Denard Robinson's cameo at receiver not the start of a position change
Lon Horwedel | AnnArbor.com
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 AnnArbor.com. He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.