clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

One Trick Ponies And The Michigan Wolverines

Can UM win when Denard doesn't go wild?

Sandra Dukes-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Some folks are pretty hyped about Michigan football after the Purdue blowout. I don't blame them; Purdue was supposed to be on the up and up and Michigan smashed the Boilers with ease. Mike is now projecting Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

Others are not so thrilled. Look at their offense against Bama and Notre Dame. Look at their defensive line against Air Force. Look at Denard Robinson's passing and an Offensive Coordinator who is so obviously trying to limit Robinson's throws per game.

So where are we? Discussion below.

If Denard Has Room To Run, Watch Out

Remember the days, Michigan fans, when Denard would run? You would make this breathing whooshing noise that sounded like "oooooh God oh God don't get hurt run out of bounds oh God you're hurt put in Tater". And he'd be hurt by midseason anyways.

I haven't worried like that this year, not in the least bit. It seems the added weight (here is 180 lb Denard, here is almost 200 lb Denard) has helped absorb hits. It also seems he's learned to run away from contact, diving forward onto the ground instead of taking hits, slowly walking out of bounds instead of pushing for a few more yards.

The speed is still so obviously and spectacularly there and O-Co Al Borges has decided to forgo turning Denard into a pocket passing quarterback. Why this was ever considered is beyond me, why we were throwing 25 yard double move outs against two deep coverage. Maybe the guys from Maize and Brew can explain in the comment section.

Michigan Needs To Play On A Clean Surface

The Michigan offense, and the QB isolation runs, are built on magnificent cutbacks. It's this "you think I'm running downhill for three yards CUT now I'm going the other way" idea. Against Notre Dame, the surface was wet and those cuts were not there; some of you may remember Denard trying to cut and doing a full backbend.

A High-Volume Passing Attack Is Bad News For UM

I think we can safely say that Denard Robinson never took the steps that Al Borges wanted him to take in regards to delivering the football. If Denard doesn't have his feet planted and the route isn't pre planned, we're looking at a good chance the ball is getting picked. Plus he doesn't throw balls away, a huge issue.

But we can take a positive out of that ugly paragraph: If Denard does feel comfortable with a throw, he can deliver great throws. Check out the timing throws against Purdue - Understanding that Purdue has smaller CB's and that he had mostly single coverage, Robinson delivered deep crossing strikes to Funchess and Gardner.

We Don't Know What Purdue Says About The Defense

Jake Ryan is playing at an extremely high level right now and the Boilers looked over matched by the UM Front 7. Is Purdue terrible offensively or did the Wolverines turn a corner defensively?

Players that Michigan will face in the next 7 weeks: Le'Veon Bell, Rex Burkhead, Kain Colter, Braxton Miller. So I'll hold off on any predictions.

The Denard Blessing And Curse

The very explosive and capable Robinson has given Michigan a trump card against mediocre teams like Purdue or Minnesota. But when he's slowed, can the defense and the other offensive playmakers push Michigan into 9 win territory? I'm not sure we're any closer to knowing that answer after the Purdue win.