Denard Robinson = Juice Williams?

Submitted by 1464 on November 7th, 2011 at 12:40 PM

I'm not off the Denard bandwagon.  I know a lot of people have started to turn on him, but there are worse people to be compared to.

After showing signs of being something special during his freshman year, Juice followed it up by a largely injury plagued sophomore season.  Throughout those first two years, he had only one more TD pass than interception but it was clear he had a spark that most QBs did not have.

Williams made a huge impact in his junior year.  He came out of his shell and combined for 3,900 all purpose yards. At this time, he was considered a groundbreaker at the position, as he was just HARD to contain.  We all know that to be true, as he torched us for the most yards in Big House history.  Despite this, he did have some glaring deficiencies that were largely overlooked, because.... did you SEE that?  First and foremost, his accuracy was questionable.  He seemed to get hurt a lot as well.

Fast forward to his senior year.  He was on every watch list you can think of.  He came out of the gate and sputtered.  Was this due to regression on his part, or did DC's focus in on him more closely?  Did they gameplan strictly to stop his skills?

It seems like during his senior season, opposing defenses put just enough pressure on Juice to expose and open the cracks in his armor.  The regression may not have been actual regression, instead it was the defenses who tipped the field on its axis slightly enough to reveal his flaws.  Juice was relegated to second string midway through the year after throwing 2 INTs against OSU.

I think that the new regime would rather have a pocket passer, obviously, but we do not have the players to accomodate that.  I still think that if Gardner gets his act together, he may end up starting at some point next year.  I love what Denard has done and I hope that this is not the case.



November 7th, 2011 at 12:48 PM ^

With Robinson here next year he is OUR starting QB. When I watch the games it is clear that Robinson just isn't used to or has not adjusting  to when he should tuck it and scramble.

He was much more comfortable last year running is the common theme I keep hear but  the difference it is was running the read option play. His first look is to read the d-line then keep if he chooses to and by then he already knows where the best lane to run though is. This year having him drop back and then scamble is not working and he is clearly not comfortable doing that. I agree with other posters who are calling for 85% shotgun and 15% prostyle but right now it is almost 50/50.

We need to put Denard in his last year and a half here is the best position to suceed and the i-formation just isn't that. Garnder is not the answer. All I can hope for is Hoke steps in and tells Al to look at last years film and to adjust accordingly.

PDX Blue

November 7th, 2011 at 7:25 PM ^

The coaching staff does not owe it to Denard to put him in the best position to succeed. Their responsibility is to the team/program. They need to put the team in the best position for success, and that includes looking to balance both short and long term needs. In this case, I believe that includes installing the system that they will look to run in years 2-XX.

I love having Denard as our QB. He seems to have countless terrific qualities, but he also has some glaring shortcomings in terms of managing the offense, that are not isolated to this season. Denard did not look comfortable scrambling last season either. Even if the conference is down this year, in terms of overall strength, the level of athlete (and coaching staff) is still far superior to what Denard faces in the earlier parts of the season.  Having said that, I'm hoping that the coaching staff can adapt the game plan a bit to put the team in the best position to succeed, but the players also need to execute.


November 7th, 2011 at 12:53 PM ^

Denard has and had real coaches; Williams got Zooked.  Denard can throw the ball; Williams was mediocre at best.  Denard will have a good supporting cast on both sides of the ball; Williams didn't.  

I could do this all day; I love semicolons.  



November 7th, 2011 at 12:57 PM ^

Let's be real here.  Denard has excellent power on his throws, but he has below average accuracy and decision making on them.  If I had to rate him as a passer compared to actual pocket passers, I think mediocre would be the word I would use for him as well.

The kid is an elite talent with an amazingly humble personality.  He's my favorite Wolverine since Hart.  But it is pretty obvious he has regressed this year. 

As far as coaching, is there not a litany of threads that say Borges doesn't know how to use DR?


November 7th, 2011 at 7:18 PM ^

Whether Denard is Juice Williams or Michael Vick, whether it's RR's system or Borges's, whether you use a semicolon or have a semi, we have beaten this to death. 

Bottom line, we are 7-2, nationally ranked, have great coaches, and have a tremendous upside. 

I love Denard.   He's simply not an accurate passer, deal with it!   None of us have the answers and I guarantee Borges is pulling his hair out!  Well...maybe not. 

Next season in Dallas, he will need to have 35 carries just so we can stay in the game!



November 7th, 2011 at 2:06 PM ^

umm lol... denard can throw? lol Williams was a far better passer than denard is..


I could name more deep throws i saw williams complete in 1 game than denard has thrown all year


November 7th, 2011 at 4:44 PM ^

Illinois had quite a bit of talent during the Juice era: Arrelious Benn and Rashard Mendenhall were both explosive playmakers and 1st or 2nd round picks. On defense they had Vonte Davis and mgoblog favorite J Leman.


November 7th, 2011 at 1:07 PM ^

Is Denard the only one playing a new offense? Is he the only one making mistakes on blocking assignments, routes, snap counts, etc.? It's probably really hard on Denard to be the only person making mistakes while learning a new offense. Every blocking assignment has been executed perfectly, and every receiver route has been run with laser-like precision.

We were a 7-5 team that got manhandled against every quality opponent, and we installed a new offense and defense. While the Juice comparisons are fair given the athleticism, I think we take our mid-level bowl, win one of the last three (and the bowl game), and call this season a success. I'll take 9-4 given the shit maelstrom we've had the last three years.

Denard has proven to be a student of the game, and is willing to bust his ass to succeed. I can't wait to see him next year.

OSUMC Wolverine

November 7th, 2011 at 1:32 PM ^

I am a huge fan of Denard and think he represents the school well.  I am also hopeful that he has a fruitful career in the NFL.  Unfortunately, he has very little chance of being a QB at the next level except for the occasional wildcat formations that nearly everyone has installed.  I think he would be better served by allowing him to show his diversity in other roles on the field.  I'm not saying that he should never play quarterback, but using him in a role more comparable to his likely role in the pros would benefit him.  It may benefit the team as well.  His presence elsewhere on the field has proven to be a huge distraction at times this year when Devin was in at QB.

Jon Benke

November 7th, 2011 at 11:17 PM ^

Running up the gut on every first down, before the last two drives .. for me, that predictabilty is what tore us up, not anything Denard did.  Once we started being aggressive, on those last two drives, we started seriously moving the ball on them.  Why can't we start - on both sides of the ball, with that sense of urgency, from the get go, is frickin' beyond me!


November 7th, 2011 at 2:14 PM ^

What did Denard mess up Saturday?

He threw a solid pass that was deflected and picked.

We dropped 5 of his passes, including a touchdown.

He had another touchdown waved off by the refs (ruled incomplete)

and ANOTHER TD pass grossly interfered with.

He had a flukey, no-contact fumbled that, while his fault, was a result of him trying to make a play - his key attribute is not giving up on plays



November 7th, 2011 at 2:19 PM ^

this topic is utterly f'ed up. Al Borges need to get his head screwed on straight. I think not having the offense in a no huddle hurts Denard and the offense. Obviously that brings up time of possession, etc helping the defense catch a breath. et cetera. Maybe someone has brought it up, but I can't say I have read that losing the tempo from last year (being main culprit). Spread offense has to have a quick tempo, no huddle to keep the defense confused. Causing missed assignments and not giving them a feel for the offense.


November 7th, 2011 at 7:37 PM ^

I'm not sure if you were trying to prove my point or not, but you just did.

Chad Henne won a lot of games that weren't "big games," and threw a lot of TD's for a ton of statistical yardage. You know what I, and many others, took from Chad and Jake Long's tenure? Great Michigan Men, but no OSU victories, the horror, Oregon, Wisconsin... damn the list is depressingly long.

Sorry, but we're not beating Nebraska or Ohio this year, and a shit Illinois team will be a nail-biter we'll be lucky to win. That's reality, since we bloggers pride ourselves on our logic.

Denard hasn't won shit, and we haven't even faced a truly elite team yet. Fear not though, we'll get our beastraping at the hands of Alabama in 2012's Cowboys Classic. Can't wait.

It's going to be a while until we have a good product on the field again.