What would Denard look like under Harbaugh?

Submitted by Gustavo Fring on October 31st, 2016 at 1:51 PM

Watching how creatively Jabrill Peppers (and hell, even Morris) has been utilized, I can't help but wonder what Harbaugh would have done with Denard.

Would Robinson have been a full-time qb?  Would he have been a WR used in wildcat packages and end arounds?  Would he have returned kicks?



October 31st, 2016 at 1:59 PM ^

I'm sure Harbaugh would have recruited him as a rb/slot but what if he came in when Hoke did and Denard was coming off that record setting sophmore season at QB? That's the more interesting question to me. I think he would have kept him at QB and I think we would have gotten something that resembles Michigan's 2010 offense with the 2011 defense. 


October 31st, 2016 at 4:02 PM ^

I think Harbaugh would have sat him down and explained to him why he was never going to be an NFL QB.  Then he would have told him that it was time for him to get serious about preparing for a career in the NFL as a RB/SR and that there was no better place for him to be to do that.

2011 may very well have turned out even better.


October 31st, 2016 at 3:08 PM ^

I disagree. He'd have gotten a shot at QB but ultimately I don't see him ever being a Harbaugh QB. For all the good that Denard did, even in 2010, he was not a very good passing QB plain and simple. In RR's read/option offense, yes but in a Harbaugh offense, I just don't see it.

Devin Gardner would be my pick for QB had Harbaugh come in in 2011 instead of Hoke, and that could have been an amazing 4-year run. 


October 31st, 2016 at 3:00 PM ^

Denard completed 62.5% of his passes as a true sophomore. Speight is hitting 62.8% this year, and is averaging about half a yard less per attempt. AND Denard rushed for 1,700 yards. He would have been incredible at QB with any competent OC, and probably wins the Heisman in 2011 with Harbaugh/Drevno/Fisch.


October 31st, 2016 at 3:46 PM ^

Oh please. He had 18 TDs and 11 interceptions that year and, as a senior had 9 and 9.  I'm not even getting into his fumbles here.

He is/was an incredibly talented and great guy, but if he wanted to play QB under Jim, he'd have to prove he could protect the football.  Jim plays team football and while Denard is a team player, the offense created to highlight Denard is kinda the opposite of "team".


October 31st, 2016 at 4:07 PM ^

Rudock threw 20 TD and 9 INT last year. Not much different than Denard, and that is with loads of starting experience. Gardner, who I see people raving about, threw 10 TD and 15 INT as a senior.

Turns out Hoke/Borges are shitty coaches who made QBs worse. In a coherent system with quality coaching Denard gets better as a passer as he gains experience and can run less when Fitz came back healthy in 2011. Offensive line play would almost certainly have been better with Harbaugh as well.

The idea that an offense was created to highlight Denard at the expense of the team (because accounting for 91 career TD hurts somehow) is so fucking dumb it is hard to respond to.


October 31st, 2016 at 2:05 PM ^

Will Harbaugh ever recruit a QB with Denard-like skill set? Or is he pretty set on the 6'4" drop back passer with a cannon arm and questionable running skills?


October 31st, 2016 at 2:30 PM ^

Our current #1 QB target for 2018 is Dorian Thompson-Robinson who is a good runner. He currently starts at WR for Bishop Gorman because the senior QB starter is OSU commit Tate Martel. He is as athletic, if not even more so, than Devin Gardner. He is a good passer too. He would allow the offense to expand by that much more. 


October 31st, 2016 at 3:14 PM ^

A straight running QB? No. A mobile QB and possibly one who could add RPO plays to this offense? Absolutely. Harbaugh has had mobile QB's before, Luck and Kaepernick, and he plays to the talents of his players. Their top 2018 QB target, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, is a guy who would give them Kaepernick-like options for the offense. 

But at the end of the day I think we're not gonna see a QB who cannot pass the ball VERY well in this offense, regardless of how great they can run. Mobility is just a bonus for Harbaugh.