Thursday, April 8, 2010

Denard Robinson: Your 2010 Starting QB?

After the end of the 2009 season, it seemed a sure thing that Tate Forcier was going to be the starting quarterback once again. Thing again folks. Obviously none of this is final and it is just spring practice but Denard Robinson is really impressing and pushing Tate. Here's my analysis.

First of all, we can't read all too much into this and jump to conclusions (hence the question marks after the headline). However, there is something to this. Tate has a strong arm and quick feet, but he is no match for the cheetah-like speed of Denard Robinson. And while Tate has better mechanics, he has been getting high level coaching for years and is much closer to his "ceiling". Denard is just starting to explore his potential and is making major strides in Spring camp.

I, for one, would be thrilled to give Denard Robinson a chance. Obviously he was not a good passing quarterback last season, finishing 14 for 31 passing (45%) with no TDs against a D-1 team (he did have a couple in a 63-6 win over Delaware State) and four interceptions. By the end of the season Denard was relegated to coming in and running nothing but predictable QB sweeps which got quite frustrating to watch as teams knew what was coming. However, one thing to keep in mind was that he did not enroll early like Tate and come to Spring Practice so he was essentially learning on the fly. He did have some flashes with his arm though, and we all know what his legs are capable of.

Rich Rod has commented that Denard and Tate will likely split time but I still anticipate Tate getting the bulk of the time and the starting job. He has proven his potential and Denard still has a long way to go. One wild card in this could be the after affects of Tate's shoulder injury from last year and that could play a factor, though most experts believe he is close to 100% now and will be ready for the season perfectly healthy.

Either way it's just spring so we can't read too much into this stuff. However, I would love to give Denard a chance at QB (especially because he's been performing so well in camp). If he can learn to use his legs as a supplementary tool to his passing (i.e. throwing on the run, which he is still struggling with and Tate is great at) he could become a dangerous weapon in the future. However for the upcoming season I still see Tate as the main quarterback.

Rich Rod said that he and the coaching staff are working Denard into other positions (!) that he could play during the year to get his speed on the field. This has been a long time coming and is a great idea. I'm really excited to see what comes of this...With Denard performing so well in camp it's becoming more and more inevitable that freshman phenom and QB of the future Devon Gardner will take a redshirt. I actually really like this idea because it maximizes his time as a starter. He has also been shaky in spring practice as any freshman getting his reps would. The future is extremely bright for Devon...We will be able to see how all three of the quarterbacks do in a game setting a week from Saturday in Michigan's third spring game under Rich Rodriguez. Spring game material will be posted next week.

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