It's been no big secret that Denard Robinson is the hottest topic of conversation in college football these first two weeks. Game Day sent Erin Andrews to do a story on him. USA today is talking about the Heisman. Hell the Wall Street Journal did a story on him. Of course you all know what he did to UConn and Notre Dame.
Denard Robinson is flash dilithium!
There really is no argument about his awesomeness, everyone agrees on that. Like many awesome things there always has to be a "But". The big "but" everyone keeps throwing out there about Denard, is that he's going to get killed running the ball that much when Big 10 season starts.
Now look, I agree that carrying the ball 28.5 times per game will be a huge load to carry for an entire year. But that's not going to happen. It's just not. Let's make a couple assumptions about the year for him: the likelihood is that over the next three games or so, Shoelace, will see probably half that load. So let's be generous and say he has 15 carries per game for them. And then let's assume during those three games, the running backs get it going and you begin to see a balance. Again we'll be generous and say Denard carries 20 times per game over the remaining seven games. That puts him at 242 carries for the year or 22 carries per game.
Yes that is still high for a quarterback leading this style of attack (I still believe it will be lower as the defenses get tougher and DC's figure out that they need to take away his legs). But that average isn't crazy. Let's look at some similar QBs:
Pat White - 6'0" 197 his highest total was 15.92 per game his senior year (and that was missing a game).
Josh Nesbitt - 6'1" 217 his highest average was 19.9/game.
Tim Tebow - 6'2" 236 his highest average was 16.15 as a sophomore. But Tebow was a horse so I'm not sure he counts.
Eric Crouch - 6'0" 195 his highest was 16.91 his Heisman year.
Crouch and White are obviously the closest. So Denard will have 66 more carries if the above scenario comes to fruition. But neither of these guys got killed or couldn't hack it carrying the ball the majority of the time.
"But, the Big Ten!" you say. Yeah maybe the bruisers in the Big Ten are more dangerous than the Big East and Big 12 (ten years ago). I don't know, hard to say. So let's assume they are for argument sake.
To that I would like to submit, one, Antwaan Randle El.
Yeah remember him?
Let's see: 5'10" 190. Averaged 19.8 carries per game in 2000. Oh and by the way he freaking returned punts for Indiana! Punts! I think it's also fair to mention that Indiana's offensive line was pretty horrible so who knows how many times he had to take off running when protection wore down. And we should throw in that yeah he plays wide receiver in the NFL.
Ok, I'll give you that El is a really tough dude. He's a freak of an athlete (remember he played hoops and baseball at Indiana). And maybe he's a caliber of athlete above Denard. But I doubt it. I'm pretty sure Denard is very similar in athleticism as our friend Antwaan.
So the next time some hater decides to throw in the "yeah but Denard is going to get killed in the Big Ten", sit back, smile, take a drink and whisper: "Antwaan Randle El".