Denard Robinson Transfer Update: Probably Not?

Submitted by Brian on January 12th, 2011 at 7:14 PM


Via Joe Schad's twitter feed, here's a brief conversation with Denard's high school coach on the topic du jour. Denard, unsurprisingly, is supposed to meet with Brady Hoke individually today. Voltron tweets:

"I think if the right things are said at Michigan, I think he wants to stay. Will they put you on the edge and roll you out? Denard does not want to sit out a year."

Taylor told Denard to ask: "What offense do you run and where do I fit in?" He heard Borges can run a spread.

Taylor said coaches from around country have called re: Denard. "I take three batteries with me everywhere for my cell phone."

If Michigan hadn't recruited Denard, Taylor said he probably would have gone to UCF—the guy wants to play quarterback.



January 12th, 2011 at 7:20 PM ^

I don't understand, does he want to be a quarterback or does he want to run a spread OPTION?  Any coach that tried to position switch Denard in ANY system would be insane.  He's a QB that just happens to have Percy Harvin speed.  He might need to work on his reads, but he has all the tools except height.


January 12th, 2011 at 7:30 PM ^

Regardless of the offensive scheme, any coach who doesn't give the ball to Denard every snap is crazy.  The ball in his hands is always seconds away from a touch down.

I think Denards passing this year has shown his ability as a QB.  Spead or not, the threat of Denard will make a DC pay attention.

The problem last year was the lack of respect for the RB.  DC's just made Denard hand off the ball because of the danger. 


January 12th, 2011 at 7:31 PM ^

If Hoke goes true pro-style (which I don't think he will) then Denard will need to continue to improve on his downfield passing game.  That was going to be the case with any coach, but certainly rings very true in a pro-style.  I do think Hoke will be much smarter about his approach than Rod was w/ Mallett, in that he'll mold his offense around the players available to him.

At the same time, I do believe Hoke needs to sit Denard down and ask him what he wants to do as a pro.  If it's try to make it as a QB - here's our starting QB.  If it's that he just wants to make it - then serious consideration needs to be given, based on Devin's development, to having Denard learn to play the Percy Harvin type role.

I do trust that whatever happens will be in the best interest of the team.  GO BLUE!


January 12th, 2011 at 8:09 PM ^

I do think Hoke will be much smarter about his approach than Rod was w/ Mallett, in that he'll mold his offense around the players available to him.

I'll agree with your general sentiment, but this characterization of RR and Mallett has been refuted numerous times.  Mallett was out the door after his first year even if Carr had come back; that was true midway through the season and nothing RR could have done would have changed that.  Maybe RR should have tried something different with Threet, but to insinuate that RR "drove" Mallett away because of an inflexible offensive style is wrong.


January 12th, 2011 at 9:11 PM ^

Mallett was out the door after his first year even if Carr had come back;

The above statement isn't true. Mallett left for the simple fact that he came to Michigan as a drop back NFL-style passer, and the new system wasn't going to prepare him for that. He wouldn't have left if we kept a pro system in place.


January 13th, 2011 at 12:42 AM ^

What you said is not true.  Mallett was planning on leaving at the end of his freshman season, regardless of who the coach was.  He had already made up his mind that he wanted to be closer to home.  Don't you remember MULTIPLE reports BEFORE his first season (when he enrolled early) that he wanted to leave and they weren't even sure he was going to stay for his freshman season?  He was homesick.  He was out of his "comfort zone".  There's certainly nothing wrong with that.  And it wasn't Lloyd's fault, RR's fault, or Mallett's fault.  He didn't "abandon" the program, he was homesick, and wanted to be closer to home.


January 12th, 2011 at 7:20 PM ^

This is test #1 for Brady Hoke: not losing the star quarterback when you bring in your new offense.  Hopefully, unlike Rodriguez, he passes.

(Not that it's directly related.  I do understand there are several differences in the circumstances.  Just saying.)


January 12th, 2011 at 7:35 PM ^

Please stop saying this. Mallet acknowledged chatting with RR by phone only. There was never a face to face sit down. No one has confirmed whether Ryan took his call on campus or just never came back to campus from the holiday break. We'll have to wait for a chapter in the book. Rest assured, a lot of experience left the team and everyone made the best decisions for themselves.


January 12th, 2011 at 8:19 PM ^

They should have had opportunities to meet up.  RR was hired on Dec. 17, before the end of exams.  He traveled to Orlando to watch the bowl.  If they only spoke by phone, it sounds like RR decided it probably wasn't worth the hassle to give him the big sales pitch, especially with Terrelle Pryor still undecided. 


January 12th, 2011 at 8:29 PM ^

"I did it a couple times (with Mallett)," he said earlier Tuesday on the Jim Rome radio show. "I recruited him once, I recruited him twice, and after the third call, I'm thinking, 'OK, three calls is enough for me.' It's a great institution, and if somebody doesn't want to be here that's already here, you wish them well and move on."


Mallett made up his mind to leave without ever talking to Rodriguez. 


January 12th, 2011 at 8:43 PM ^

trying to argue about something from three years ago?  This was something that was hashed out and settled long ago.

Mallett had decided to transfer before the end of the season before Rodriguez was hired, largely because he had really wanted to be at Arkansas in the first place but didn't want to sit on the bench behind Mitch Mustain.  He tried a season at Michigan, didn't like it, and was on his way back to Arkansas.

Rodriguez tried to talk to him several times about staying, but Mallett wasn't interested.  I think it's time you let it go.


January 12th, 2011 at 9:35 PM ^

Yes and in fact it was reported that he wanted to transfer even during his first year.  The people that won't accept this are just f'n idiots.  It's not worth wasting any more time arguing this point because let's suppose Mallett stays.  What does that get us in 2008?  6 wins?  Wow, great.  Take a look at the rest of the offense.  It was shit and there was no chance we were going anywhere that year, I don't care if Dan m'fn Marino was the QB.


January 12th, 2011 at 7:32 PM ^

UCF has a fast QB Godfrey who was a starter as a true frosh. I don't think it would be a good idea to go there to play quarterback. Godfrey would be a Junior and in his third year as a starter by the time Denard could see the field.


January 12th, 2011 at 9:23 PM ^

"Taylor said Robinson, if he left, would have gone to Florida or UCF, most likely UCF. Taylor said he keeps three charged cell phone batteries with him at all times because so many college coaches have called him to see if Robinson will transfer."

The sentence is unclear. It says "if he left" though.

The Rake

January 12th, 2011 at 7:34 PM ^

then Hoke was an AWFUL hire in the short term. I have to think DBrandon had to get Denard semi-squared away with the supposed conversations he and Hoke had about Shoelace. If Denard leaves, even though I think Gardner is going to be special..., then Hoke was a bad hire in the short term. Denard is a rare talent that needs to be utilized and RR had him rolling as only a sophomore.

The Rake


January 12th, 2011 at 8:19 PM ^

DB said he was fucking not hiring for the short term, but long term.

You don't hire a coach because you need to do it for this year. You hire someone you think will be a fit and will be successful long term.



Thank You for your input.


January 13th, 2011 at 12:39 PM ^

How about we give Denard a little credit. The young man has said and done the right thing in every instance since he's gotten here. If he decides to leave the program, he is entitled to make that decision. I would love to see him stay. I believe he is an asset to this team both on the field and off. I love his humility and quiet leadership; however, if the coaching staff asks Denard to change positions and he decides to leave, good luck and farewell. Michigan football history is filled with guys who were asked (or asked if they could) switch positions and went on to excel, e.g., Desmond Howard and Jay Reimersma. What is better for Denard's long-term career aspirations?

Which would you rather do if you were Denard, get the ball in space where you have one or two guys to beat or have 8 guys cueing on you every play?

Picture this guys Denard running the end around or a double reverse, Denard throwing a QB throw back to Devin, End around option pass. There are plays that can be put in specifically for Denard that would make him much more dangerous because other teams can't only cue in on him. When he gets the ball every play, he is much easier to scheme.

Edit: Pointless discussion since Brady said Denard can play QB!


January 12th, 2011 at 7:39 PM ^

If he ends up leaving it will be interesting to see how it's portrayed in the local media.

Will he be simply taking his talents somewhere that they're better suited? OR

Will he have been 'run off' by a coach too stubborn to adjust his offense for the talent he inherited.


January 12th, 2011 at 7:40 PM ^

I think if they retool the system for Denard, he can be even better.  Use the tight ends more. Use different running backs more.  More screen passes.  This way, the qb run is an element of surprise, rather than the norm.


January 12th, 2011 at 8:00 PM ^

I agree. What good is your quarterback if he's banged up all the time? I'm not a big fan of the run-first type spread. I'm not a big fan of any one system. I think you need flexibility. I think DR can fit into a more passing-QB type approach, call it what you will, and probably do better since he'll probably get less banged up.


January 12th, 2011 at 9:00 PM ^

Agreed. Denard is awesome. But the offense became increasingly predictable and simplistic as the season ( and the conpetition) advanced. Teams figured it out, and punished Denard. He could be even more effective, in the long run, in the new offense.


January 12th, 2011 at 8:05 PM ^

The run was the weapon of choice because it was the best weapon: while Robinson's accuracy and decision-making improved significantly from his freshman year, it left a bit to be desired, so the passing game wasn't enough of a thread, and the collection of RBs couldn't provide a reasonable secondary threat.

Using the RBs more isn't going to fix the problem if they can't get enough yards to bring the safeties up: most teams would have loved to see Smith or Shaw or Hopkins rather than Denard with the ball. Screen passes? Same problem. Screen passes to RBs who can't break tackles are also known as "second and long".

TEs, now, that's a little different if you have the right players. A good TE can be a FB, WR, or TE as the situation demands it, letting you mimic different personnel packages without making substitutions ... particularly effective in a no-huddle offense.

In general, though, the problem wasn't/isn't the QB runs as much as the lack of viable options. If Denard can improve his accuracy, if Smith's knee is closer to 100% this season or if other RBs emerge to be solid threats, it won't matter as much what scheme they use. (If it's a scheme that reduces or removes the opportunity for the QB to run, well, the passing game will have to be spectacular.)


January 12th, 2011 at 7:43 PM ^

Hope they can work it out (duh). I wonder what kind of offense Va Tech ran with Vick. It wasn't a spread or exclusively shotgun, but he was still extremely dangerous and effective.


January 12th, 2011 at 7:59 PM ^

Va Tech ran a lot of I-form and drop-back passing plays while Vick was there and he would break huge plays when scrambling on passing plays. I could definitely see Denard doing this too if he becomes more comfortable in scrambling on plays that aren't designed runs.