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September Heisman: Can Denard Robinson Become A Legitimate Heisman Trophy Contender?

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If you stroll through our comment threads that have anything to do with Michigan football, you'll inevitably find some LOLZ discussion of Denard Robinson and his two September Heisman Trophies.

If you're not ironically inclined, let me point out that a) this is completely natural for a blog whose readers hail from every inch of B1G soil and b) this is a noticeable jab at the Michigan quarterback's penchant for racking up statistics and Heisman talk early in the CFB season, only to have that hype dissipate when faced with tougher defenses and the B1G schedule. The flashy Denard goes from the perfect Heisman candidate (juking highlights, late-game comebacks over Notre Dame) to a deer in headlights heaver who throws three first half picks against a mediocre Northwestern defense.

From Yahoo: EVANSTON, Ill. (AP)—Denard Robinson threw three interceptions in the first half, each more ugly than the one before it.

But keep reading that piece...

But Northwestern was outscored 28-0 in the second half. So what happened?

"Young man named Denard Robinson," Fitzgerald said. "He’s pretty good. Probably better than we’ve seen in a while."

So for all the anti-Michigan sentiment that exists, you can still acknowledge that Denard Robinson is a supremely talented individual whose highlight games (OSU 2011, ND 2011, Nebraska 2011, Indiana 2010, UConn 2010, PSU 2010, ND 2010) make him a possible Heisman candidate. 150+ passing yards combined with 150+ rushing yards in one game?...There are very few quarterbacks in college football capable of those statistics.

That said, I think we all recognize that Denard Robinson didn't altogether fit in Al Borges' new pro-form offense that was installed last year. The tired old scenario that stymied Robinson went something like -

Robinson drops straight back...

Defensive player obscures passing lane...

Robinson hesitates ever so slightly, taking him out of his rhythm...

Robinson hurriedly throws ball short of wide receiver...

Michigan fans grown.

So I ask the question -

Can Denard Robinson ever mature into a Heisman contending quarterback? (Vote in the attached poll, below)

Why Yes, Graham, He Can

C'mon guys, he's got years of experience at the helm, there's no way he doesn't improve statistically this year and stop throwing so damn many bad interceptions. Furthermore, all the plays that he wasn't totally comfortable last year with...well he's got to be more comfortable this year? Finally, when Denard is comfortable in the pocket, he's got a bit of a short range rifle for an arm. See: OSU 2011. 14-17, 167 yards, 3 passing touchdowns, plus 26 rushes, 170 yards, 2 rushing touchdowns. That's Heisman worthy, right?

No Graham, He'll Never Contend For A Heisman

Soooo many reasons why not, where to start?

The 2012 schedule is nasty and nastier. People win Heisman's with great "big-game" performances, but all of Michigan's big games, save for MSU, are away: Bama, Nebraska, OSU, ND. That doesn't lend itself to big stats and big wins.

Denard Robinson is Pat White with probably a stronger arm and a less friendly offensive system for his skill set.

Robinson generates a nice spiral. Congratulations. He's still not accurate enough to generate the consistent passing numbers needed to win a Heisman.

Remember that 6th place Heisman Trophy finish that Robinson pulled in 2010? Mostly a product of those inflated rushing numbers against weaker competition and "we're down 2 touchdowns and the other team is in a prevent defense let's generate some eye-popping numbers and lose". Those days are over.


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