Denard and the Heisman

Submitted by cargo on January 17th, 2011 at 11:35 PM

Do you think Denard places top 6 or higher in the heisman again next year?  I think he does he's bound to improve as a passer and while his running yards might not be as high I can see him putting up around 700 yards with 2200+ passing.  So I predict a top 3 finish.



January 18th, 2011 at 8:09 AM ^

I think we all need to take a step back and see how Denard adjusts to a new offense and how the coaches adjust to exploiting his talents.  Right now both sides are happy to be working with the other.  There will be bumps and bruises I think.  I am optimistic about Denard, and love him as a leader on top of his skills.  Let's not get carried away with expectations though going into a new offense and a new team.  Let's just hope he leads our team to victory, everything else will take care of itself.


January 18th, 2011 at 12:12 PM ^

I honestly hope that hype doesn't surface again until 12'!  Although I definitely think he will be in discussion, I think he will need a year to adjust to a new system.  Which is fine and understood. 

He will be great next year though.  I'm excited to see him pass more.  The threat alone of "the run" should help his passing game tremendously.  Can you imagine the fear in players hearts knowing the guy is dropping back to pass in the pocket. 

Gives play action a new meaning!  They are going to be in a lose/lose situation.  I will again make the comparison to Vick.  He scares the shat out of the Defense. 

Can't wait.  I'm getting excited again.  Wish it were starting tomorrow!


January 18th, 2011 at 6:43 AM ^

Yeah, but you know...James was playing in the NC game.

and Denard was getting his ass whooped by Miss St. (much to the displeasure of us all)

It isn't and never will be all about stats. I still maintain that if they had given the trophy at midseason denard would have won it by a landslide (kinda like Newton did at the end of the year)


January 17th, 2011 at 11:39 PM ^

While there is a non-zero chance that Denard is in the conversation next year, I just don't see the team winning enough or Denard putting up big enough numbers during the offensive transition to get him there. I do think, raging, unrealistic optimist that I am, that he has a good chance in two years after he has learned the system better and the team should be back to being Michigan again or close to it. 


January 17th, 2011 at 11:40 PM ^

I think Denard would definitely have been there if he had just stayed healthy and played every game all the way through, even if the record had been the same.

I'd be surprised if he only has 700 rushing yards next year though. A few of the easier games could see him pretty close to that.


January 18th, 2011 at 12:04 AM ^

I don't think that his health was an issue last year.  He put up historically high numbers even though he missed some playing time (I wonder what would have happened if he played more than two series against BGSU?).

I think that his problem was more related to consistency.  He didn't have great numbers down the stretch and had too many fumbles and interceptions to make his otherwise solid numbers really stand up.  If he could have kept his interceptions out of double digits, his overall resume would have looked better.  Of course, there's the whole issue of the 7-5 record, too.

I'd be really happy if Denard drops about 500 rushing yards but picks up 500 passing yards and cuts his INT's to about 6 or 7 next year.


January 18th, 2011 at 9:56 AM ^

And also about the wish that he drop about 500 rushing & pick up 500 passing yards, especially if the 500 fewer rushing yards are offset by our backs gaining at least that many more.  Seriously, Denard and the offense would be much stronger if we had a strong runner to complement Denard, and if Denard were not so beat up from doing most of our running.

One small quibble, and that goes to Denard's consistency.  He might have had better numbers down the stretch if teams were not able to key on him so much.  Teams we played later in the season had a lot more film to study.  They could make adjustments that were perhaps not so obvious to opponents earlier in the year.   Without a  second strong runner, we became more predictable, and with the stronger defenses we face at MSU, Iowa, Wisconsin, & OSU, Denard took an increased physical pounding, which probably affected his play.


January 17th, 2011 at 11:58 PM ^

Totally agree, if we had a D think how much more we'd of had the ball....we were down by 2tds a lot in 2nd half season and had to press on O just to make it close...With an even mediocre D Denard will easily be in running for HE16MAN


January 17th, 2011 at 11:57 PM ^

I am a huge fan of Denard and I love all of the optimism on the board, but I am not sure that the new offense will use him as effectively. I also worry that it will take him some time to adjust mentally to a new scheme. Also it is difficult to win the heisman unless you are on a national championship contending team. But, he certainly has the talent to win it and I agree that his passing skills should continue to improve. 


January 18th, 2011 at 12:05 AM ^

I doubt if someone with Denard's running ability would "only" run 700 yards. I can totally see him topping a 1000 rushing and 2000 passing given our schedule this year and the fact that he will definitely be the focal point of our offense

M Fanfare

January 18th, 2011 at 12:10 AM ^

Fun fact: since the advent of the BCS in 1998, the Heisman winner played in the National Championship Game every year except for 4, and two of the four were the '98 and '99 winners (Ricky Williams and Ron Dayne). In addition the most losses a BCS-era Heisman winner's team had when he won it--before bowl games are played--is 3 (Williams in 1998 and Tim Tebow in 2007), and every winner except for those two were playing in a BCS game.

He very well may get to NYC at some point, but those are the facts for Heisman winners in the BCS era.


January 18th, 2011 at 12:12 AM ^

Denard is a competitor. There is ZERO doubt in my mind that he will do the things that he needs to do to improve in the offseason and run whatever offense we will run effectively. He will be even stronger, and he likely won't carry the ball as much, thus limiting the injuries that plagued him this year. His rushing totals will likely dip a bit, but the key difference will be the decrease in interceptions. Also, while I would like to see Denard run designed runs less often, he needs to learn when to tuck it and run on pass plays. If he can learn to do this (and I'm confident that he can), our offense might not be half bad in 2011. The stats might not be as eye-popping, but I think less INTs and two more wins gets him to NY. 


January 18th, 2011 at 7:16 AM ^

that you don't win the Heisman Trophy by talking about it in January.  Let Denard go onto the field this fall and do his best.  This Heisman talk, while exciting for a while last year, is just "mental masterbation" to quote Phil Jackson.


January 18th, 2011 at 7:21 AM ^

Wasn't florida 9-3 or 9-4 when Tebow won? (And then got his face smashed in the CapOne bowl...) If Hoke is the coach everyone claims him to be, he's got 9 win talent coming back this year. If Denard can keep consistent, maybe a simplified offense (compared to RR's) would help him and maybe a trip to NY wouldn't be out of the question.


January 18th, 2011 at 8:05 AM ^

Generally one's numbers have to improve over the previous year and your team has to win more games to be considered for the Heisman after missing out.  While I think we all agree that Michigan will win more games, given the offensive transition and the offensive staff assembled I doubt that Denard will add to his eye-popping stats from last year.  The RBs will get the carries more often, and while his passing numbers will improve, his numbers in the air will hardly be among the best in the country. 

Maybe a shot in two years, but even if he is a better player next season I doubt the voters will send him to NYC.


January 18th, 2011 at 8:55 AM ^

Denard Robinson will be on many of the early Heisman favorite lists, given the extraordinary numbers he put up in 2010. He is realistically unlikely to win it, for a few reasons.

Denard’s rushing numbers will probably be way down in 2011. Even Rich Rodriguez would tell you that his ideal offense would feature less of Denard running, and a lot more of someone else. Rodriguez never found his Steve Slaton, which was one reason why Michigan’s offense floundered in the second half of the season. Better defenses were able to limit Denard, knowing that Michigan didn’t have another home-run hitter in the backfield. Without a more balanced running game, the same thing would happen in 2011.

Hoke, of course, won’t be running the spread offense, so Denard will be running less often by design. Sure, he’ll get his touches—how could he not?—but he’s not going to get 1,500 on the ground. If he does, it’ll probably mean that Michigan is one-dimensional, which is a good if you want to go 7-5 again.

Without Denard putting up such gaudy rushing numbers, he won’t be in the Heisman conversation unless he wins it with his arm. Denard in 2010 was clearly a much better passer than in 2009, but he is not yet an elite passer. He throws some great balls, but he also misses a lot of guys, and he throws a lot of catchable balls that don’t quite hit the receiver in stride. He will probably continue to improve, but the sophomore-to-junior jump probably won’t be as dramatic as the freshman-to-sophomore jump was.

Denard got into the Heisman race because of several early games in which he practically beat the opponent all by himself. The Notre Dame game sticks out, because anytime you do that to the Irish, it’s national news by definition. Great as that game was for a fan, we quickly discovered that it was not sustainable. In an offense where he won’t be called upon to carry the whole team, it becomes less likely that he’ll have the kind of “highlight reel games” against marquee opponents that get a guy noticed by Heisman voters.