200 yards, and the next week, burn you in the air with play action and read option hand-offs.