|Denard Robinson had 502 total yards vs. Notre Dame in 2010|
Denard Robinson, Michigan’s early season Heisman hopeful, has exploded onto the national scene in 2010. Robinson showed flashes of his running skill as a freshman backup quarterback in 2009, running for 351 yards on 69 carries (5.1 ypc) and 5 touchdowns. But his passing was less than stellar. That combination of skills led many to believe that he would move to running back or receiver in the new season, but that obviously isn’t the case. Here I’ll offer some thoughts on Robinson’s play so far, the things he does well, and the areas he can improve.
2009 Passing: 14-for-31, 45.2%, 188 yards, 2 touchdowns, 4 interceptions
2010 Passing (through 3 games): 53-for-76, 69.7%, 671 yards, 4 touchdowns, 1 interception
2009 Rushing: 69 carries, 351 yards, 5.1 average (long of 43), 5 touchdowns
2010 Rushing (through 3 games): 74 carries, 559 yards, 7.6 average (long of 87), 4 touchdowns
Extremely fast . . . Great acceleration . . . Elite top-end speed . . . Keeps shoulders square to line of scrimmage when running ball . . . Moves well laterally without losing balance or forward momentum . . . Above average arm strength . . . Improving accuracy on both short and long throws . . . Flashes occasional soft touch on deep balls . . . Quick decision maker . . . Rarely holds the ball too long . . . Large hands allow for good ball security on pump fakes . . . Shows poise in pocket and will take contact to make a solid throw . . . Throws ball accurately and with velocity on the run
Desire to get upfield sometimes limits vision of lateral running lanes . . . Tendency to hold ball in left (non-dominant) hand when running . . . Questionable ball security when rushing, especially with ball in left hand . . . Carries ball low and loose at times . . . Carrying ball in left hand sometimes prevents use of bubble screen on zone read option play . . . Doesn’t show consistent touch on intermediate and deep throws . . . Lacks great height for seeing downfield . . . Scrambles quickly without going through entire progression, although athleticism makes up for happy feet . . . Throws many balls low and hard . . . Has 3/4 arm delivery, which makes release point low . . . Questionable mechanics often point toe to left of target instead of straight at target . . . At times will throw off back foot to get rid of ball
GAME PLAN AGAINST HIM
1. Force Robinson to give up the ball on the zone read option. Ends and linebackers should stay home and make Robinson hand off the ball to the running back.
2. Strip ball when he scrambles. His ball security is questionable, and he will put it on the ground in traffic.
3. Play zone coverage. Don’t turn your back to the quarterback. He will underthrow the ball at times and open himself up to interceptions.
4. Force Robinson to run/scramble left. He has more ball security issues and hasn’t shown the ability to throw the ball when rolling left. Most of his big runs have come to the offense’s right.
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