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Posted on Tue, Nov 3, 2009 : 12:50 p.m.

Denard Robinson's cameo at receiver not the start of a position change

By Dave Birkett


Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson tries to fire a pass to wide receiver Roy Roundtree, but it was picked off by Penn State's Navorro Bowman.

Lon Horwedel |

Denard Robinson’s only meaningful snaps in last week’s 38-13 loss to Illinois came split wide at receiver.

But Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said Robinson’s cameo at the position is not the first step in a move from quarterback and not something to expect regularly the rest of the year.

“Everybody can say move this guy over here, move this guy over there,” Rodriguez said. “Remember, he’s a true freshman. A true freshman. The more you move him over here, it’s going to confuse him (at his regular) position as well.”

Robinson played the final series against Illinois at quarterback, completing his only pass for seven yards. He did not have a ball thrown his way at receiver.

The 19-year-old has struggled in limited reps at quarterback this season, completing 11 of 22 passes with four interceptions. He's also carried 53 times, primarily on designed runs, for 287 yards and five scores.

One of the most explosive athletes on the team, many have speculated Robinson will switch positions once Michigan has more depth at quarterback. Starter Tate Forcier also is a true freshman, and blue-chip recruit Devin Gardner will be on campus next fall.

Rodriguez said Robinson still is maturing as a quarterback and he has no plans to move him off the position.

“When you have to think quite a bit, then you don’t play as fast as you’re capable of playing,” Rodriguez said. “That’s a given, so with Denard, we’re trying to get him to play fast at that position and slowly he’ll learn the whole offense and we can put him at a lot of different spots. But he’s still a quarterback first and foremost and we’re trying to teach him everything we can with that.”

Art Taylor, Robinson’s coach at Deerfield Beach (Fla.) High, said he expects Robinson to stay at quarterback his entire tenure at Michigan unless he requests a position change.

The Wolverines were one of the few schools that recruited Robinson exclusively as a quarterback. SEC schools like Georgia and Florida wanted him as an athlete.

“They’ve been truthful,” Taylor said. “A lot of places might have tried to change Denard. That just shows you what type of word they have. Denard’s happy.”

He’s also a better passer than he’s showed so far, Taylor said. As a senior, Robinson threw for 18 touchdowns and nearly 2,000 yards against some of Florida’s best competition.

“The system that Coach Rodriguez has, I’m just telling you from my point, Denard fits perfectly,” Taylor said. “He’s got that run, he’s got that speed and he’s got a great arm. People got to understand, it doesn’t happen overnight. You can see the potential that Michigan has there with those quarterbacks. It’s going to come.”

Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.



Thu, Nov 5, 2009 : 12:42 a.m.

180 to 210 lbs is not that big of a stretch in one year. Overall physical strength,arm strength and speed usually improve as well with the right conditioning regimen. The one thing you have a hard time improving is the smarts under the helmet and the knack for reading defenses, stunts and changing plays at the line while watching the play clock. I liked the comment about Lloyds team and the big oaf at QB. I was there and it was so much fun to see Lloyd's team open up and trounce Florida. The other comment about Gardner's video is great, however I watched Tate's video and he looked equally as good in High School. So you never know until they get their shot at the big time. Think positive! Dan from Georgia GO BLUE ALWAYS

Man in the Mirror

Wed, Nov 4, 2009 : 8:22 a.m.

Just looked at Gardner's video.....Tate better gain some weight and grow in the off season or start packing his bags. Robinson better get the phone number of Tate's QB trainer. Gardner will be the starting QB when he arrives. Team may still suck, but he will shine.

Man in the Mirror

Wed, Nov 4, 2009 : 8:09 a.m.

When you have to think quite a bit you play slower than you are capable of...hmm. When Gardner gets there, and if he shows out like expected, Forcier and family will be saying bye, bye, bye the following season and you fans will be saying bad things about him. Robinson poor thing will be sitting the bench begging RR to "put me in Coach". At that point he will be glad to play any position and RR will say "It was Denard's decision to play another positon" and that will put him off the hook. Ahhh, the political games Coaches play.


Tue, Nov 3, 2009 : 10:28 p.m.

Tater, interesting to hear you call OTHER people trolls. I think the Spartans fans at mlive would get a kick out of that.


Tue, Nov 3, 2009 : 8:09 p.m.

Art Taylor has no clue what is going on at U-M. 11 completions with 4 interceptions? And how many times has he fumbled? No way this kid will ever be a big 10 quarterback. And defenses have already figured out what he is going to do when he gets in the game. If he doesn't switch positions, he might as well transfer.

Macabre Sunset

Tue, Nov 3, 2009 : 6:39 p.m.

I think RichRod envisions an offense where all 11 players are capable of running a 4.4 40-yard-dash and can throw the ball 80 yards while on one bended knee. This offense will lead Delaware A&M Tech 100-0 at the half, but will still fail to score a point against Penn State and Ohio State.


Tue, Nov 3, 2009 : 3:37 p.m.

There are no assurances that his main position next year will be at QB. I suspect we will see him as a slot our outside reciever more frequently next season.


Tue, Nov 3, 2009 : 3:36 p.m.

Yeah, that was great when we beat Florida. Just too bad it too 12 games before that before the offense was allowed to do anything.


Tue, Nov 3, 2009 : 3:19 p.m.

yeah, lloyd's team who beat that mobile tebow in florida...horible team lloyd had. The sad part is you believe what you say. I thought Tate was winning the Heisman this year Theo??? What happened???


Tue, Nov 3, 2009 : 3 p.m.

Keep DRob at QB until he wants to move. RR has to keep his word to the recruits. Hopefully after a year of sitting the bench and watching Tate and Gardner play QB he will see that he has a better chance of making plays by getting on the field as a reciever and/or return guy.


Tue, Nov 3, 2009 : 2:33 p.m.

I am really pleased to see that RR isnt planning to move DR to another positon as a position switch, especially since he was recruited as a QB. If he does, I hope that other potential recruits will observe this action and take htis into consideration when they are being recruited by M.