Denard Robinson: Redshirt?

Submitted by wolverine1987 on August 11th, 2009 at 4:50 PM
Before I address the title of my post, how fucking awesome is it that today we are reading actual football articles based upon actual football practices with actual football players actually playing football?? This is the best day of the year until we play Western.

Now, onto the title. As far as I can tell, every person on this blog (including me) expects that Denard will play this year, with most assuming a Percy Harvin type role except that he would also pass from time to time. Some brave souls ("Denard is fast!") project him as giving Tate full competition as the starter (for the record, I don't think that will happen).

But is there a chance he would redshirt? I think there is a chance, based on the following:

1- Denard = raw

2- Remember that many schools did not recruit him as a QB, including spread offense schools-see #1 above.

3- Tate by all accounts and based upon limited video, is far more polished a QB and has far more command currently of the offense. That is a serious head start on PT.

4- We have one year of Jason Forcier to utilize. While there is no future for Jason, and I don't claim he will challenge to start, there is every reason to believe that he can be at minimum, competent in a backup role if needed.

5- Is it possible that Sherideath can be competent (nothing more) this year? I think that is quite possible.

So, putting these assumptions together, what we have is one promising Freshman QB (Tate) that is likely to start, two veteran QB's that can be competent, and one raw freshman (Denard) that needs much work on throwing motion and other fundamentals.

What this spells to me is a QB situation that is FAR above where we were last year. If we have three QB's that can be competent, that beats the zero we had last year by approximately 3-0. So following this logic, would Rodriguez then conclude that a Denard Robinson, with a redshirt year of practice under his belt, is A-far more likely to be a factor next year and in future, and B- not needed at QB due to the assumptions above? Oh, and a reminder: Pat White redshirted.

This is not necessarily the future I am predicting, but I think it is a future that is possible. What do you think?



August 11th, 2009 at 4:54 PM ^

depth purposes, and what else do we have to lose? If Tate really comes on strong and stays healthy(dear God please), and with DG waiting in the wings, I agree a Percy Harvin type role would be great. It sounds like with his speed, he is too talented to let sit out a year.

Also, assuming his passing ability improves, he'd be a great lateral pass - then down field pass type option threat.


August 11th, 2009 at 5:01 PM ^

First of all, RR has already said that he will only play QB, and not any other position to make sure that he can pick up the offense. He has the most to learn by playing QB, because he will learn about every position on the offense that way. Secondly, RR has also said that he expects him to employ Denard as a QB in certain game situations even if and when Tate wins the job. Third, Denard is too good of a talent to keep off of the field and there is no reason not to play him when the offense is still looking for playmakers. Also with Devin Gardner coming in next season, a redshirt year for Denard wouldn't make much sense as far as saving him for the future. Right now he has the best chance to make the biggest impact on the offense, so I don't see any chance of redshirting him...


August 12th, 2009 at 9:13 AM ^

I will add that J Forcier will be last on the depth chart, or maybe just above Cone.

Also, it is extremely frustrating to read these comments in light of what RR has repeatedly stated. Why would anyone possibly say that Robinson is going to have a role like Percy Harvin? Robinson was recruited as a quarterback, RR has said that is the only position he will play, that is the position he is assuming in practice, and RR is talking about his development in the system as a quarterback - not death ninja slot receiver that can also throw touchdowns.

Furthermore, although it is very early in practice, RR has stated that Robinson does not look as good throwing the ball as Forcier or SHERIDAN. The possibility of Robinson jumping ahead of Sheridan on the depth chart before Sept. 5 is slim to none.

I actually believe RR when he says the starting qb job is open. I also note his comments on the performance and development of each candidate. There is a strong possibility that Sheridan will be the starter for game one. Or it could be Forcier. From RRs comments, it seems to me Robinson will be a "wildcat" option, like Feagin last year but also (hopefully) will throw as well.

The original diary made several points that are based in fantasy. Denard will not redshirt and he is a QB, J Forcier is not a viable backup unless there is a disaster, and Sheridan is actually still a strong possibility to get lots of pt. Everyone should pay more attention to what RR says and not the silly voices in their head. Also good points by tmorley re: next year's qbs.

Meeechigan Dan

August 11th, 2009 at 4:56 PM ^

We need to redshirt that font.

With Devin and Cornelius in the fold, I don't think RR wants to redshirt him. He'll use him, even if it's to get his toes wet with gadget plays.


August 11th, 2009 at 7:24 PM ^

A real simple fix to the font problem is copy and paste your piece into Notepad first and should strip all the codes, fonts and other goofy stuff that comes along for the ride when you cut and paste out of Word or some such...hope that helps...


August 11th, 2009 at 5:47 PM ^

exactly what i was going to say. we got two good prospects coming in next year. so by then we'll have at least four option qbs.

right now i look at tate being our most complete quarterback, possessing the best pass-run threat we have. but i feel like denard has athletic ability that tate and definitely sherdian dont. therefore, he is an asset in our system.

plus at this point, im neither entirely convinced nor confident that sheridan can be a viable option qb. i think i'd want to see what denard could do with the offense before i see sheridan walking out onto the field again.


August 11th, 2009 at 7:32 PM ^

I totally agree with Dan on this a couple of years when Coach Rodrigues has this team rockin' and rollin' the likelyhood of any freshman seeing the field in their first year will be slim...but we are not there yet and there is no reason to redshirt a burner like Robinson especially with the threat of injury and the potential change of pace/trick play QB while he gains experience. Even if he eventually ends up changing position, putting Robinson on ice for a year seems to make no sense.

J. Lichty

August 11th, 2009 at 5:03 PM ^

although, he is raw, he has only been through 1 practice. See how he improves over the rest of August and even September before making a judgment on whether he redshirts, but even raw, I expect he will see some playing time during at QB during this season.

West Texas Blue

August 11th, 2009 at 5:04 PM ^

Not happening. Robinson is a playmaker and needs to get on the field somehow, ala Percy Harvin. I highly doubt we're going to develop Robinson to be a QB for his entire career at Michigan. He'll stay at QB for first 2 years due to depth issues, and then we'll move him to slot or CB.

Maize and Blue…

August 11th, 2009 at 5:08 PM ^

First off JForce hasn't even been cleared to play yet. What if Tate gets hurt? Do you really want to see Nick Sheridan again. Finally, there will be a package of plays to best utilize DRob's abilities as you really don't want Tate running a ton. IMO, I think they also create a package with both Tate and DRob in the game at the same time.


August 11th, 2009 at 7:05 PM ^

"What if Tate gets hurt?"

You can always play someone...I think the redshirt is applied for after the season, you don't declare them ineligible or something in advance.

If DR is needed due to injury, or is believed by staff to provide a substantial boost to the team, RR will play him. Otherwise he won't. I guess that sounds obvious but I don't see RR saving anyone for the future after a 3-9 season if he thinks they'll help win games this year.


August 11th, 2009 at 5:12 PM ^

We need him this year at QB 100%. He should play in some games and be the backup by mid/ end of the year (assuming Tate wins the starting job.

When Gardner and Jones come in next year, Denard could be red-shirted and moved to another position to transition into a slot/ WR/ DB, if Gardner and Jones both pass him on the dept chart after Summer practices.

Big Boutros

August 11th, 2009 at 5:12 PM ^

This might be an oblique statement, but I think Denard is just too fast to redshirt. If you mean we should hold off on naming him Michigan's starting QB, then I agree. But I don't think Michigan can afford to keep track champion legs off the field, especially when early PT delivers that mysterious "experience" which seems to yield higher performance in the future.

Blue boy johnson

August 11th, 2009 at 5:19 PM ^

Denard has no interest in a redshirt and with his talent I think the coaches will find ways to utilize him. Even if we had depth at QB I don't think Denard would redshirt, he seems like the type of kid that is going to find his way onto the football field one way or t'other.


August 11th, 2009 at 5:26 PM ^

IF, IF, IF, he redshirts this year then effectively that is the coaching staff's way of pushing out from under center and into either the backfield or out to the slot. No way he redshirts then comes in and competes with TF or DG next year.

Blue boy johnson

August 11th, 2009 at 5:41 PM ^

For me what makes Denard so intriguing is the unknown. Most everyone was able to see Tate's impressive spring performance and expectations are unrealistic. Denard conversely is mostly noted for his fantastic track exploits, his football skills remain somewhat a mystery. When Denard enters the game under center for the first time , the stadium will be buzzing with anticipation.


August 11th, 2009 at 5:52 PM ^

I agree with all of you rationale for Denard not really being needed or even ready to play QB. OTOH, why save a year of eligibility when he's got Gardner coming up behind him? Chances are, he and also even Tate may only have a two or three year horizon, cuz that DG guy sounds really good.

Get Denard's speed on the field a la Harvin. Absolutely this year.

Exodus Prime

August 11th, 2009 at 5:57 PM ^

I think people are underestimating D-Robs skill set. His speed is an asset. Just bcuz he has speed doesnt mean he doesnt have an arm. Did you watch his high school recruit videos? I honestly thought that he looked as good if not better than Forcier. Ive read several Michigan blogs, and the common theme seems to be that the "fans" have pretty much handed the starting job to Tate bcuz he had a good spring game. Its a good thing that RR doesnt have line of thinking. RR wants a QB competition. Im like RR, i want to see these guys compete to be the starter. Dont get me wrong i love what Forcier brings to the table, but im not ready to hand him the starting job without making him earn it. Having a good spring game doesnt earn you the starting job in my book (or RR book either). Either way im excited that we have two young "players" that actually have some skills and can run RR system. Dont forget about David Gardener who will be competing for the job next year.

check this out


August 12th, 2009 at 1:16 AM ^

Does anyone really think Denard's speed deserves all this hype after watching that video? Honestly, he looked quick, but he never took one to the house. Instead of cutting back to find a lane, he just goes out of bounds. I just think if you look at Jeremy Gallon's tape you won't be as impressed with Denard's. Just an observation, perhaps I'm alone in it.

After watching that video, I hope we see Gallon returning kicks this year. The kid just slithers through the defense.


August 12th, 2009 at 8:06 AM ^

Watching his videos I saw exactly one impressive run, and even on that he didn't blow past people. Is the gushing for him as the next Percy Harvin based upon his track exploits, or on the football field?

To be clear, I'm THRILLED to have him and can't wait to see him on the field. But unless I missed a highlight video I'm not sure why everyone is sure he's great.


August 11th, 2009 at 5:56 PM ^

You have 1 highly-rated and 1 potentially highly-rated guy coming in next year. You don't need to "save" Denard for the future (especially if you end up wanting to redshirt one of or both 2010 guys). You also need to space out the eligibility of your quarterbacks a bit, so you don't have (potentially) 3 QBs in the 2010 class.

If Denard plays this year, and it looks like he won't be near the top of the QB depth chart next year, you can redshirt him then, or change his position without a redshirt year.

biakabutuka ex…

August 11th, 2009 at 6:23 PM ^

Have we all forgotten a time when most players, especially QBs, redshirted? I would prefer to not even conceive of having a true freshman QB after this year.

If D-Rob redshirts, he should be the only new QB next year. If he doesn't pan out at all, then yes Gardner can be the backup next year. But I don't think we'll ever win a championship if we keep putting guys 3 to 6 months out of high school behind center.

Durham Blue

August 11th, 2009 at 6:41 PM ^

Michigan should not redshirt world-class speed. If we're concerned about his passing abilities then give him the Feagin role (no, not THAT role) of bootlegs only. With the arrival of DG next season, I envision DRob moving away from QB and more into a Percy Harvin type role. Give the kid the ball in space and let him rocket downfield.


August 11th, 2009 at 7:30 PM ^

Feagin was doing drugs last year. We don't know if that was responsible for his appearing to be a step slower in college than in high school, but I am guessing it played a pretty big part.

Robinson doesn't sound like he intends to come to UM to do drugs; he sounds like he intends to play football. I think, as many seem to, that he will get a few wildcat plays a game, with his role expanding as his comfort level with the offense increases.

Besides, when you're mobile, you don't have to have a perfect throwing motion; you just have to be able to throw well enough to keep the defense honest and hit the occasional wide-open reciever.

Toledo Tornado

August 11th, 2009 at 7:32 PM ^


Were lucky to have Denard ... use all the weapons you have.
He will develop, give him a chance and peace too for that matter... Coach Rod and team's desire is to win, and to use its talent to best use... I sometimes wonder if Sheridan is writng some of this garbage, because i love coach Rod to death, but we cannot repeat last years performance...

Sheridan = butter knife


August 11th, 2009 at 7:33 PM ^

Watching video, I just don't think Denard has the mechanics to play QB, and then you couple that with reports that he is very short, I don't see him projecting at QB. For depth this year I think he is in the mix, unless Jason shows the ability to pick up the offense quickly, but starting next year with Devin Gardner on campus I think depth issues will be a thing of the past and if we are going to be able to use the great athleticism of Denard it is going to be playing the slot.


August 11th, 2009 at 8:08 PM ^

robinson has been recruited as a qb and will play that position. what we need now is for the season to start and end all of this speculation. he will see time as a freshman with considerable backup to come in next year. michigan will be fine and back in the mix by 2010. as in the infamous words of Brian "he is a jet-engine in pads".


August 11th, 2009 at 8:29 PM ^

You know, Mike Hart was too small and slow to be a viable option for Michigan.

No offense, but I think the majority of people, myself included, are not qualified to comment on aspects of football like throwing mechanics. I played football, but I was never a QB, never coached QBs, and frankly, don't know shit about throwing mechanics or how to "ride" the back while making a read. Now if you wanted to know about blocking techniques, pad levels, TE releases, the triple option, DL and LB alignments...

Anyways, he's young, and has had zero time to work with a college QB coach. Also, remember that Vince Young had poor mechanics on his releases as well, it worked out pretty well for him while he was in college.


August 11th, 2009 at 8:52 PM ^

Could be wrong but I believe Vince redshirted. I was coached by a great QB coach and have coached myself at several QB camps so I think my opinion has some merrit. Denard is raw and as a true passer from the pocket will probably never be anything great. That bieng said this offense it isn't imperative to have a great pocket passer, his athleticism on the run will make up for a lack of a great arm with roll outs and what not making throws much simpler. I'm of the opinion once DG arrives next year Denard will become a slightly taller slot ninja but it's not out of the question with some good coaching he could become a very efficent passer in this offense.


August 11th, 2009 at 10:40 PM ^

VY was redshirted, but in the end he still had that side-arm motion. I was more making the point that having an unorthodox throwing motion isn't exactly the end of the world.

I don't disagree with you about Denard likely future (although I'd like to think that he'd be moved to CB/FS if QB doesn't work out, we really don't need more slot ninjas), and while I respect that you know what you're talking about, Robinson is a true freshman who has never received the level of QB coaching that Forcier has. Give it some time.


August 11th, 2009 at 11:31 PM ^

I agree with you completley, I was trying to back up your point about denard bieng athletic enough to overcome his shortcomings as a pure passer. I meant it more as a reply to backusduo. I could see DR being great in this offense with a lil good coaching. I just don't think he can overcome the 6 month head start tate has.


August 12th, 2009 at 6:34 AM ^

You make some valid points, but there is a difference with Denard. We are working with a 6' kid, maybe more of a 5'10" guy by some reports, and I don't think he will get the same accommodations that you give to a Vince Young who still had the prototypical NFL body. The point of my post was more that he is an athlete, and I want to see him play. I agree that we are overloaded at slot, but with that speed, I must admit I have thoughts of grandeur similar to the moves that Percy Harvin and Ginn jr were able to make.

If the move is to defense so be it, but I don't think next year with Devin coming in that Denard sticks at QB. Devin will bring a little more speed then Tate, and will have the mechanics/arm on an NFL body that can take the abuse. Denard is just too much of an athlete to waste on the bench as a backup.

Gerald R. Ford

August 11th, 2009 at 8:04 PM ^

I agree with West Tex and newbie TMorley - Denard needs to practice and prepare to be the QB. He needs to be used as a QB in situations to get PT/experience. He has to be a reasonably seasoned option should an injury occur. Later in the season, we need to start getting him the ball in multiple roles, like voting in Chicago - early and often. This will prepare him for an all-purpose role later that could lead him to greatness at a position to be named later. That is all.


August 11th, 2009 at 8:43 PM ^

Think of how awful Drew Henson was at football after his return. And Henson was an infinitely more competant college quarterback when he stopped playing than was J. Forcier the elder was not on hand last year to learn this offense, nor has he taken a snap in spring or fall. At this point, simply by nature of the fact that he was playing football last year, I would imagine Robinson a much better option at quarterback than Jason Forcier.

Nick Sparks

August 11th, 2009 at 8:46 PM ^

I think it would be great to have both him and Tate on the field at the same time.

I'd have to imagine it would be a nightmare for a defensive coordinator to prep for a guy with Harvin speed and an arm lined up in the slot or backfield.

Has another team ever employed something like this with consistency?