D-Rob: our most important defensive player

Submitted by harmon40 on September 4th, 2010 at 11:58 PM

Nothing I say here is in any way intended to disrespect our defense - I think it's fairly well established that we have some significant challenges there and this has been more than adequately covered elsewhere.

That said, I think we saw today who our most important defensive player is, and I think it is Denard Robinson.

14/19 3rd down conversions?  36 minutes of possession?  Nearly 200 rushing yds?  19/22 passing for 188 yds and a score?  No pics? 

All of that adds up to our D being on the field less, reducing their error opportunity and keeping them fresh.  If our offense continues to click like this I think that we will see a lot fewer 2nd half collapses.  Defensive coordinators all over the B10 are in for some sleepless nights trying to game plan for Michigan this year.

What a great day for Michigan - I know we all got excited last year only to crash when the B10 season started but I do think this is different.  UConn is not Western Michigan, and Denard is deadly not just for his speed, but for the way he's grown into the system.

And he's still just a baby!

Life is good - very, very good.  Sure, the B10 season will bring tougher challenges - but Denard is the goods.  This really doesn't seem like last year.  THIS is the electricity we were hoping for when we brought in RichRod.  When the talent on the defensive side catches up...



September 5th, 2010 at 12:21 AM ^

Great point. The offense has to protect the defense this year as it continues to jell and add new talent and gain that all important experience.

We are going to give up some yards, but we are seeing the process and steps that a program goes through as it rises.  I hope people keep that patience when we struggle and embrace the potential we are seeing.

That potential is seen not only on offense either.  The defense is just at a different place in time on the path.


September 5th, 2010 at 12:24 AM ^

I wouldn't say so much Denard, as the overall sum of a running QB plus a good cadre of running backs are key to our defense.  Running kills the clock, 6 minute drives are 6 minutes where our young secondary can't be getting burned.  

Unfortunately for Tate, this fact gives RR an incentive not to play him.  I like Tate, he's a skilled QB, but he's a pass first QB.  His main skill is picking the defense apart with his brains and his arm.  The big problem is, passing QBs don't kill time the way a constant running attack does.  Incomplete passes, passes where the defends push the WR out of bounds to stop him, all of those slow the clock.  A constant spread and shred up the field has fewer clock stoppages.  


September 5th, 2010 at 10:40 AM ^

Seconded.  I challenge any fan who watched Michigan chew up the first 8 minutes of the 2nd half on Saturday and say that Bo would not be anything by delighted that Rich Rodriguez is leading this program.  That drive was unbelievable and the only thing they did wrong was wind up with 3 points instead of 6, but that was still the biggest drive of the game IMHO.

But Rodriguez isn't a "Michigan Man" and he runs a "gimmick" offense, right?  Bullshit.

The FannMan

September 5th, 2010 at 4:00 PM ^

How abou the first drive of the 2nd half?  The first half ened with a stalled drive by us and a TD by UConn to get with w/n 11 points.  We then took the 2nd half kick and chewed up half of the third quarter.  We only got a field goal, but that still made it a 2 TD game.  The fact that we used up so much damn time essentially decided the game.  UConn, being a running team, just couldn't come back after that.

grand river fi…

September 5th, 2010 at 1:43 AM ^

I'm really pleased with the way they were able to put together long drives today.  I doubt we'll be able to keep up that type of efficiency on 3rd downs up for the entire season, but it was excellent to see. 

I'd really like to see Hopkins get some caries, a bit more of a power running game would be a nice complement to the speed of DRob and our other backs.

Bronco Joe

September 5th, 2010 at 7:16 AM ^

All of that adds up to our D being on the field less, reducing their error opportunity and keeping them fresh. If our offense continues to click like this I think that we will see a lot fewer 2nd half collapses.

Agree totally. The D still looked in 1st Quarter alertness when JT popped that fumble loose. All the D-line and LBs looked like they had something to prove and did it with style.

Now as long as UConn doesn't end up folding like a cheap suit over the rest of the year...


September 5th, 2010 at 8:06 AM ^

Probably not...this is a good team that was soundly beaten by a better team (despite the rantings of an at times seemingly delusional Matt Millen-the ABC cast). UConn returned 12? starters from an 8 win team and their 5 loses last year were by a total of 15? points. Granted they're a Big East school and have been in division one for less than 10 years but they are extremely well coached and recruit very well. As a side note-I thought Michael Shaw ran extremely well and I was delighted to see Vince Smith look very 'recovered'.

U Fer M

September 5th, 2010 at 8:13 AM ^

a great big Meeecheeeggan victory. To the gurus out there, did M ever win the time of possession in the previous two years? And especially by that much, loved the long drives, and it did keep the D fresh, can't wait for ND.


September 5th, 2010 at 8:51 AM ^

RR is a great coach who understands where the team sits in respect to it's strengths and weaknesses.  He knows that the secondary is young and that last year they got torched for a ton of yards and big plays.  The best way to keep your defense fresh and off the field is to use the clock on offense and run the ball.

I am not sure he opened the playbook very far for UConn.  He started with his usual base and when it seemed to be working and all they would need for the win he stopped at that.  No sense in showing all your cards when UConn was struggling with what they were seeing.  Time of possession is a great game changer, in this case it helped the team get the WIN.


September 5th, 2010 at 10:02 AM ^

Another thing I noticed is that they weren't hurrying up to the line and snapping the ball 10 seconds after the previous play ended. They did do some hurry up, but seemed to pick their spots pretty well. When your D is suspect and your offense is capable of running the ball at will, there's no reason not to run the play clock down a bit between plays. The tempo was still pretty quick, but they were able to milk the clock a bit more than I remember them doing last year. Whether this was because it was the first game and they wanted to limit mistakes or if it was a conscious strategic decision remains to be seen.


September 5th, 2010 at 11:14 AM ^

Denard Robinson may be the most important part of our defense in practice.  Practicing against him seems to have gotten our defense in better shape than last year, with a swarming mentality evident against UConn.  Bottom line: if our defense can learn to contain Denard Robinson, then they should do well against other offenses.  Maybe we will finally be able to defend well against the spread...


September 5th, 2010 at 7:09 PM ^

There is no most important player.  As Bo would say: "The team, the team, the team". Our offensive production certainly helps the defense get more rest and allow for GERG to coach em' up a little longer as well.  I'm worried about Denard getting too many carries. I don't want him getting nicked up all season.  This was one of RR's concerns too, so I'm sure as the season progresses we will see different packages to get more players involved.