EDITOR’S NOTE: The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and NOT ours as a whole.
This has been coming fora very long time. We were able to avoid this serious topic because other, morepressing issues distracted us from what everyone knew but did not want to say.Last night, last year, in Iowa City, and in East Lansing, the problem facedeach and every one of us, but we politely changed the subject to something elsebecause we could not let ourselves believe what we all knew then and know now. Until last night, I chose to ignore it, too: the indisputable factthat the University of Michigan needs a quarterback. Shoelace is agreat player, but he is not a quarterback. He is like that girl who youknow will hurt you in the long run, but consequences be damned, you aredetermined to spiral, enjoyably so, out of control . You marvel at thespectacle. It is intoxicating to be around her; you find that you are notyourself anymore. You may eat at an Ethiopian restaurant for the first time, oryou may end up getting a tattoo of a falcon on your back (cough, cough), but everywaking moment you spend with her you know that it will only end badly. Then,you wake up one morning to a note saying that she left to join The Black Crowesand Govt. Mule on tour, or that he threw four interceptions and you have 3,189″Return to Glory” interactions on your Twitter account.
I have thoroughlyenjoyed his time in Ann Arbor, but Denard Robinson’s last game for theWolverines may be the best thing to happen to Michigan since that gloriousJanuary morning when Ryan Ermanni broke the news that David Brandon fired RichRodriguez.
He is one of the mostexciting players that Michigan has ever had on the field. Watching him leaveeleven defenders in what is still the longest run in Notre Dame Stadium historyis still a sight to behold, but the fact that he is a polite young man and isextremely fast does not mitigate the lack of an accurate passing game. So,please, do not accuse me of any personal attacks on a college athlete, astudent, and, by all accounts, a very good and decent man. I wish him nothingbut success the rest of this year, when he tries to play in the NFL next year,and in three years, when he is an announcer for the B1G Network. Pointing outthat he is not an accurate passer does not mean that I hate him; I still love Denard, but we learned from Patty Smyth and Don Henley that, sometimes, love ain’t enough.
Granted, Denard is notthe sole reason why Michigan lost to Notre Dame last night, nor Iowa, norMichigan State last year, but the lack of someone who can make accurate throwsto exploit the defense in front of him can no longer be overlooked. Instead of the quarterback being an asset to the offense, Denardrepresents a liability, and with no consistent rushing attack this year, all ittakes to beat Michigan is eight men in the box. Even if we subtract the Alabamagame, because Alabama does that to everyone, what more proof does anyone needthan four interceptions last night? He consistently misses open receivers. Nomatter what route they run, Denard will either come up short or sail the ballfive yards by them. Defensive coordinators in the B1G see exactly what we allsee, and have seen, for three years. To beat Michigan, make Robinson throw, andtake advantage of the mistakes that he makes. So far, that formula has workedvery well, and Brian Kelly’s Fighting Irish played it to perfection.
For all the demons RichRodriguez unleashed upon our beloved program to be gone, we need a quarterbackwho can hit open receivers to complement a solid rushing attack, and that combinationis exactly what The Beloved One is trying to bring back to Ann Arbor. BradyHoke wants to dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.Defensively, I believe what Greg Mattison has done gives the Wolverines thebest chance of returning to the type of defense that we are all accustomed toseeing year after year. Offensively, however, I do not see any type ofimprovement until after this year, when Denard leaves and Russell Bellomy,Devin Gardner, or Shane Morris give Michigan the pocket-passer that a complete,balanced offense needs in order to compete.
As fun and amazing aswatching Denard run over teams like Bowling Green (hey, a Falcon!) and UMass, it has beenequally frustrating to watch him miss open receivers and turn the ball overagainst teams like Michigan State and Notre Dame. I will always be thankful forthe time #16 spent at Michigan, but I cringe every time a WR has singlecoverage and he overthrows them by eight yards. Goodbye, Denard, good luck, and thank you for the memories you gave us.