Actual News: Mark Snyder writes rational, correct article on Denard.

Submitted by wolverine1987 on October 17th, 2011 at 9:15 AM

First off, Freep warning. Ok now onto this: Mark Snyder has written an article that I can't disagree with at all, on any point. I never thought I'd see that. His POV: that people calling for Denard's removal as QB are dead wrong and over-reacting to the loss Saturday. in part he writes:

"Robinson gives U-M the best chance to win. Though the highs and lows are maddening, he is the offensive player who has the most explosive potential. Reguylarly taking the ball out of the hands of your best player is a mistake"…







My name ... is Tim

October 17th, 2011 at 9:30 AM ^

Anyone who is calling for Denard to be removed as quarterback should be ashamed, in my opinion. How often did this kid put his team on his back without any complaints over the past two years when our defense gave him no breaks, our running backs no rest, and our offensive line no time to throw? Not only that, but he did it all with a smile on his face. Denard stayed - even after Michigan hired a guy who no one could guarantee was going to run an offense suited to Denard's strengths - and kept that smile on his face. He led us to a thrilling win over Notre Dame and a 6-0 record to start out the season. Now, after a game where the coaches inexplicably abandon the run - Denard's bread and butter - and one loss we're quitting on Denard? For shame.

Even further, what exactly has Devin Gardner shown that makes everyone think he is some world beater at this point? Because he was a higher ranked recruit coming out of high school? Give me a break. Denard is our starting QB until he either quits, graduates, or gets injured playing his heart out for a fan base that can feature some fairly fickle individuals.

Mitch Cumstein

October 17th, 2011 at 9:36 AM ^

I agree that Denard should start, but not for the reasons you mention.  I don't think the coaching staff owes Denard.  I think the coaching staff owes the team to start the guy that gives the team the best chance to win.  Thats really all there is to it.  Starting Denard b/c of all the great things hes done and not b/c of his play is a disservice to the team and program.

The things you mentioned are reasons to respect Denard and love him as fans.  Not reasons to start him.

My name ... is Tim

October 17th, 2011 at 9:44 AM ^

What I was also implying, while maybe not outright saying, is that it's absurd for everyone to run off the Denard bandwagon when his track record undoubtedly demonstrates that he provides our best chance to win, not a QB who has played a few dozen snaps the last two years without any hint of the electrifying performances that Denard brings to the table. I just think everyone who is doing the jumping is being a little reactionary and needs to remember all that Denard means and has meant to this program over the last two years. I bet those same people celebrated with joy when Denard returned this year. There's no reason for that to change because of one game featuring bad offensive playcalling.

Mitch Cumstein

October 17th, 2011 at 9:48 AM ^

I agree with that.  I will say I'd like to see Devin on the field more (at the same time as Denard) though in some of those complex sets with both of them.  Not even always snapping it to Devin though maybe splitting him out wide and having Denard take the snap.  I just can't argue with Urban when he said if Devin is one of the best 11 offensive players he should be on the field.  I do think he is one of the best 11 offensive players.  That being said, Denard should be the starting QB and take the high majority of the snaps as QB.


October 17th, 2011 at 9:59 AM ^

I don't think people are getting off the Denard bandwagon, it is just a knee-jerk reaction to losing an emotional game. The article describes Denard as a roller coaster, which is apt. How many people jump on the roller coaster then scream like mad once you start going down the hill. It is not easy sitting still and enjoying the ride.



October 17th, 2011 at 10:31 AM ^

I don't think it's knee-jerk at all. 37% completion is not acceptable. I've been watching Denard's passing be lousy all season. It got a little better with routes he should be able to hit but then what happened on Saturday? I've been feeling like we should switch Denard and Devin as QB for a while. This doesn't mean take Denard off the field: we have the best chances of a play that will take us somewhere when both of them are on the field.

coastal blue

October 17th, 2011 at 9:49 AM ^

People become irrational and believe the back-up is the anwer when things don't go according to plan. 

Hell, either last year or the year before, San Fransisco fans were chanting for David Carr to replace Alex Smith. 

The only way that inserting Devin into the starting role even makes sense would be if the coaches felt we had nothing to play for this season and wanted to prepare for next year. Since we are 6-1 and can win every game from here, this is clearly not the case. 

Borges needs to call the game to Denard's strengths. Take that 4th and 1 play action failure (the most infuriating playcall of the season): If Denard is in the shotgun, he sees the rogue blitz coming and takes off, game on. Instead, he gets smashed to the ground because the guy is in the backfield before he has time to look up from the fake.

Also, and I can't remember who has been saying it, but they've been 100% correct: give the RBs an actual chance before declaring our entire offense is Denard. How you're going to say Fitz is your #1 and then give him two carries is beyond me. 



October 17th, 2011 at 11:10 AM ^

This right here.  We're talking about eliminating the ability to put the ball in the hands of our best player on every play; this is the same player who had 325 passing yards last week and 400 against ND, while having a higher passing rating than Kirk Cousins going into week seven, against much tougher competition.  In case anyone forgot, we have a new offensive coordinator and new routes this year.  Also, if anyone recalls, in Borges's first year, Cade Mcnown was the 10th best passer in his conference.  In his second year, the guy was a heisman candidate throwing the ball.  If we can actually be patient and trust our returning all american, he could melt faces next year with a bit of practice with the new routes and throwing mechanics.



October 17th, 2011 at 11:52 AM ^

Denard and the receivers need a full year in the system to get the reads, timing and routes down. This is key to the West Coast passing game, and a big change.

I think the big question moving into next year is the offensive line. Molk and Huyge depart. We'll have a new center (Barnum?), and at least one other "new" lineman. The even bigger question is: will the line be able to complete the transition to MANBALL.

I like that we are working Devin in now, but at the same time I like the thought that Denard will be back there with two years of experience, and second year in system. Hopefully, the Stonum redemption tour happens as well, and he is learning the routes this year.

lexus larry

October 17th, 2011 at 9:32 AM ^

This is precisely what Chris Spielman was saying during the basically, the source material for the column was a color analyst on the telecast.

Very deep, Freep hacks...very deep!


October 17th, 2011 at 10:04 AM ^

I love Denard, and I agree that you can't take him off the field, I just don't see any progress in the passing department the way they're running the offense right now. He runs like the wind, but if he continues to be unable to pass consistently, the offense gets really easy to stop. Hopefully he gets things sorted out.

Section 1

October 17th, 2011 at 11:00 AM ^

Mark Snyder isn't always wrong.  And this seems pretty reasonable to me.  Mark's seen the same games that I have.  This is the first time in a long time that we've gone this deep into the football season and I can say that, just like the Free Press' Michigan beat-writer, I have witnessed all of the games first hand just as he has.

As for Denard and Devin:  Denard has made some bad reads and some bad throws.  Wow; newsflash there.  And Devin Gardner shows some real promise (he should at this stage) with some natural gifts as a runner and an occasionally beautiful throwing motion.

But yeah; Snyder's right!  Denard Robinson is our starting QB; one of the great players in college football today.

btw:  If anybody is looking for the usual Freep/Snyder hate from me, I'll repeat here what we said in the Three and Out threads -- that Mark Snyder looks every as bad as Rosenberg on the subject of Stretchgate.  I still think (and I suspect that John U. Bacon agrees) that it was essentially Rosenberg's project, in which he hooked Snyder in to help him.  But Snyder really looks terrible in the few quotes that are in the book (and which have all been largely confirmed by Brian Cook long ago).

Also, Re: The Free Press in general...   Yesterday's Sunday print edition, featuring four or five pages of elaborate UM-MSU coverage had not one line mentioning Gholston's neck-twist.  So that when Gholston does get suspended, as he surely will, it will look pretty odd for the Freep.  An incident that wasn't even mentioned in game-day coverage will be a major story for the following week.  You really have to wonder about Sipple's and Snyder's basic reporting, on at least that one issue. 


October 17th, 2011 at 10:24 AM ^

Nice title.  A good article - Denard isn't a great QB, but he's the best chance to win this season.  I am fine with Devin beating him out for the position on the practice field - rumors during the preseason were that he was right there with Denard - but right now this team needs to win, and that should be the only reason for a switch.  I have yet to see anything that shows Devin being a better choice at QB, though I do think he should see some playing time.


October 17th, 2011 at 10:27 AM ^

I see merit in the argument of whether Denard should be our QB. I know we had some horrendous play calling, but how many times does he throw a ball to nowhere that just kills a drive? He is a tremendous person, a tremendous athelete, but I think it is telling that the easy throw and the hard throw both look like 50/50s to me when he's put to the task. I've had this unease in my gut since even last year. I just feel it isn't a question of if, but when with regards to bad throws and INTs. Does honestly no one else feel this unease?

The other side of the argument to consider: isn't Devin Gardner one of our best athletes too? I find it just as much a crime to not have him on the field as it is to not have Denard on the field. He doesn't have Denard's speed, but he can still run and make plays, which on this team we need as many of those as we can get. I just don't see how having both on the field makes us worse, if not better.


October 17th, 2011 at 10:57 AM ^

how many of you hold your breath every time he throws the ball?  

My hope for DRob is he can play in the pros.  He's not going to play QB in the pros.  If we care about his future, shouldn't the coaches find a position he can learn and play in the future.  I think he could be EQUALLY as dangerous at other positions.  And I don't buy the idea that him at QB gives us the best chance to win, especially against tough defenses.  If he and Devin were in there together almost all the time, I think that is more imposing to Defenses than anything.  Then you have a threat to throw and can't stack up for the run but also have to keep an eye on Denard.


October 17th, 2011 at 11:04 AM ^

Denards strength's as a passer are very much evident; bubble screens and short to intermediate routes with the occasional bomb.  Denard is very much a rythmn QB, he has to hit 4-5 passes to begin the game or he is going to struggle and making him hit a 15-20yard slant across the middle is not cutting it. 

While Denard was terrible on Saturday, he is the QB and should be and I rest most of the offenses inability to Borges and his play calling.  However, Borges has shown that he can be good 90% of the time so I am going to treat this game as an outlier. 


October 17th, 2011 at 11:18 AM ^

...says to me that we should start viewing Denard as analogous to Desmond Howard or Woodson. They are an overwhelming talent that should be put in positions to make plays, not necessarily run the game. Denard in space is the greatest threat to an opposing offense. Playing him at QB means that he is always going to have to beat 11 men in some capacity. Borges can draw up whatever he wants; everyone is watching Denard to run. Focus on Denard also does ont detract from focus on the ball since he is the QB. Denard misdirections in two-back sets with Fitz would be amazing. It would require honesty on a defense's part. If we used Denard the way Florida used Percy Harvin I think the results could be astounding.


October 17th, 2011 at 11:43 AM ^

I said this in my game recap, but I like what Borges and Hoke are doing with Devin and Denard.  Devin needs to get snaps in case Denard gets hurt (which has happened in the last two games).  Devin also provides an element that Denard doesn't, which is an accurate, catchable ball when he makes the right read.  Devin needs to get better at reading defenses, which will come with time, but his mechanics and touch are loads better than Denard's.

Personally, I like the series when Devin comes in and Denard goes to play wide receiver or running back.  I don't think it should be a full-time switch, but for a couple series a game, I think it's a worthwhile change of pace.


October 17th, 2011 at 12:00 PM ^

It seems to me as if Denard can make it in the pros as a RB, sort of like Jahvid Best, but I am the first to admit that I have insufficient knowledge of the game to make any such prediction.  I would be interested in your thoughts.  If that would be best for him, then we could play him at tailback (primarily) and run a lot of wildcat, tailback throws and bubble screens to him that would get him one-on-one opportunities.


October 17th, 2011 at 2:47 PM ^

We need to stop looking at Denard so much and start looking at why we have no O-Line and running game.

Given that our O-Line and running game is as weak as it is, Denard is the medicine not the disease.