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Posted on Mon, Oct 11, 2010 : 2:36 p.m.

Denard Robinson delivered passionate speech to teammates following Michigan football team's loss to Spartans

By Pete Bigelow


Michigan sophomore quarterback Denard Robinson runs against Michigan State on Saturday. Teammates said Robinson's post-game speech after the 34-17 loss to the Spartans was just what the Wolverines needed.

Melanie Maxwell |

As the quarterback of the Michigan football team, Denard Robinson is a team leader by default. In the locker room after Saturday’s loss to Michigan State, he became one by example.

Teammates said they’d never seen Robinson so outspoken, and that his speech earned him credibility as a team leader.

“Some say it was a tough game for him, but in my personal opinion, it built him,” said receiver Kelvin Grady. “I never heard him speak with such emotion. …

“Denard took a step closer to being a leader for this team. He got a lot more respect from us, as players, after he spoke up.”

That’s not to say he wasn’t before, Grady added. But in winning five consecutive games, the Wolverines (5-1 overall, 1-1 Big Ten) didn’t need a rallying cry until Saturday.

Standing at his locker following the 34-17 defeat, Robinson didn’t use many words to convey his feelings. He didn’t mince them either.

According to players, Robinson talked about the bad feelings following the loss, the mistakes and errors made against the Spartans and moving ahead toward Iowa with a positive vibe.

“He was clearly upset after the game,” right guard Patrick Omameh said. “We all were. … He was mostly speaking for himself, but saying things didn’t go like they should.”

Robinson had his worst game of the season, completing 17 of 29 passes for 215 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. He carried 21 times for 86 yards and a touchdown.

It was the first time all season he’d been held to less than 100 rushing yards.

Robinson didn’t dwell on the performance. By the time he arrived in the locker room, he lifted up his teammates spirits.

“In his eyes, you could just see it,” Grady said. “He is hungry. … He speaks, just not the way he did. It was with more force and a little bit more meaning.”

Pete Bigelow can be reached at (734) 623-2556 or e-mailed at Follow him on Twitter @PeterCBigelow.



Tue, Oct 12, 2010 : 4:17 p.m.

Nick, You obviously can't read. I never once said you don't need a good or great defense. so read it again my friend. Slooowly this time.


Tue, Oct 12, 2010 : 2:48 p.m.

spartyisyourlilsister Posted 19 hours ago Illinois 34 MSU 7 Start of the Sparty second half swoon. They put everything into Michigan week every year and then tank the rest of the season. Look at last year as a perfect example. I see Chris L Rucker, part of the ski-mask crew, is in trouble yet again. Nice to see that Dantonio is letting the inmates (literally) run the asylum still. Great job as usual, always wait til after the Michigan game to hand out the punishment!! Nice to see Stonum still playing.


Tue, Oct 12, 2010 : 2:22 p.m.

How about that Ryan Mallett of Arkansas, eh? A real Heisman contender maybe

Nick Clarke

Tue, Oct 12, 2010 : 2:20 p.m.

funkwazzie, You don't know much about football do you? How many of the teams that have won a national title had great defenses? The answer is all of them! Alabama,Florida,Texas,USC,Ohio State, etc. Every one of those teams had a rediculously good defense. If the other team can't score, they can't beat you! Last years rose bowl was a perfect example, Ohio State had a mediocre offense, but a great d. Oregon on the other hand had a excellent offense and terrible defense, same with last years Iowa team. If you have a good defense, you'll always be in the position to win.


Tue, Oct 12, 2010 : 11:04 a.m.

I'm sick of hearing that defense wins ballgames. Last I checked if a d holds an opponent to a shutout and the offense doesn't score, that is a TIE not a win. So to keep saying d wins games is just ignorant. TEAMS win ballgames! Defenses slow down opponents so the offense can hopefully score enough to win. Unfortunatley, michigans D could not slow states offense down enough to keep up with the mistakes happening on the offensive side of the ball. So therefore the TEAM lost. it's that simple. I am a bit concerned with the philosophy of the coaches though. They've played six games now and had 4 to 5 completely different schemes. With the inexperience we have it might be good to stick with one or two because of different looks and assignments these kids have to get each game. I think that is a big problem and why guys seem to be so out of place. Take the difference between indiana and state. Indiana the scheme was mainly 2 or 3 deep zones with hardly any 5 man blitzez and a majority of zone assignment. Then against state they switched and ran mainly a 4-2-5 with a mix of 3-4, 4-3, and 3-3-5. Mostly all man zone with pressing corners and @#$% tons of blitzes. I thought the state package was WAY better, they just seemed to be lost because of the different looks they had to get. Find a scheme and stick to it! In the end Michigan will be fine this year. They can beat any team in the nation as long as they have an error free game. That I have no doubt. GO Blue!!!


Tue, Oct 12, 2010 : 9:15 a.m.

Denard, this is not your fault. You have performed above and beyond what most are doing. You have showed the team the y can be winners however, the defense needs to step up now. I don't think the players are totally to blame. i think the coaches who sit upstairs calling plays should take some of the blame. If it were me, i would be holding meetings, watching films and practice sessions. There are no reasons this team should be taking a back seat to anyone. Come on Wolverines, let's show the Hawkeyes who are the real winners. Hail to the Victors!


Mon, Oct 11, 2010 : 10:39 p.m.

Drob will make good on his words this week. If this defense can play just a little better, we can win 8 games. I know it's ridiculous that we are asking a horrible defense to just be a little less horrible, but thats where we are right now. I hope for a little patience from the fan base too. If we get this win v IOWA, the momentum swings back our way and the team has confidence going forward. The MSU game pointed out that we aren't good enough to play poorly and win. The IOWA game becomes the game that tells us if we are truly a different team than last year. Win it and we are still in the race. Lose it with poor defense and an ineffective offense.... Well, we know what comes next from this "FAN" base. I will stay with this team to the end. GO BLUE!


Mon, Oct 11, 2010 : 10:26 p.m.

No defense and special teams, this team will never compete for a big ten championship or have signature wins period. Three years so far the D still stinks. This offense has to score "Lots" of points and play mistake free to have a chance cause the D won't bail em out and that's what happened against MSU. D. Robinson will be very good but made some mental mistakes against sparty which led to bad decisions. You have to be physically and mentally tough. He hesitated with his runs and passes=INT. Unfortunately, he's the only consistent playmaker and when struggled so did the rest of the offense(unacceptable). The QB shouldn't be the leading rusher on your team. Michigan have no punishing strong RBs. You need strength and size in B10 not just speed. Without a good D, this team will remains mediocre. How many TO did Michigan D have last few games???? It was a complete team collapse this past Sat, and I hope they will rebound against IOWA.


Mon, Oct 11, 2010 : 9:35 p.m.

1) Ron English was a horrible coordinator. His first year he benefitted from a veteran-heavy defense. 2) Denard Robinson does shoulder a lot of blame, since he is the one who runs the entire offense. 3) Calvin Magee deserves a lot of blame, too, for putting the game entirely in DR's hands when the running game was good enough to be used. Both CM and Rodriguez are too in love with Robinson and need to step back and call more straight, non-option runs to the RBs. 4) Which leads to the biggest point -- we have players that can step on on offense besides DR. Shaw and Smith ran well against Sparty. Minus three bad drops in a row, the WRs were open and waiting for good throws. WRs only look as good as their QBs allow them to. Roundtree and Hemingway have both shown they can do things once the ball gets in their hands, but they need DR to be more accurate. The two INTs in the endzone where Robinson's fault, just as last November Forcier blew the game against OSU with turnovers at both endzones. 5) DR's YPC against MSU: 4.1 on 21 carries. The RBs: only 13 carries, but they combined to average 5.8. The staff and DR needs to trust his RBs. I truthfully don't care how many yards he can get against inferior teams. No back has carried more than 15 times in a game, and that was Shaw in game one. Since then, DR has not trusted his backs enough. DR wants to make the big play (fine), but he needs to trust that his backs can break big runs, too. 6) 4 and 5 emphasize a point on those who want to blame the offense and allow DR to be given a pass. Other players can't make plays if they aren't given the proper chance. Once DR learns to put touch on his balls, and that handing the ball off is smart, he will be really dangerous against any team -- not just poor defensive teams.

Matt Cooper

Mon, Oct 11, 2010 : 9:28 p.m.

I wonder why people can't simply say thanks to Denard for stepping up and trying to lead this tea the way a good player/leader does, instead of bytching up and down about the coaching. Denard...Thanks, man! I for one appreciate all your efforts and I hope you boys kick the snot out of Iowa.


Mon, Oct 11, 2010 : 9:04 p.m.

I wonder what kind of passionate speech Denard will give to his teammates after Iowa beats them?


Mon, Oct 11, 2010 : 8:56 p.m.

Michigan needs to ditch the 3-3-5 and run a 3-4 or 4-3 defense. There are two reasons for this. First, the 3-3-5 isn't getting enough pressure on the passer. Second, the 3-3-5 is getting gashed open for 5-8 yards per rush. Even one more guy up to stop the run would help the defense slow down opposing offenses. There might also be a third reason. As was stated above, Michigan has 6 guys in the defensive backfield rotation that don't really have business being in. You are playing 5 of them at a time. That's 5 potential mistakes from inexperience guys. Going to a 4-3 or 3-4 cuts that number down to 4 guys who can potentially make huge mistakes and get burned, plus the added guys up front can hopefully put pressure on the opposing QB, forcing mistakes from him. The 3-3-5 might be a good defense with an experienced defensive backfield with athlic guyswho are playmakers, but with the youth and inexperience there, the 3-3-5 is getting killed.


Mon, Oct 11, 2010 : 8:38 p.m.

I'm glad DRob stood up like a man and accepted some of the blame. That's good on him. (If only his head coach would do the same.) Unfortunately, it won't matter this week against Iowa. Iowa will rip us apart this weekend. While MSU is a good team, Iowa is much better. Michigan is deeply flawed in 2 out of the 3 phases of the game and you can't win against good teams when that's the case. Watch for the panic to set in late in the game and to carry over to the PSU game the next week.

Sean T.

Mon, Oct 11, 2010 : 8:34 p.m.

Dusty Haupt, 3-4 is setup to put pressure on the offense and especially the running offenses. The 4-3 is standard but allows the d-line to put pressure on the QB to make him have pressured throws...that cause mistakes. Do you really know how long a QB is supposed to hold the ball before actually throwing? It's around 3.3 seconds but with 3 down lineman and no one else blitzing, a QB has all day to pass. Look at all of the highlights by opposing teams that threw the ball deep on us.(particularly MSU) They all have one thing in common, we used a 3 man pass-rush. No pressure equals easy passing! It does fall on the shoulders of the coaches when your guys get beat as much as ours. It's true the coaches don't make the throws or catch the passes but when the players don't do their job.....You put someone in that will!


Mon, Oct 11, 2010 : 8:27 p.m.

Dusty You are spot on. How is it a coaching problem that DW left for the NFL and Wolfolk broke an ankle. I'm sure RR did not push DW out the door. I am sure the opposite happened. How much better would the secondary look if those two guys are on the corners in stead of any two of the five true freshman that are playing now. I sure the coaches would be much 'better' with two seniors playing instead of 2 true freshman.


Mon, Oct 11, 2010 : 8:08 p.m.

D. Haupt, Couldn't have said it any better.....


Mon, Oct 11, 2010 : 8:07 p.m.

BorninA2 Obviously math isn't one of your strong points. RR has only had 2 recruiting classes. His first year, he took over as coach after the New Year's Day bowl game against Fla. Based on that, National signing day was only 36 days away. Therefore, 95% of Hopefully, you can work on your facts before you start posting comments and making statements that are not fact


Mon, Oct 11, 2010 : 7:48 p.m.

Lloyd left the cupboard empty. We've had too many defensive coordinators. The players are too young. At what point do these excuses stop? How about: - RR chased off/failed to keep some exceptionally talented Carr recruits. - RR fired a good defensive coordinator, brought in an incompetent one, fired him and replaced him with another incompetent one, and on top of all that didn't effectively recruit defensive players. - RR's first recruits should be juniors now. Why are we still starting true freshman in the secondary? How many years does it take to teach tackling? It's been three years now and if RR's juniors haven't been taught my sense is that they aren't going to learn in one more year.


Mon, Oct 11, 2010 : 7:21 p.m.

Illinois 34 MSU 7 Start of the Sparty second half swoon. They put everything into Michigan week every year and then tank the rest of the season. Look at last year as a perfect example. I see Chris L Rucker, part of the ski-mask crew, is in trouble yet again. Nice to see that Dantonio is letting the inmates (literally) run the asylum still. Great job as usual, always wait til after the Michigan game to hand out the punishment!!


Mon, Oct 11, 2010 : 6:57 p.m.

Iowa 38 UM 21 You are the cupcake for other teams. Deal with it.


Mon, Oct 11, 2010 : 6:28 p.m.

Typically, Dusty, I do not like to blame the coaches as I said in my first post. I admire coaches. To say that the players are bad makes no sense. Michigan is a major college football powerhouse and draws great recruits. What you do with them is the key, coaching and development. What we are seeing now has never happened before even though Michigan, like all other teams has had to suffer through injuries and players who transfer for 40 years now. Michigan has always fielded teams good enough to be named pre-season as championship favorite. So what is the difference? One is that we have a new coaching philosophy, thus I question, with hesitation, that it could be coaching, the biggest difference over all these years. As for the 3-3-5, I am not a football expert by no means but I have read many other posts from participants here who have questioned this defense. I am having trouble understanding how you put pressure on a QB with 3 rushers vs four D linemen and maybe a running back to assist. With the time the opposing QBs are getting not even experienced DBs could stop the completions we are seeing. You are correct coaches cannot be blamed for players dropping the ball, but the issue with this game was not the inability of the offense to score, but the inability of the defense in keeping MSU from scoring, because my friend, DEFENSE WINS BALLGAMES.


Mon, Oct 11, 2010 : 5:39 p.m.

What's funny to me is that people who bash the 3-3-5 defense don't think about what they're saying: Running a 4-3 or 3-4 (by the way, Michigan DOES run a 3-4 on occasions) means there is even MORE pressure on the secondary, which already sucks.


Mon, Oct 11, 2010 : 5:36 p.m.

Mick52, the best coaching in the world won't help bad players. The Michigan secondary, already riddled with injury and playing 5, FIVE true freshmen on rotation, took yet ANOTHER hit in the game when the one senior on the unit pulled a hamstring. The true freshman who replaced him was promptly burned for the long TD pass MSU had in the third quarter. The offensive mistakes made Saturday weren't coaching/scheme/gameplan mistakes, they were bad decision/execution on the part of the players. Dropped passes aren't coaching issues. Missing open receivers isn't a coaching issue. People keep blaming the 3-3-5, yet they like to conveniently ignore the SEVERE lack of ability in the secondary. How good do you think a secondary can be when they lose their top 6 guys? YES, SIX. There are kids playing in the Michigan secondary right now who have no business being in the rotation, but they have to be because of injuries.


Mon, Oct 11, 2010 : 5:34 p.m.

Arnold: You're right -- MSU did NOT score as much as UMass or Indiana. Then again, Denard didn't score on 30-90 second "drives" either, so there were far fewer possessions for the Spartans. In the second half, it was clear MSU could do whatever it wanted to, for the most part.


Mon, Oct 11, 2010 : 5:31 p.m.

As crazy as it sounds, the Michigan defense played well enough to win the game. Denard had 3, count 'em, THREE missed throws into the endzone on 3 different drives that became 2 picks and an incompletion. The interceptions turned into 10 points for State. This loss is on the offense, as popular as it is to blame Greg Robinson.


Mon, Oct 11, 2010 : 5:30 p.m.

Good points by Sean and Arnold. Michigan has to show that opponents do not only have to stop DRob to win. And the turnovers and mistakes cost Michigan this game. MSU played a great game but facemask penalties and the interceptions were the difference. I am beginning to believe the problem is with coaching, something I have always avoided saying. I have always felt Michigan's strength was in its coaching that at halftime, they came up with solutions that lead to wins. Does not seem to be happening and this 3-3-5 defense is not working. 5 DBs and teams are passing on Michigan? I do truly believe that Michigan can win any game and every game, it just means hard, error free play and good coaching. One game at a time. It comes down to who wants it the most. Especially on defense since defense wins ballgames.


Mon, Oct 11, 2010 : 5:02 p.m.

I don't know if passion alone will save this team. Iowa is better than Michigan State and they have had twice as long to prepare for this game than Michigan has. If Michigan can go out and beat a very talented and prepared Iowa team next week, that will be a bigger upset than the Cocks besting the Tide in my eyes. All the cards are stacked against the boys in blue right now. Hope for a miracle... that's all I can say.

Oscar Lavista

Mon, Oct 11, 2010 : 4:21 p.m.

Denard knows you can't win 'em all, so its nice he has some inspirational speeches in him! Hopefully he'll give the next one BEFORE the Iowa game.

David Briegel

Mon, Oct 11, 2010 : 4:11 p.m.

Kubrick, THAT would be a very welcome UPSET!!


Mon, Oct 11, 2010 : 4:07 p.m.

Michigan will beat Iowa.

David Briegel

Mon, Oct 11, 2010 : 3:55 p.m.

Is Bonsai a Kamikaze?


Mon, Oct 11, 2010 : 3:50 p.m.

From the start of the season the Defense has been suspect. Michigan has to score big to win the so called "shoot outs." The defense will get better. MSU did NOT score any more points than U Mass or Indiana. But Michigan just CANNOT afford the dropped balls and errant passes. So much rides on Denard's ability. He has showed awesome skills in flashes. The interceptions and dropped balls were heartbreakers. Give MSU their KUDOS. They didn't make mistakes.


Mon, Oct 11, 2010 : 2:25 p.m.

this loss was clearly Rick Snyder's fault for outsourcing everyone who can tackle and block to the SEC


Mon, Oct 11, 2010 : 2:21 p.m.

although im a proud spartan, i have to give a compliment if one is due- i cant help but like this kid Denard. I watched him during an interview and he seems like a good kid and I think he will be a good leader as well.

Sean T.

Mon, Oct 11, 2010 : 2:07 p.m.

I'm very glad Denard will step his game up but why should he shoulder the blame of the loss when there are others on the team? There should be some coaches standing up as well because Denard cannot win these Big Ten games by himself! I hope Denard knows the Big Ten is watching and even his rallying cry may not make too much of a difference. Fight on Woverines!


Mon, Oct 11, 2010 : 1:53 p.m.

Not only will it be part of his growth, but for the team overall. They need to come out against Iowa and show that this will not be a repeat of last season. I believe they have the leadership from the QB position that they were lacking last season and the season before. Congrats to MSU, they did play one hell of a game.


Mon, Oct 11, 2010 : 1:46 p.m.

Great story! As painful as this loss was to everyone, the silver lining is that Denard will become MUCH better for it over the long run. It's part of his growth as a QB, teammate, and young man. I will be very surprised if we don't see a much better game from him against Iowa. Go Denard and Go Blue!