May 28th, 2011 at 12:24 PM ^

I'm not surprised Lewan isn't on here... I think a lot of people that don't pay close attention to UM don't even know who he is yet.  Not to mention the fact that he is not yet a dominant lineman and he commits too many penalties. 

It is quite possible that he will make some strides this year and make the team at the end of the year, and that's the only one that matters.


May 28th, 2011 at 1:53 PM ^

Without even improving his passing percentage or passing yardage, Denard can be a better quarterback this year even if you take 700-800 yards of his rushing total.

He just needs to make himself a bigger scrambling threat (especially on third down), cut his interceptions and especially fumbles and take a little better care of his body (slides, running out of bounds) and he will be an even bigger help to us winning games.

I don't care about his postseason accolades at all. I care about his postgame smile being as wide as his pregame smile.


May 28th, 2011 at 1:46 PM ^

I am sadly in the same camp.  Before Pat White's senior year, there was all this positive press about Pat passing more to keep him healthy and better use his talents.  That season WVU took a massive drop in offensive production and Pat didn't really do too well until they essentially went back to their old ways.  Denard is the picture perfect spread option quarterback; it's a big question mark whether he can do well in a pro system.


May 28th, 2011 at 1:52 PM ^

It probably won't be a pro-style, it will be a fusion offense. The same one that has served other small, fleet-footed quarterbacks in college football recently (Troy Smith, Tyrod Taylor).

There are some things that are going to be hard to duplicate from an offense that ran shotgun, 3-5 wide, hurry-up offense virtually every play. But I certainly won't miss seeing Denard limping to the sidelines, getting knocked out of games and being forced to be our starting quarterback AND workhorse running back.


May 28th, 2011 at 1:59 PM ^

Oh it wil be a fusion, and we'll stil run a lot of the old stuff, but that does not mean we will run it as well.  Rodriguez did a shitty job at Michigan, but the guy knew his spread option offense.  It's not like anyone can just show up and run/coach the plays as effectively as he did.  If that was the case, head coaches would never keep their jobs because cheap nobodies would always be replacing them.  This isn't a shot at you, but it frustrates me when people say we'll be fine because we'll run a lot of the same plays.

Crazy Canuck

May 28th, 2011 at 4:50 PM ^

I don't think DRob will run for as much yardage , but I think he'll have a better yards per carry average. For all the highlight reel runs he had last year there was way more little or no gain runs as well. Did you noticed that the really good teams stuffed him more than not?You can only run the same play so many times in a game. Sure you can change your formation, but the play remains the same. The offence became way to predictable at the end of the season.


May 28th, 2011 at 5:41 PM ^

The predictability of the offense is a perennial complaint for us Michigan fans, apparently.  It used to be Lloyd Carr's tendency to plow into the left side of the line that drew criticism, and now it's that Rich Rodriguez was running his best (and really only effective) running back too often.  I mean, there's a reason why "really good teams stuffed him more often than not."  It's because they're really good.

Chadillac Grillz

May 29th, 2011 at 3:05 AM ^


Drob had 121 rushing vs. Wisconsin (5.5 per),  191 vs. Penn State (7.1) and 105 (5.8 per) against both Iowa and tOSU and barely played half the game in both contests. These are 4 of the B1G's best defenses and he combined for 522 yards rushing against them. Even Miss. State didn't really stuff him running he just didn't run much because they didn't want him hurt, and didn't wanna burn Devin's redshirt potential (I'm guessing). Sparty is the only team that contained his running without paying horribly in the passing game for it. His red zone passing wasn't always good though.


May 28th, 2011 at 10:06 PM ^

Does it really take a special coach to call a bunch QB iso plays?

Rodriguez gets credit for the offensive design and obviously for recruiting Denard to begin with. But it wasn't any kind of magic touch or X's and O's genius that enabled him to run for all those yards. The kid's a hard worker and has fabulous running instincts. And is really, really fast. Those qualities will remain no matter who the coach is.


May 29th, 2011 at 4:22 PM ^

Pat White was different. He didn't have nearly as many running attempts as Denard and most of his yards came off read keepers, not runs designed for him.

White's production was much more a product of scheme. The plays that Denard excelled at featured very little in the way of deception.


May 28th, 2011 at 2:07 PM ^

to be less than last years, but I'm still surprised he took that much of a hit. I'm also surprised Steele doesn't expect Cousins productin to fall off since he lost both his Tackles and Center. I think that (and this years tougher schedule) is why he put Persa ahead of him but neither were consesus All Americans. Borges is a proven qb mentor. Whatever dip in form DRob has he'll overcome, that kid at SDSU improved so much after all.

Eye of the Tiger

May 28th, 2011 at 10:55 PM ^

It may be okay. We don't need to break records to be more effective; we just need to be more efficient, particularly in sustaining drives, not turning the ball over and raising ppd. One of the best ways to do that is with the RBs. Borges has mentored some great ones, and if we can turn our stable of "meh" into something more effective and consistent, we can get more for the team with less Denard.

Also, I know a lot of people on this board hate on ToP, but given what should be an average defense, at best, it might make sense to sustain drives a little longer.


May 29th, 2011 at 12:43 AM ^

from trying to score or go for a big play every time on the field if the defense is competent.  This is where Denard pressed once the Big 10 starts. Before when the defense were just okay, Denard was fine and didn't throw nearly as many INT in non-conference play compared to conference play.


Even with the defense holding the offense back by not getting off the field quickly, the offense still managed to put up record breaking offense within the limitations they have as a team.  The offense were fine in moving the ball IMO.

Eye of the Tiger

May 29th, 2011 at 9:31 PM ^

Against MSU we had 10 pts going in to the 4th quarter

Against Iowa we had 7 pts going in to the 4th quarter

Against Wisconsin we had 0 in the first half

Against OSU we had 7 the whole game.  

Yes, our defense and its epic FAIL kept us from being able to recover from this, but our offense was also lacking against the top teams in conference.  PSU was the only game we lost purely on defensive shenanigans.  



May 28th, 2011 at 12:35 PM ^

Denard was a first-team All-American and doesn't make first-team all-B1G?  Really?  Wow, people must anticipate that he'll do just terribly in the new offense.  Personally, I think he'll be just fine.

Apparently he's behind Dan Persa and Kirk Cousins.


May 29th, 2011 at 8:57 AM ^

But what about the other Tat5'ers? As a person I have a very low opinion of Pryor, but as a QB it's silly to have him outside the top 4. His scrambling and playmaking abilities are elite, and this is his senior season. He should be ahead of Persa, and without question in front of Martinez.


May 29th, 2011 at 8:57 AM ^

But what about the other Tat5'ers? As a person I have a very low opinion of Pryor, but as a QB it's silly to have him outside the top 4. His scrambling and playmaking abilities are elite, and this is his senior season. He should be ahead of Persa, and without question in front of Martinez.

Naked Bootlegger

May 28th, 2011 at 1:24 PM ^

UW's RB combo of Ball and White are 1st and 2nd team.  Would John Clay have been 3rd team?

It will be interesting to see if UW's ground attack is as efficient this year with a young starting QB and a lot of turnover on their OL.  I don't doubt the OL replacements will be good, but they will be replacing a ton of experience and skill on the line.   There's no way they can keep up last year's pace on the ground (fingers crossed tightly that this statement is true).



May 28th, 2011 at 1:25 PM ^

I'm a little surprised that Denard is behind both Persa and Cousins, since Cousins is going to be have some new WRs to break in and Persa is coming back from a tough injury and, well, he plays for NW.  Personally, I'd put Cousins 1st, Denard 2nd, then Persa or Martinez.  I know people are worried about Denard's production in the new offense, but he still is going to have opportunities to make plays in space and throw the ball to wide-open guys.  Yeah, you'll probably not see another 500-yard game, but he is still going to run for over 500 yards and throw for close to 2000 yards, which are pretty impressive.  And by the way, he should have a decent running game (finally) to help him out.

Beyond that, Montee Ball may be a little too high just because Wiscy is going to replacing quite a few guys on offense and so defenses will be able to focus a little more on slowing him down.  Baker looks like a stud at RB, but Trenton Robinson as 1st-team DB?  He's a decent S, but I'd take Hyde or Sukay over him.


May 28th, 2011 at 2:05 PM ^

I disagree there. I'd put Persa or Denard on the first team, depending on who you think is more likely to come back strong, Cousins on the third, and Martinez on the fourth just because he very well might make me look extremely idiotic by not putting him there.

Plus, we can then hope for a Tweet from Pryor about how he's not good at football.

Maximinus Thrax

May 28th, 2011 at 2:50 PM ^

Persa is the latest in the long line of over-hyped NW quarterbacks.  Basanez and Bacher preceded him in this line of descent.  I don't know really why these guys get so hyped.  I remember in the 2003 game against M.  All I heard all week was about Basanez and how great he was and how they were going to give Michigan a run for their money.  THey were talking about this guy as if he were going to go down as one of the greatest QBs in the history of the B10.  Evan as they were getting pummeled and Basanez was performing pathetically (along with the rest of his team), the commentators were still singing his praises as if they could not see what was going on in front of their eyes, or as if they refused to believe it.  That was really the only time I remember seeing him play, but needless to say I was not impressed.  Yes, Ir realize that his stats were off the chain.  Likewise with Persa.  He has had a few great games, but I just don't get it.  I can grudgingly offer respect to Cousins (although I do love his tendency to get flustered and start throwing picks by the bakers dozen when things don't go his way), but Persa is vastly overrated from what I have seen.  Denard over both of them.


May 28th, 2011 at 5:38 PM ^

The question of Persa's quality and where he ranks vs. Denard are only partially related.  I put Robinson ahead of Persa, but Iyou don't have to tear Persa down to get that..  Persa had a great season last year.  I suspect that his achilles injury is going to hamper his season.  Recall MSU's Kalin Lucas took 11 months to get his quickness back.  Cousin's season is going to depend on his offensive line.  Sparty should be worried about Dan France guarding the left side.


May 29th, 2011 at 9:51 PM ^

Exactly, Persa is very, very good. He had a 73.5 completion percentage, and threw for nearly 2,600 yards last year on a team that wasn't excellent. On top of that, he had 368 all purpose yards against Iowa, a team that let up a total of 3805 yards. In other words, Persa handed Iowa 9.68% of the yards they gave up all season.

He's the real deal.


May 28th, 2011 at 5:13 PM ^

Persa's an odd choice, but I can see Cousins.  He doesn't really lose that much in the way of receiving targets.  Dell and Gantt are gone, but Martin, Cunningham, Nichol and Linthicum return.  I expect him to have a strong year.  The main wildcard is how the OL will hold up.  


May 28th, 2011 at 5:17 PM ^

I can't argue with that.  He was OK - not great - in 2009, and is coming off a very serious injury.  It's very much up in the air whether he can regain all his former mobility after a dislocated ankle.