Wolverines Issue of the Week: Can Denard Robinson rebound from the worst game of his career?
And a damn good one at that.
But so far this season, the up-and-down Michigan football senior signal-caller's numbers have done nothing to legitimize Hoke's sentiment.
Robinson has eight interceptions, third-most in America, and his 13.5 completions per game is 100th nationally. His season passing stats aren't good, not at all.
And his last outing was a disaster -- five total turnovers, and four interceptions in the first half alone.
It was easily the worst performance of his college career. But the question now is, can be rebound on the road at Purdue in Michigan's Big Ten opener?
Can he rebound? Of course. Robinson, for all that ails him as a passer, remains a dynamic presence in the backfield who is capable of ripping off large chunks of yardage at any moment.
But will he rebound? His recent history suggests otherwise.
You've seen these numbers before, but they bear repeating: Robinson is 82-of-168 passing (48.8 percent) with eight touchdowns and 13 picks away from home under Hoke. He averaged 53.4 yards rushing in those games, and 3.2 yards per carry.
At home, he's 114-of-189 passing (60.3 percent) with 18 touchdowns and 10 picks. He averaged 124.3 yards rushing in those games, and 7.2 yards per carry.
Michigan, in return, is averaging 20.9 points away from home and 40.1 points at the Big House under Hoke.
Purdue also happens to feature one of the Big Ten's best defensive front sevens, paced by fearsome defensive tackle Kawann Short, and Robinson has struggled against teams that are fortified up front.
Robinson likely will be better than he was at Notre Dame, but his track record suggests more struggles are ahead this week.
I'm going to go on a limb here and say he can't possibly be worse than he was at Notre Dame. And if he is? Well, then we've got a different conversation on our hands.
At this point Robinson clearly is what he is -- a dynamic athlete who can burn just about anyone with his feet, but a player who becomes a one-trick pony when he's forced to stand in the pocket and throw against blitzing defenses.
He has his flaws, no question.
Michigan has to do a better job of keeping Robinson out of those situations. Some of that is on the offensive line, sure. But most of it is on No. 16. He threw the ball into coverage four times against Notre Dame, not the offensive line. He fumbled the red zone, not the offensive line.
Can he rebound this week? Sure. Purdue is much improved this season, but the Boilermakers don't have the athletes Notre Dame and Alabama had on defense.
Robinson has been miserable away from home under Hoke, and if he adds another performance similar to his last one -- or any of his road dates last season -- the Wolverines have problems.
If Robinson takes what the defense gives him, runs when there's nowhere to throw and hangs onto the football -- I see no reason why he can't have a rebound performance. If not? Like I said -- we'll have a different conversation on our hands.
What are you expecting from Robinson this week against Purdue? Do you believe he'll rebound, or will his passing woes only magnify as the team enters Big Ten play? Share your thoughts below.