Should Devin start against Purdue?

Submitted by victors2000 on October 15th, 2011 at 5:28 PM

I have trouble writing this; I love Denard, I love what he brings to the table as an option QB, I love him as a rolemodel-guy, but we need someone who can throw the ball better. Someone wrote (many someones) that he was hurt, but perhaps that is all the more reason to have Devin at the helm now. I think the Purdue game would give Devin some valuable snaps against a beatable team. We could sprinkle healthy doses of Denard here and there, and of course there are the 'trick' plays as well, but I think it may benefit the team in the long run if Devin was given the start. It would certainly benefit Devin, that throw when he was across the line of scrimage had rookie written all over it.

What do you guys think?



October 15th, 2011 at 6:07 PM ^

Denard needs to be 100%. We really need to focus on our base running game (running backs) and blocking. Denard can get us 125 yards on broken plays. Imagine how many yards throwing he can get if (insert back here) can get 125-150. He needs to be healthy, the line and coaching staff need to be discipline in their techniques and the WRs need to catch the easy/semi-easy balls. I would take Devin starting if it means Denard is healthy for ILL, NE and ohio.


October 15th, 2011 at 9:33 PM ^

Gardner didn't play well at all. He completely overlooked Hopkins who was wide open for a walk-in TD. He hasn't done anything to indicate that he would be an effective starter at this point. Robinson has at least had some good games, even if this obviously was not one of them.


October 15th, 2011 at 5:33 PM ^

I think it is a valid discussion to have...Devin seems like the better passer, but Denard playing will single handedly give us a win vs Purdue. Devin can't do that. 

Overall, we need to ride this roller coaster this year with Denard, and hope he works hard on his footwork, as this seems to be the only problem


October 15th, 2011 at 5:35 PM ^

In no way is a fanbase that has built up a (well-deserved) love for Denard going to be fair in having that discussion tho. I'm not saying Denard should sit for Devin, AT ALL, but if in wacky hypothetical world Devin DID give us a better chance to win games, virtually all of us would be too biased to see it.


October 15th, 2011 at 5:32 PM ^

Our running backs should get the ball handed to them more than ten times.  Denard will play a lot better when teams that are already focusing in on stopping him are forced to defend something else from time to time.

Franz Schubert

October 15th, 2011 at 5:47 PM ^

With Denard under center it is pulling the whole defense in to stop him and its all clogged up for the RBs as a result. The benefit in this is with defenses cheating to stop the run, UM should have an advantage in the passing game but unfortunately we dont have the ability to capitalize on it due to Denards shortcomings in that area. The running game with RBs is really hampered by DR in the backfield. The lack of discretion and interceptions cannot be ignored.

Im not a very emotional person and would never hastily call for a change but im 100% for giving Devin a few series a game at least.

Franz Schubert

October 15th, 2011 at 6:11 PM ^

I should have said in the backfield rather than under center. The premise remains though that DR brings a lot of attention to the line of scrimmage and the RBs are hindered as a result. I agree with you that the backs still should have gotten more carries and I thought Toussaint was a better option running into that front.


October 15th, 2011 at 8:16 PM ^

Gotta agree with Purple Stuff here.  Denard and the Oline didn't execute this game but he could have been decent today with better playcalling.  It was pretty atrocious outside of that first drive.  Borges decided to go with the pass way too early.  Why not give a few more carries to Fitz and Smith?  This was the first game where I feel that Borges failed the team as a coordinator.  I hope he adjusts during the bye week because we will not beat a good team with playcalling resembling what we saw today.


October 15th, 2011 at 5:32 PM ^

What I haven't seen from either QB (and mostly because we haven't had an opportunity to see it from Devin yet) is the ability to stand in the pocket, read a defense, and deliver the ball on a consistent basis. Both of them make up their minds about where the ball is going before they take the snap, and that's a problem.

I just don't know. Denard will never pick a defense apart with his passing, but he certainly is capable of passing well enough to make people pay for overplaying his running abilities. If we really are trying to transition to a prostyle offense as soon as possible though, maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea.


October 15th, 2011 at 6:04 PM ^

Devin didn't have his own problems today. And quite frankly I don't think all of Denard's play was on him. He was under pressure all day and Borges terrible playcalling did not help the situation. 

Denard has the potential to be a much  better passer than what we have seen at times this year. He will start to unlock some of that potential as he gets more reps, he is taking his lumps now, but it should pay off in the long run. I expect him him to be a much better passing next year. If he isn't, that is when you should look at making a change.

And PurpleStuff mentioned it, but the coaches have to make more of an effort to get the RB's involved. Denard can't be expected to shoulder the whole load every week.



October 15th, 2011 at 11:46 PM ^

I agree - benching Denard would be the biggest mistake we could make.  Not happening. But, so your specific points:

1.  "Denard has the potential to be a much  better passer than what we have seen at times this year."

Disagree.  He can be accurate on short stuff at times, but his long ball is not good, he underthrows consistently and his reads are terrible.  He is not improving - if anything, his passing is regressing.  He is also still interception prone.  He is not going to get much better.

2.  "[Denard] was under pressure all day."

Bingo.  DEnard had zero running room, zero time to throw and was constantly escaping pressure.  He was being eaten alive.  The o-line totally did not hold up.


3.  "and Borges terrible playcalling did not help the situation."

Again, spot on.  With heavy wind, stop with the long ball.  Stop trying to run inside when it is not there.  Stop running V. Smith altogether when he is getting NOTHING.  How about a screen?  How about Shaw on the edge?  How about more designed QB runs? Terrible play calling.

4.  "the coaches have to make more of an effort to get the RB's involved"

Disagree. Sadly, our RBs are great guys, and have certain skills (SMith can block), but none are really very good RBs.  They can get their yards against average to below average teams, but have never shown the ability to do much against better Ds.  Each RB has gotten ample opportunities, and none has really shined.  Hopefully next year, Justice Hayes or Rawls will be able to take over the starting job.  Or, Brionte Dunn.  



October 15th, 2011 at 5:35 PM ^

Al needs to coach up Denard. We really need to find a way to get our backs involved in this offense more. I take comfort in that we will look like msu's offense in a couple years. Have patience.


October 15th, 2011 at 6:08 PM ^

They scored 10 points against Ohio State. I will be extremely disappointed if our offense looks like and  produces like Michigan State's offense in a few years. I just don't think that should be our benchmark.

The Baughz

October 15th, 2011 at 5:41 PM ^

Do I agree with the OP? No. But to be fair, Denard had 7 games to become an effective passer and has not improved at all. What makes everyone think that game 8 will be any different? Ya Purdue is not MSU, I get that, but lets be realistic. Denard cant throw. If Devin at qb and Denard at a slot or rb gives us a better chabce of winning, then Im all for it.


October 15th, 2011 at 6:07 PM ^

You can't have a real running game if you don't ever attempt to run the ball.

UPDATE: To illustrate the point, through 7 games now our running backs have gained 824 yards on 139 carries, good for 5.9 ypc and 8 TD.  We don't have a problem running the ball.  We have a coaching staff that, all preseason claims aside, doesn't call running plays.


October 15th, 2011 at 6:19 PM ^

Smith and Fitz averaged 4.5 ypc.  Every other call averaged 3.6 yards per play.

Not to mention running those guys more prevents the defense from teeing off on Denard like they did with the blitz and makes play-action fakes actually credible (not just a fun distraction before the corner sacks our QB from the blind side on 4th and inches).


October 15th, 2011 at 9:53 PM ^

a few more quick pitches, misdirections and bubble screens would have gone along way to slowing down their up-the-middle blitzes.  borges was a joke today. but i don't want to minimize the horrible play of the O-line and Denard missing on several wide-open opportunities.


October 15th, 2011 at 5:36 PM ^

Denard gives us our best chance to win every week.  He is the most athletic guy on the field and I want the ball in his hands every play.  What is really to blame is the aweful offensive playcalling by Al Borges today.  It was some of the worst I have ever seen.


October 15th, 2011 at 6:06 PM ^

But do you want the ball in his hands, even when he throws the most INTs of any QB in college football?  It's no mystery that, because teams sell out to stop the run, that minimizes the effectiveness of RB production.  Denard could get plenty of touches in a reggie bush/percy harvin role.

Right now, evaluate it how you will, he's as much a liability as a benefit when passing.


October 15th, 2011 at 5:36 PM ^

Denard has had some troubles but remember that there was a 30+ mph wind today on the feild.  That would mess with anyone's accuracy.  Also Denard's other talents and his experience more than make up for his less than perfect passing. 


October 15th, 2011 at 5:38 PM ^

Amazing how many fans are willing to throw Shoelace under the bus. He will improve as the season goes on. Our problem today was inconsistency on both sides and coaching. We did not play 100% good Michigan football. 1 pick is not the difference maker here, its all over.

Our offense works. The problem is we went wayyyyyyyyyyyy too conservative today especially in the 2nd half.  Denard needed to be let loose more in this game and I was extremely dissappointed by the playcalling.

Will take the loss as a teaching point. It was bound to happen sooner or later. With a bye week(hopefully Denard's neck isn't wrecked from those asshole Spartans),  they will regroup and get back on track to winning the Big Ten championship.

I don't see MSU winning the Legends division. Wisconsin is a loss, and Sparty plays like shit on the road period, so they will drop one to Nebraska!!!


October 15th, 2011 at 5:39 PM ^

Unless he is hurt, of course. In fact, I say I want Denard in there full-time. No2 qb crap. Put Devin on the sideline and the only way he comes in the game is injury or a 35 point lead. Cut it with the cutesy 2qb sets. This is not manball!

I have seen nothing from Devin to prove that he is the better passer, just a lot of fans saying that he is.


October 15th, 2011 at 5:40 PM ^

Yes.....if it gives us the best chance to win.  Actually it looks like Denard was pretty banged up late in the game.  I would use him sparingly next week unless we can't get a significant lead.  Why would you not give him the rest and let DG get some significant game time.  We need to see what DG can do when he gets multiple consecutive series to lead the offense. 

Let me remind people that most Michigan fans thought Tate was our next great QB and were a little disappointed when Denard first starting getting reps.  It just may be that our most explosive offense has DG at the helm and Denard in another role.  We simply don't know.  Purdue offers us the only chance to see that in a controlled environment.  It is better to find out now than trying to figure it out against OSU or Nebraska.