One bright spot that no one else has mentioned - maybe because it was a figment of my imagination - but it seemed to me that Denard was reading his progressions much better than ever. Also when he threw long to covered receivers the passes were well overthrown rather than punted into potential INTs. If you add in at least 4 cold drops + the Hemingway TD + plus the 2 PI's + 3 easy completions that the DE tipped he would have had a monster completion percentage (and the only pick was a tipped ball that also could have been PI). I know that's a lot of IFs but they are all plausible, so it is not that hard to see the improvement hidden within the stats. Hopefully it will show up on the field in Champaign and beyond.
Some Positives for Denard Yesterday
I love Denard, he's a great person. Our program will be better when he's gone.
with you. Our program will be better when they start calling the right plays.
You ass. The program might be better due to other circumstances, but the fact that he leaves does not improve the program. Way to shit on one of the most talented and likeable kids that have played Michigan football in a long time.
I tried to moderate this post, but my phone didn't cooperate.
I'm really getting sick of "DENNNARD CAN NO PLAY DE QUARTERBACKZ POZITION, HE IS NOT TALL ENUF TO THROW DE PASSEES, WHAT A STUPID PLAYER". seriously. The dude was B1G POY last year, and now people want to crucify him. Shut up. It's sad that people don't understand that essentially he's a freshman again, learning another system. Yesterday he looked much better, going through his reads and making some checkdowns. I'm sick of people complaining about our QB, like he isn't working his ass off.
I agree with you about Denard, but 12 int’s speaks for itself homie. I think Denard is playing terrible right now, and if he continues to play this way, it is VERY likely they won’t win another game this season. I’m not criticizing Denard; I’m just calling it like I see it on the field.
I think you overestimate the Zook.
the same Zook it took us 3 OTs to beat last year?
Don't underestimate anyone. I defended the team vigorously prior to Iowa and look what happened?
We should have beaten this team but poor playcalling and a tendency to over throw open receivers and force the ball into double and triple coverage killed us.
A couple of short passing routes and a scramble or two could have been the difference.
I agree with you about Denard, but 12 int’s speaks for itself homie.
Homie, you know what else speaks for itself? The fact that everyone recognizes that Denard doesn't throw a particularly good deep ball, and the coaching staff continue to insist that he keep chucking it down the field with abandon. Those throws were yesterday were complete wasted downs. I understand trying it a couple of times, but we kept going back to those long passes like they were the bread and butter of our offense. And those plays have been called all season, which explains, at least party, Denard's much higher interception rate.
The coaching staff isn't calling for Denard to throw deep balls every play. There are multiple receivers on offense. Not all of them go deep every play. Denard is locking on to a route and forcing a throw deep (usually overthrowing). Blame the coaches all you want, but pretending like they are telling a QB to throw deep every play that has proven over and over that he can't hit a wide open reciever further than 20 yards down the field is placing the blame in the wrong place.
Denard is wasting downs, not the coaches. They can't call routes where all receivers stay within 5 yards of the LOS. Denard needs to make better reads and better decisions. Not saying the play calling has been perfect, but they aren't TELLING Denard to throw it deep every play.
"but they aren't TELLING Denard to throw it deep every play."
I'm just not sure this is true. I think Denard is being told that if he has single coverage down the sideline on a deep route, he should put it up there. It's part of Borges desire to stretch the field vertically. We've seen Denard repeatedly try to make those throws this year, when he rarely made them last year. The deep ball is clearly part of Borges desired offense, and it seems as if he's instructing Denard to take those shots, regardless of the fact that it's a throw that Denard cannot make.
eh, at this point denard is denard... he's a wildcard. great athlete that can break it on any given play. unfortunately, he also maintains abominable fundamentals and is prone to poor decision making. For an OC, what are you really supposed to do? You can't count on him hitting open short receivers and we've seen WR's go up and make the play down the field n jump balls. We got down the field anyway on that last drive, so I have no beef with vertical playcalling given things like: Notre Dame '11. People around here seem to think it's obvious what plays should be being called, and yet, none of you are in the coaches box. the fact is: you have no idea, play to play, what Denard will or will not do. Would make it hard to find that elusive perfect RPS call, no? You're guessing, and that's why this offense is a total grab-bag right now. We seem to get some momentum with Fitz, but can our line sustain a run-heavy non-spread RB? I'm not sure we can. If we had OSU's O-line, we could Braxton miller our way down field and throw 2 times a game. But we don't, so we can't.
The good news is this: we're 7-2. Our defense is remarkably improved, even if only into the average category. This is year one in a transition, and we'll definitely have extra practices and a bowl game to keep growing.
We'll talk about borges after next year to see how his self-proclaimed year two progression matches up. I'm not expecting Denard to ever be as productive as he was under Rich Rodriguez. He was meant for that system. He is not built for this system. Even so, he's a great player and a great guy for this program, and has earned the right to keep his job. It's fine if you were fundamentally opposed to heading back to a pro-style system with the coaching change. You will likely always think Denard is being mis-utilized. Fundamentally speaking, Denard will be mis-utilized for the rest of his career, unless he makes a rather significant leap in his progression between his Junior & Senior year. We'll see. These coaches aren't going to be able to recreate the glory days of the Rich Rod spread n shred. It's not happening.
I've read all day. Thank you for not blindly defending Denard. The real question going forward is do the coaches say fuck it and make denard Percy harvin, which is likely his only chance in the NF? or do they continue to invest in denard when all but for 5 games last year he has performed below average in real Big ten games and truly hand the reigns over to an unproven but 5 star Devin Gardner. The only realistic way we don't get absolutely destroyed by Bama is if Denard somehow learns how to make the basic throws in his senior season or Devin matures into a better QB than denard, which sadly he's not far away from doing.
don't misread me.
It's idiotic to suggest that the coaches turn him into something different. His NFL prospects mean nothing to coaches, and shouldn't mean anything to Denard at this point. If he wants to be in the NFL, his speed alone will land him that gig - at some other position.
Denard is our QB until the end of next year, barring injury, etc. I'm happy that he's on our team. At this point, however, he has been proven to be that rare kind of absurd playmaker who is also the teams biggest liability. That's the card this coaching staff has been dealt. He has exciting upside with a lot of fundamental flaws. The coaches will work with him to make him a better QB. We'll know next year whether this happens or not.
Until then, people need to chill the fuck out.
The only way Denard switches positions is if he initiates that request and sells out to make up for the lost time. Honestly, i'd rather him put in the time and effort to make himself a better QB. That would be better for the team.
I've seen nothing in Devin Gardner, other than being tall and able to throw a spiral, that makes me yearn for him to get more snaps as our QB. He seems (a) slow and (b) erratic with decision-making.
The fact that he was B1G PoTY yet was not the 1st or 2nd team all B1G quarterback should tell you something.
The hesitation you saw yesterday is explained by his being a neo-freshman. His inability to throw a football accurately is his own. And is the first rule of debate "categorize your opponent as a bad speller?" How can you be really sick of something that has literally never been said?
Don't look now, but it's a distinct possibility that Denard could finish the year below 50% completion percentage. In fact, at present he's ranked 106th out of 114 in that category. That doesn't mean nothing.
Our program will be better when he's gone.
You're the worst kind of college football fan. If you're waiting for players to leave, go watch pro football.
Sorry guys. I see what's happening on the field and just don't know what to think sometimes. It's not like Denard has unlimited eligibility. The coaches obviously don't know how to, or care to, play to his strengths, and it's causing games like yesterday to happen. I love Denard, but it's so frustrating to watch the same story over and over. My statement was a bit too broad.
on this thought. I thought Denard played well, but he isn't running as well(could be injured).
one of the things i realized yesterday and even the anouncer picked up on it as well is the fact that denard almost has no runs from just scrambling. the only time he runs now is on designed runs. he was so effective last year by taking off if the receiver wasn't open. i like how he is keeping his eyes down the field but he's forgetting imo that it's okay to run as well. on those pass breakups by the defensive end denard should have tried to pump fake or something though. but i will live and die by denard because without him we wouldn't be where we are. i also think that we shouldn't be using gardner as much as we are. that fumble by him almost cost us even worse.
"he was so effective last year by taking off if the receiver wasn't open."
Umm, what? Denard almost never took off and scrambled out of the pocket. Around this blog and elsewhere, this was one of the major things that was pointed out as a potential area for growth for him - learning when to just tuck it and run. He's been a bit better about it this year, but there are still a few times when I'd like to see him use his legs where he tries to force something.
The poster must be watching the same U-M film as Spielman. I sure as hell don't remember Denard scrambling when the play broke down last year. I think we all hoped that is what would happen this year, but alas, he still has not progressed to that point.
How many times did we have a 3rd and 5 and a pass play was called where Denard had no one open with a sure first down if he just ran it and he'd throw an incomplete pass. I use to give myself a headache yelling at him to run the damn ball. He's never been a scrambling QB even in HS (500 yards rushing as a senior).
Gardner's fumble didn't cost as much as Denard's, but why Borges brought him in in that situation is beyond me. Then again, why Borges does a lot of the stuff he does is beyond me.
A pump fake would be nice.....it would espcially help with the whole issue of haveing DE's block his passes. He needs to get out of the pocket and pump it everyonce in a while. Would make a world of difference.
Getting his throwing motion straightened out would help, too. But it might be too late for that...
is that he's not supposed to run, pure and simple. He's in a situation where the "mature" thing to do is stay in the pocket. That split second he had last year is gone. It's the contradiction at the heart of this year's Grand Old Duke of York offense.
Did anyone else punch a hole in a wall after Denard missed a wide open Roundtree by about 5 yards? I did. Not saying it is all on Denard, bc it is not, but the stats dont lie.
Im a coach at the varsity level, and one of the many things I have learned in my 5 years of coaching is that is up to us as cosches to put our kids in the best possible situation for them to succeed. I dont see Borges doing that with Denard. They need to run some option like Nebraska and Northwestern. Look how much of a baller Persa and Colter are in that offense. I know we are not a spread team per se, but at least incorporate more concepts that are conducive to Denard's skill sets. That is all.
It's not just this year. He's basically never looked to scramble on designed pass plays. It's been a mystery since he's arrived on campus.
Game after game, this topic actually gets beaten past death on the boards, but statistically, in a few important categories, Denard Robinson is - in fact - better this year than last year.
To the point of th OP, I would tend to agree - his ability to read progressions is getting better, and the throws are getting a little more "strategic", if you will. I wish he would scramble sometimes, but it isn't his way - it never has been, and because of the other dimensions he can give the offense, I can live without that, I suppose.
As strange as this may sound to some, I will take the overthrows to the INTs. He was doing the right thing but putting it in the wrong spot on some plays. I still want to see more shorter routes with him, but I give them a little credit for trying to challenge Iowa's backfield outright with those throws.
Rushing - he is averaging 6.00 ypc versus 6.65 last year
His completion percentage has dropped from 62.54% to 51.96%.
Yards per attempt has dropped from 8.83 to 8.48.
He has a 6.7% interception rate versus 3.8% last year.
So, admittedly, I hadn't checked ESPN in a couple weeks, so my first statement is hereby altered to read - "he's more or less the same quarterback, with the slide in some categories probably being attributable to the change in his role." I apologize for that. A couple games ago, his stats actually were marginally better than last year's.
Still, I really don't understand the whining about Denard Robinson when it is very clear that he isn't exactly what this staff wants at QB, but not only have they identified him as a leader on a team in another coaching transition, they are willing to adjust their philosophy and work with his strengths (and his shortcomings) to keep him here. He could have left after someone was canned in January. It's a sign of respect from the staff when he gets to keep a job at such a central position when clearly, in other circumstances, they may very well have completely overlooked him as a QB (if he had been recruited cold by this staff).
They haven't adjusted their philosophy enough, though. That's the issue.
Wait, what did you just suggest? That we as fans shouldn't complain that Denard is being misused because the coaches don't want him at QB but keep him there anyway? Why on earth would that be acceptable?
I am suggesting that he is - as much as people seem to think otherwise - numero uno on the depth chart in their (i.e., the staff's) estimation. For them, it probably isn't the ideal solution, but for the time being, until "competition" shows otherwise, you're looking at what they see as the best shot for a win insofar as QB is concerned. That, and he is also arguably the best athlete on the team by a mile or two. Take what you will from that.
What last year's statistics mask, though, is the dropoff in production he had after week 5. His incredible production in those first five weeks (when he was the Heisman frontrunner) inflated his season averages.
Last year, through five games, these were his stats:
rushing: 98 car., 905 yards (9.2 ypc), 181.2 ypg, 8 TD
passing: 67-96 (69.8%), 1,008 yds (10.5 YPA), 7 TD, 1 INT
Over the final eight games, he put up these numbers:
rushing: 158 car., 797 yds (5.0 ypc), 99.6 ypg, 6 TD
passing: 115-195 (58.9%), 1,562 yds (8.1 YPA), 11 TD, 10 INT
These are very similar to what he's put up this season. Note in particular the poor TD-INT ratio and the dropoff in YPC and YPA. The conclusion I think we have to draw is that after opposing defenses gained some film on Denard, they were able to recognize his tendencies and defend him more effectively. He's got to develop as a QB to return to where he was. Those wide-open running lanes he saw in the first half of 2010 aren't going to be there often unless he improves as a passer (or learns to recognize a scrambling lane when it's there).
Toward the end of last season and now that Michigan is in the meat of this season. Defenses are stacking the box and daring Denard to throw, so his rushing numbers are a fraction of last year's. That, and he's staying in the pocket. It seemed to me that Iowa was keying on Fitzgerald as well. The only way to stop that is for Denard to up his completion percentage.
Yes. Playing Ohio State, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Mississippi State is the exact same as playing Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, and UConn. Considering we have played a total of 2 teams that are bowl eligible right now, I would say the competition is a little different.
I loved the read progression. He did often, check down. He I'd getting there. One issue all qb'd do, he stare down his wr. He will be much improved next year
I thought the stats didn't reflect his day very well, and definitely noticed him going through his progressions. He's definitely starting to look like a pocket passer - although he is short, and he is still at his best when he runs. He does look a bit slowed up but that's still his strength.
Yesterday sucked but I think he's taking steps in the right directino.
People need to stop pretending he is and giving "atta boys" as if he just learned how to count to one hundred or he went to bathroom for the first time in the big boy toilet.
He's a tremendous leader, great asset to the team, school and whomever else needs good representation.
But he is not a pocket passer.
He may be making steps towards being a better pocket passer, but if that means he's not going to take off and run when the opportunity is there, I'm disappointed. Denard just plain isn't a pocket passer, so making steps towards that only takes him away from what he does best.
....but I think they are trying not to overload him with all the needed skills. It seems like it's a progressive approach to re-teaching him the position, as well as keeping some of his best attributes, but they do seem to lean too much in the "this is what we want" direction as opposed to "this is what we have". I am not sure what the correct balance is really - you're right though, being a pocket passer is not his thing, even though he can, with some success, be that for them. It just isn't his strength.
It's funny really, that the transition to this Borges era of offense has made Robinson a marginally more controversial person on the boards.
I agreed with Chris Spielman all afternoon watching on TV. His assessment that Denard needs to use passing lanes as running lanes more often is dead-on, in my opinion. I'm not sure if Borges is coaching him to stay in the pocket against his instincts or if Denard is trying to prove he can throw but something doesn't feel right. He needs to scramble more.
been a qb who is a scrambler. He stayed in the pocket repeatedly last year as well. It's who he is.
it's a mistaken identity. Most people can see that, it's a shame he can't (if in fact, what you say is what he thinks). Don't you think most teams prefer him in the pocket and say "thank you" a thousand times?
Borges consistently said during the Spring that he tells Denard to check one, check two, then run. Denard is not doing this, but this is a problem Denard had under RR too. It's a Denard thing, not a Borges thing.
is going on for Denard.
I think Denard should take notice of the style in which Russel Wilson plays. Watching the Wisconsin game yesterday I saw Wilson on many occasions be a calm passer in the pocket but on many occasions he scrambled out after his first/second option wasn't there. Someone just needs to get in Denard's ear that its ok for him to scramble cause that's when he and many dual threat qbs are their most dangerous
The main positive is that the game is over. I never thought that Illinois would become a "must-win" game for this team, but considering that Nebarska and Ohio are on the way in, it is probably the game that will decide whether Michigan gets a New Year's Day bowl or plays during Christmas week.
You can bet your ass that Brady Hoke will have this team focused for this week. He knows that they can't let this one get away, and won't let the team look ahead to the last two games.
Never been happier to leave a stadium. I don't mind losing to a better team, can't stand looking so bad against an average team. That was maddening to watch.
Reading his progressions better? Go back and look at the intereption he threw and tell me how long he was locked onto that receiver.
But the pass was on target and wouldn't have been an interception if the DB hadn't arrived long before the ball to produce a weird deflection. It's not like someone stepped in front of the receiver and picked it.
Plus it's not like people are saying he's Tom Brady; they're saying he's getting better.
I am of the belief that Denard did not have as many progressions to go through last year. I think the spread passing game Rodriguez and Magee had implemented to that point was built on one to two reads that Denard had to make quickly whereas now Borges has the wide receivers running much more complex routes and which require Denard to wait and maybe make 4 to 5 reads.
I believe Rich made the game simple for him since he was just a first year starter. I also agree that he never scrambled last year either. There is one specific play that comes to mind. Against Illinois, he moved out of the pocket and had about 15-20 yards if he chose to run. Instead, he waited and found JR Hemingway for a play that ended up as a touchdown but I vividly remember screaming "RUN" at the tv.
Denard is not a drop back passer and may never be. Why a play wasn't called in the last set of 4 on the goal line for him to be scrambling is stupid. After the OC called the first one or maybe 2 for Denard to stand flatfooted and throw into the EZ, Hoke should have taken charge and told Denard to do what ever he needed to score a TD.
Perhaps this is because those kinds of plays often end in sacks, which would have ended the game. Of all the things to complain about, I feel the end of the game isn't one of them. On that series we had the following:
1. A TD catch that was ruled incomplete for some bizarre reason.
2. A pass that BOUNCED OFF VINCENT SMITH'S CHEST
3. A perfectly thrown slant to Roundtree who was being grossly held on an uncalled PI penalty.
To me the right plays were absolutely called. One two of the plays the refs failed to execute and on one of them Vincent dropped an easy TD.
Don't you think it's time to take off the training wheels and stop looking at "positives" of Denard's game when we lose? There's nothing positive about it. A VERY caustly fumble. An interception in the red zone. He has 2 years starting experience and a 3rd year of getting PT. He should be a fully functioning QB.
Did you see the interception? It was not exactly a case of Denard making a crappy throw. It was a throw to Roundtree on which one of his hands was being held down, which tipped into the air as a result.
Yes, you're right about that. That was a case where the receiver caused the INT. However, Denard has been known for costly turnovers. Game changing turnovers.
My point is that for a QB to have this much experience, you should not be looking at positives in a loss. Certain things should be expected of him. The better team did not win yesterday. Partly because of Denard, partly because everyone brought stone hands, partly because of the refs, and partly because they just didn't get it done. Things like not taking care of the football (the fumble) are what infuriate me the most.