Denard Robinson on a "short leash"

Submitted by Trader Jack on October 10th, 2010 at 4:34 PM

I cannot believe how many comments I've read talking about how Denard should be on a "short leash," and that we should see what Tate and Devin can do.

Were you guys under a rock for the first 5 games? Denard is the future of this program, and yesterday all that happened was he showed that he's human. He single-handedly brought us to a 5-0 start, is the most electrifying player in college football, is at the top of almost every Heisman list, leads the nation in total yards, and you guys want to pull him because he had a game where he didn't play that great yet still picked up over 300 total yards.

He's young, he's inexperienced, and he's going to make mistakes sometimes. But he's still Denard, he's still the future of the program, and there's no way one game should put him on a "short leash" considering all that he's accomplished to start this year.



October 10th, 2010 at 4:55 PM ^

I think I might be the only girl pms-ing on this board and I've never thought he should be on a short leash. The guy deserves to be the starter, and he deserves to be able to learn in situations like yesterday. When things get crappy, how else is he going to learn how to work himself out of it? 


October 10th, 2010 at 4:47 PM ^

I love Denard, and frankly, I think he's the shit. At the same time, if he's playing very poorly in a game, what's the point of having two great backup QB's?


October 10th, 2010 at 4:58 PM ^

The fact remains that Denard is a better fit for this offense than either of them.  Defenses always have to be accountable for his running ability, which is not the case for the other two.  The other thing is that it's not like he didn't do anything out there.  He averaged 7.4 yards per attempt and, if you take away the one sack, just under five a carry.  He played very well up until we got to the MSU redzone.  Unfortunately, he just didn't finish drives that well.


October 10th, 2010 at 5:07 PM ^

He hadn't played a snap in the second half and we were already down by 14. You have to keep him in at that point. He throws his second INT and we are down by 21. If anyone is going to lead us back from a 21 point deficit, who is it going to be? I don't think any of our QBs other than Denard could. If we were still down 14 or 7, that might be a different story. I think we had dug our hole at that point and we were going to win or lose with Denard.

Maize and Blue…

October 10th, 2010 at 7:55 PM ^

we should have been up 14-0 instead of 3-0 but for a bad decision and a bad throw over an open WR that caused us to kick a FG.  I may not necessarily agree with you that when we need to throw the ball Denard is always the best option, but there is always the possibility of him taking one to the house with his legs at any time.


October 10th, 2010 at 10:03 PM ^

I don't think that Denard is the best option when throwing the ball (Weren't you here that day?). I do, however, think he is the best all-around player for us and gives us the best chance at a come-back victory even when he is having a 3 INT day. If we were down 21 due to 3 INTs in the first quarter, I agree, pull him. But, when there is little time left and you need 3 miracles (not including the 2 miracles known as defensive stops or onside kicks) to tie the game, it has to be him.


October 10th, 2010 at 5:30 PM ^

...with the "Tate" post from yesterday. Denard was struggling and forcing the ball a bit too much. Sit him down for a series or two, let him mentally regroup, force the opposing defense to adjust, then ultimately bring him back in. 

Pull the drowning man back into the boat for a breather before throwing him back in with the sharks.

As far as the "short leash philosophy" is concerned, I think Denard should complete all of his passes, he should rush for 10 yards per carry (minimum) and never fall behind in a game for the rest of his life. Otherwise...


October 10th, 2010 at 5:40 PM ^

That would be my initial reaction as to what we "should have done." Maybe that's why I'm not a coach. I'm not angry that he was left in there. I don't think it was a "bad" decision, but I think it may have helped to get a fresh player in for a series or two.

To respond to joeyb and jmblue without creating more posts: I can't argue with anything either of you have said. My personal opinion is that this this one was a complete judgement call by the staff, and I don't know that there's a correct and an incorrect decision.

Greg McMurtry

October 10th, 2010 at 6:22 PM ^

Denard was playing hesitant and throwing the ball late, which led to red zone INTs. It was quite obvious that the gameplan had to be changed to a passing only offense. I was hoping to see Tate brought in to see if he could get a spark in the offense. That didn't happen and Denard threw another INT and the game got out of hand. Do I think Denard should start next week? Yes, but in that instance, that's how I felt.


October 10th, 2010 at 10:40 PM ^

I don't think this is a crazy idea.  Look, they were scheming around DRob!  Why not throw in Tate?  We have him, he's a very accurate passer.  Who knows, maybe he comes in and picks apart their secondary.  I'm not saying it's obvious, and I love DRob as much as anyone, I'm just saying, it's not a crazy idea.  The other consideration is, you don't necessarily want guys to think that they're going to get yanked just because they make a big mistake, because that can lead them to play tight.


October 11th, 2010 at 12:21 AM ^

Because when your best player is going through a funk you let him work the kinks out and improve on his mistakes. My god he didn't put up the astronomical numbers he has the first five weeks but he did have 300 plus yds of total offense yesterday with 2 td's. The Defense, and playcalling should take as much if not more blame than Shoelace.

Greg McMurtry

October 11th, 2010 at 12:03 PM ^

Your opinion is that you should leave a player in when he's not having a particularly good game.  My opinion is that I want to see what the #2 guy can do.  Can he provide a spark?  Can he give the defense a look that they're not prepared for?  Those are the unknowns.  I'm not ripping Denard or the coaching staff for their decision to leave him in.  I, like a few others, just have the opinion that maybe Tate could've sparked the team.  It's not mind-"bottling" to consider playing Tate for a series.  Maybe it allows Denard to see the game from the sideline and see something he didn't see from the pocket.  Maybe it calms him down and takes a bit of pressure off.  Maybe he was trying too hard and the one series off helps him re-focus.  It's not out of the question, it's just an opinion.  These things didn't happen, but they're just suggestions. 


October 10th, 2010 at 4:52 PM ^

This is pretty simple: Denard was the best offensive player in a skill position in the entire country for the first 5 games of the year. End of debate.


October 10th, 2010 at 6:31 PM ^

Denard domianted for the first five games. That gives him so leeway when he starts to struggle; however, at some point Tate and Devin need to rotate in. It's not like a permanent benching of Denard or anything, just seeing who else can play. And by the way, Tate is a decent QB, too.


My opinion is simply that we have a QB *rotation* and I'd like to see it rotate a little quicker if one of them struggles. Denard was obviously the shit in the first five games, but yesterday he was forced to throw and his throws just weren't very good. Why shouldn't the other two get a few drives?


October 10th, 2010 at 6:45 PM ^

Yeah if Denard comes out against Iowa and throws it behind receivers, stalls in the redzone, and makes bad reads in the run game we should probably try Tate or Devin. But to say Tate should play ahead of Denard now is ridiculous. How do you justify leaving quite possibly the best offensive player in the country on the bench after he played one bad game out of 6. I think we would be 4-2 (at best) without Denard and probably more like 3-3 or 2-4.


October 10th, 2010 at 7:43 PM ^

we appeared to scrap our offense in the second half and make denard a pocket passer.  i will never understand that.  if we continued to run our offense, even down 14, we may have had a different outcome.

i mean, a straight back drop pass on first and 10 with about 9 min left.  Pick 3.  game over.

Ultimate Quizmaster

October 10th, 2010 at 4:53 PM ^

Short leash is dumbass. But what's even more dumbass is this statement from Jim Comparoni, a SpartanMag writer,

"During this period of dominance, the dignified conduct of Dantonio and Tom Izzo, and the respect they have shown to the conquered, exceeds what Schembechler, Carr and the rest ever pretended to be."

Disrespecting Bo is never tolerated. Spewing bullshit is the Spartan thing to do.


October 10th, 2010 at 4:58 PM ^

While I have not seen this opinion voiced prominently here, I'm sure there are some people who think it.  There are also people who probably think GoGurt is some new hybrid of Yogurt and Google.  People can be wrong.

I will say that the title could have been reworded, because my first take clicking on the post was that (a) a coach had actually said Denard was on a "short leash", or (b) you were suggesting that Denard should be on such a leash.


October 10th, 2010 at 5:04 PM ^

Denard didn't single-handedly bring us to a 5-0 start.  He will be the first to tell you that if it weren't for his teammates he wouldn't have had the success that he has had up until this point.  Plus, if we only account for the points that he is in for/directly responsible for we lose to BG, but that's being nit picky.


October 10th, 2010 at 5:22 PM ^

they ended up scoring 21 though.  He accounted for 14 they scored 21. 14<21.  He didn't win it without the rest of the team.  Had he been in the whole game, yeah he most likely would've been able to win it by himself, but that is not the case in this instance.


October 10th, 2010 at 5:10 PM ^

I agree that Denard Robinson is the future of this program and the clear starter for us, but I do have a problem with him not getting pulled yesterday. He was clearly a little shaky yesterday and having some problems finishing drives. Why not put in a backup to see if they can do any better, even if only for a series of two?


October 10th, 2010 at 6:26 PM ^

I would say it sends the message that he doesn't have to do it all himself. That he can rely on his teammates if he's not doing his best. It doesn't sound like denard's getting a big head, so I wouldn't think that getting pulled once when he was playing bad would suddenly destroy all his confidence. In fact, I would say getting blown out by MSU would have a greater chance at doing that.

Blue boy johnson

October 10th, 2010 at 5:13 PM ^

I can't believe that about 1.4 billion people in China don't even know this game was played. I'm borrowing from John McKay here, he said something similar to console his USC Trojans back in the day.


October 10th, 2010 at 5:26 PM ^

In the first five games, Denard Robinson has been has been amazing both running and passing the ball.  Yesterday he had a bad day passing.  I'd like to see the team have an option in such a case where Denard can still be the best runningback, but someone else can throw the ball.  Then the next week Denard can go back to being amazing in both phases. 


October 10th, 2010 at 5:31 PM ^

I think the problem here is that its easy to look back now and say, "Maybe Tate wouldn't have thrown the second or third ints, and he would have given us a better chance at a comeback." 

But during the game, I didn't really ever feel that way until it got to a point where the game was out of reach.

At half, we were down 7. Did anyone want to see Tate start the 2nd half?

By the time the offense got on the field again we were down 14. What about now, did you want Tate now? I know I didn't even think about it because I wanted to see if we had made some adjustments during halftime.

Denard throws 2nd redzone pick, and we are down 21. Okay so maybe some of you were calling for Tate at this point, hoping it would spark the offense. But Denard comes back out and leads us down the field for a TD, we're back to a 14 point deficit. 

The defense gets a stop IIRC, and the offense takes the field with a chance to make it a 7 point game. Did you want Tate at this point, given that Denard had just scored a TD on the previous possession? I didn't. I thought Denard may finally be putting it together. I thought he might lead us back like Tate did last season. 

So then Denard throws the 3rd INT. At this point the game was basically over, as MSU came down the field and went up 17 points. So I guess if you wanted to see Tate come in on the next drive, I would not have argued with you. But in reality it would not have made a difference because of the time remaining in the game.

Michigan only had one more possession at this point, so even if Tate had come in and led us to a TD, what would that have achieved except a smaller margin of defeat? In addition, we'd be hearing all about the QB controversy and how Denard got benched for the next week. Then, when Denard makes a mistake against Iowa he'd be looking over his shoulder, etc, etc, etc.

Personally, I'm glad we stuck with Denard through thick and thin because 1) I don't think it would have made any difference in the game and 2) it shows Denard that he is our guy and allows him to learn from his mistakes.

Just my opinion. 


October 10th, 2010 at 5:31 PM ^

- 2 of 3 interceptions were passes thrown behind the receiver.  1 of 3 interceptions was a bad throw but the receiver could have prevented the interception.

- QB rushed for 86 yeards and threw for 215.  Great stats unless people are used to 200/200.

- O-line had a hard time stopping penetration on runs for the first time this year.

- I actually thought the D wasn't playing too poorly until I realized they had given up 30+ points and 500+ yards again. 

- For some wierd reason, I actually have more hope of beating Iowa after this game than before. 

- I'm sure Sparty will lose one this year but they played well yesterday, have to give em credit.

- I think the difference between the '09 offense and the '10 offense will be similar to the difference between the '10 defense and the '11 defense. 


October 10th, 2010 at 6:34 PM ^

At the cost of the RBs - although we don't really have good RBs at the moment. But a lot of the QB's yards in our offense would be distributed to RBs in any other offense. The QB running and throwing those short screens are good for the QBs stats, but the overall offense comes out to the same yardage


October 10th, 2010 at 5:36 PM ^

You (as a coach) absolutely, positively cannot pull Denard yesterday for Tate (and especially Devin).  He is a young kid who has done amazing things so far but he had a bad game.  Pulling him means potentially shaking his confidence and possibly screwing with team chemistry.  You don't want to send a signal to the team that you've got an itchy trigger finger at the first sign of turmoil in a high pressure situation.


October 10th, 2010 at 5:45 PM ^

I am sitting here, in thought, trying desperately to understand why people are trying to figure out this teams offensive woes which have been limited to one game in six.  I would think those analysis' would be better served focusing on the 2/3 of our team that have shown no credibility for 6 straight weeks.  Just a thought.


October 10th, 2010 at 5:52 PM ^

How do you put Denard on a short leash?  This offense works by spreading everyone out, it breaks down when you limit what certain players can do.  You take away Denard running, and he won't pass as efficiently.  And vice versa.  Denard needs to be able to what he does best - run and pass to keep the D off balance.


October 10th, 2010 at 6:03 PM ^

...would have been asinine.  Someone asked what good two backups are for.  They're to backup the starting QB in case he is injured or you need someone for mop up duty. 

In 2010, Michigan does not have a QB rotation.


October 10th, 2010 at 6:18 PM ^

Last year on the road against MSU, Forcier led us back with a worse offensive line from two touchdowns down in the 4th after spending 50 plus minutes running for his life.

I agree with not pulling Denard yesterday, but saying it would have been asinine is extreme considering the available option. 

Tate is definitely the more polished passer.


October 10th, 2010 at 6:51 PM ^

...that Tate could have done well if he had been brought in, but there was no good reason not to believe that DRob wasn't capable of leading a comeback.  The fact that he didn't doesn't prove otherwise.  He's the starting QB and you don't pull the starting QB unless you're ready to replace him as the starting QB.  We're not there yet.  That's why it would have been asinine.


October 10th, 2010 at 6:07 PM ^

I'm in total agreement with you on that..... This is only Denards 6th start people! He was bound to have a bad game or two. It hurt that it came on sparty week but give him a freaking break! He is still the best QB maybe all around player we have on this team and maybe the country! He has done things already this year that may not be repeated in a very long time around here..... he is still that player... show him some support! Calling for him to be pulled after one bad game makes people sound like bandwagon jumpers to me. We don't need that type of fan around here, give him time.... Imagine how good he will be next week let alone next year with a real running attack ( DEE HART!)

Did anyone really thing they were going to go undefeated? We knew that a L was going to come at some point and we may loose another game or two before its all done.... I hope not but that is the reality of the situation.

The improvement from last year to this year is huge, they know it and so do we, so let be the best fans we can and really be "all in for michigan" and give our support for next week! They are going to need it, its iowa week, lets cheer them on to victory....

Go Blue!!!!!!!!!!!!