Devin should start at QB

Submitted by BILG on October 16th, 2011 at 11:25 AM

I know this is sacriledge in these parts, but I will go forth anyhow.  An analysis of why we need a qb change.  This is not out of panic mode as many will attest, but instead from watching our offense struggle the past two years whenever facing a top 25 defense that stacks the box.

1) Denard is not a qb unless he is in a spread option attack

Denard is an amazing athlete that needs to be on the field all the time.  I totally agree with that.  He is also a great kid and leader on this team.  However, trying to run a hybrid offense with him simply won't work.  As a drop back passer he does not look the part.  You can say, "new system", "needs time", etc, but nobody can deny that Devin look the part as a passer.  Sure he is not there yet, but he stands in and throws bullets....not always to the right man yet unfortunately.  Some of Denard's thows are just mind boggling punt looking ducks.  He is not that accurate and has to think about his footwork.  There is  reason other schools did not recruit him as a qb.  Even in RRs system we struggled against good d-lines because if you make an offense one dimensional (in our case force Denard to throw), then you are predictable and play into the defense's hands.  I love Denard and he should still be in on every play on offense, and we need to run a bunch of plays where he is the centerpiece, but if the run is being taken away we need our most accurate passer under center.  He is not that guy...even Coach Hoke said so yesterday.

2)  Don't delay the inevitable

Denard will not be a qb in the NFL and it is very likely Devin would start over him next year.  Devin has already closed ground on him in terms of playing time and it is clear as we transition back to a more pro-style balanced attack that Gardner fits the mold.  Denard is not Michael Vick....Vick is taller and was always more accurate, even as a freshman in college.  It is a disservice to Denard to not train him for his future in the NFL as a slot man / return man.  It is also a disservice to Gardener to not have him get the qb training under center he deserves.  Gardner plays a very similar game as one Vince Young....except he has much better mechanics and accuracy.  Also, the Shane Morris era is around the corner, and Devin probably should get 2-3 full years as starter befor Shane takes over in his sophomore year.  Let the natural qb play qb, and let the most athletic player on our team stand next to him as a qb/rb/wr hybrid in the backfield. 

3)  Spread has not worked against one good Big 10 defense in two years

For those of you who wish to cry heresy, "how could I throw such a great kid under the bus" etc, please realize none of this is personal.  It's about the team.  I love Denard, and he needs to be on the field.  This is just a realistic assessment of his abilities and what we have seen the past couple years.  As a passer, his deep throws are jump balls, he struggles to set his feet, and he is innacurrate on out patterns.  His best throw are laser slant throws, but he often makes the wrong reads on blitzes, especially on obvious passing downs.  Gardner on the other hand, does not have happy feet, looks the part of a division 1 qb, and has had much less playing time and opportunity than Denard.  We will continue to rack up yards against the Minnesotas and Purdues of the world, but we will not improve for the future or be able to consistently beat solid big 10 defenses with a gimmick offense. 

OK, go ahead and rip me a new one with the usual...."stop your panic", "one bad game with wind", "Borges called a bad game", etc.  But realize this assessment is from observing the last two years, not just yesterday.

On a positive not....Greg Mattison is a freaking genius.  While a couple of the missed tackles yesterday were sadly reminicent of the RR era, what that man has done with the defense in one year is nothing short of magical.  All this in spite of a slew of injuries on that side of the ball.

Go Blue



October 16th, 2011 at 11:29 AM ^

Calm down brah, it's only one game against a good (albeit dirty) defense. Devin will have his day, but until then, Denard should stay.

Edit: I respect your opinion though.


October 16th, 2011 at 1:36 PM ^

Agreed. I want nothing but the best for Denard. I think he's an upstanding person in general. He's a great player to have on your side. But his passing is just not good enough.

He improved immensely in a year. But since then, he's improved little as a passer and as a reader. And we're no longer running the same offense he thrived in.

Put him in the game. He can even throw balls here or there, after being handed off to by Gardner. Nothing wrong with that. It would probably kill opposing defenses when he runs out to the left and then stops to pass because by then the secondary will have taken the bait. Or he will get yards because he is fast. But Gardner is the right QB for the job right now. He made some rookie mistakes yesterday but he fits the mold of the offense. As dynamic as Denard can be, he is the opposite when he is under pressure.


October 16th, 2011 at 9:28 PM ^

This is what I want.  I, like many others, came to the conclusion yesterday night that Denard just isn't going to get it down in the end and that's okay.  Many, many players cannot get certain things correct, even guys like Tim Tebow, a hard-working and smart guy who can't fully fix his throwing motion.  It just happens.

Denard could be a better Percy Harvin.  It would be beautiful to watch.  He would beat most corners and safeties for the long ball, making our offense have a more vertical game.  He could obviously run as a runningback as well.  A triple threat because he could potentially throw the ball as well would cause nightmares for defenses.  Devin takes the snap, pitch to Denard and Denard runs to the line of scrimmage to throw a touchdown.  If the corners or linebackers keep to their man, Denard has a wide open field.  I just think it's best for everybody.  

It sucks to switch positions on the field when you're so set on one, it's happen to me multiple times, but you get use to the new position and usually things turn out for the better because the coaches are giving you an opportunity to reach a higher potential.  I don't think it's going to happen in the end unfortunately but if it did it would be great I think.  I honestly think our offense would be lethal with Denard as a triple-combo player.


October 16th, 2011 at 12:41 PM ^

Gardner will begin to get significant playing time after the bye.  I believe that much of these next two weeks will be figuring out where Denard is going to be used on the field.  We have an answer to the problems that we will continue to see standing on the sidelines, and he won't be for long.  Denard as starting QB is coming to an end.  I wish the best for him whatever the coaches decide to do with him, but it is not going to be under center for long.


October 16th, 2011 at 11:09 PM ^

" but it is not going to be under center for long."

SO he will be exclusively in the shotgun?

On a serious note, I actually agree.  I think that the 2 QB set is the beginning of Denard's shift to other positions.  Hoke and Borges are smart enough to realize that the fan reaction to sinply bumping Denard frmo QB would be insane, so they are working it in.  


October 16th, 2011 at 2:51 PM ^

Both Devin and Denard are playing like total shit. I'd like to see Bellomy take a few snaps if we have a good lead over Purdue.
<br>The best players should play, and while that probably isn't Bellomy right now, I'd like to see if his decision-making is better than completely embarrassing.


October 16th, 2011 at 11:29 AM ^

I didn't even have to read past the title of this post. That's absurd. Do you really think the team is better off with a QB who has started 0 games than Denard? Please.


October 16th, 2011 at 11:30 AM ^

There was a thread yesterday asking if Devin should start and the response was overwhelmingly No. Despite everything that happened yesterday, Denard still gives us the best chance to win every game we play.

And I'm so tired about the NFL Qb thing, WHO CARES?!? If we judged every starter based on how well they would do in the NFL then every spread team would never play. This isn't the NFL, I doubt Denard cares about the NFL, and what the NFL thinks doesn't affect how our players play in college


October 16th, 2011 at 11:37 AM ^

When a kid comes to a big time college football program he is not doing so for the letterman jacket.  There is an expectation that if he has NFL talent, it will be developed by the coaching staff.  Sorry to burst your bubble bro, but it's not the 1920's anymore.  While these kids love their school, a big part of choosing Michigan or any big time college football program is how it prepares you for the NFL.


October 16th, 2011 at 11:47 AM ^

kids come to UM to play football and win big 10 championships.  THE NFL DOES NOT MATTER you are absolutely foolish if you prioritize the NFL potential of a team over getting good players.

College success and winning are what matters. If you care so much about the NFL, go watch the F***ing NFL.



October 16th, 2011 at 11:51 AM ^

If after the game, Brady came out and said:

"Waaaahl, we played Devin because we just realized that he has more potential to be an NFL qb than Denard does, and after all, the reason both of them are here is to play in the NFL.  Sure, Denard may have given us a better chance to win, but he won't be an NFL QB in 5 years, so it was really an easy decision."


October 16th, 2011 at 2:07 PM ^

is a huge difference between a kid dreaming of the NFL and wanting to be developed so he can make it there, and coaches using NFL potential as a basis for making decision for  a college team's best interests. They should not do that.


October 16th, 2011 at 11:49 AM ^

Not when Denard repeatedly throws INTs.  Not when he commonly misses open receivers or lofts dying ducks.  And if he "gives us the best chance to win" because of his legs, you can KEEP him on the field, just not as a passer.

That was the OPs point.  You don't have to sit him, just don't make him your passer.  You do not give your team a chance to win by throwing INTs.  Period.


October 16th, 2011 at 12:03 PM ^

In his defense, he just got to 100 points, so what better reason to re-post a pointless discussion from yesterday and provoke flamewars?

Threads like these are why M-Live exists - BILG, I encourage you to go there and find some wise, like-minded individuals to converse with.


October 16th, 2011 at 12:25 PM ^

On the 1300 points....big accomplishment.  I am sure your family is proud  You must post some really controversial stuff to get there big

"Why I love Denard"


"I hate Ohio"

Grow a pair and post something tht doesn't massage the balls of your fellow sheep.

Maybe the poster only has 100 points because he gets neg bombed everytime he disagrees with the blog clones? 


October 16th, 2011 at 2:12 PM ^

Negbombs don't exist anymore, so it's impossible for you to lose points from the MGoMob just because you post "I want Devin to start" or "You're all complete morans for not agreeing with me." Mods are the only ones with the power to neg you at this point, and they almost certainly won't do it because you say something they disagree with. They might do it if you feel the need to create a pointless thread when this has already been discussed, however...


October 16th, 2011 at 11:33 AM ^

M could still finish 11-1 or 10-2....if they collapse AGAIN..then maybe...but lets not panic...I dont think Hoke did a good job preparing this team or his game plan..Poor play calling on offense and a horrendous 4th down call caused the loss..with 6 mins left we were at the 8 ready to tie the game its not like we got blasted


October 16th, 2011 at 12:00 PM ^

the 30-40 mph winds.  I'll admit Denard will never fire them like Big John Navarre, but I think we can cut him a little slack for errant throws in that wind.  Denard is our best 'QB' and the game was there to win yesterday.  I hate losing to Sparty almost as much as tOSU, HOWEVA I'm still confident 9 plus wins and a high end bowl game are in store for this season.  Let's be happy the D still looks good (compared to years past) and we have a numer 1 class coming in.  The future is bright and Denard will be just fine. 


October 16th, 2011 at 11:33 AM ^

Not this year; Devin's not ready yet. He still missed reads and made freshman type mistakes. Denard gives us the best chance to win still. Neither QB is going to succeed if we don't have a running game, which is honestly on the O-line. Their seeming regression is troubling.


October 16th, 2011 at 8:29 PM ^

Nah, let's not consider that.

I think the ND game is the microcosm of DRob's play.

He struggles, he struggles, and then boom, he explodes.

The wind took a somewhat inaccurate passer and made him into a terribly inaccurate passer.  So OK, maybe we play Gardner a little more on days w/ 30+ mph wind.


October 16th, 2011 at 11:52 AM ^

Denard continues to miss reads, and he's a 2-year starter, and has started 7 games under the new system.  That's part of what the OP was saying.  It's inane to argue that Devin still needs to grow when it appears that -- as a well-rounded QB who improves and is dependable as a passer -- Denard seems not to be improving.


October 16th, 2011 at 11:35 AM ^

whoa there.  Devin was 3 of 7, with 2 completions in garbage time, and missed a wide open touchdown.  Let's not go annoint him yet.


Denard was a bad play call away from tying that game up

Trader Jack

October 16th, 2011 at 12:07 PM ^

are valid and certainly made it a lot more difficult on Denard than it would have been, but you can't deny that a lot of his incompletions were because of bad mechanics, not stepping into throws, bad decision making, and Denard just missing open receivers. It wasn't all on the wind.

Trader Jack

October 16th, 2011 at 12:26 PM ^

saying that wasn't part of why he struggled, because there's no doubt that it was. However, there were plenty of other instances where he had time to step into a throw and just didn't do it. Not to mention many of the bad decisions he made came when he was given ample time to throw. You can rightfully put some of the blame on those other factors you listed, but you have to put some of it on Denard just not playing well, too.