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Posted on Wed, Sep 14, 2011 : 5:58 a.m.

Denard Robinson may be under center more often to get Michigan's tailbacks going

By Kyle Meinke


Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson may spend more time under center, like this play against Notre Dame last weekend, to help the Wolverines' running backs play a bigger role in the offense.

Angela J. Cesere |

Although the Michigan football team scored 35 points against Notre Dame on Saturday, it had great difficultly sustaining drives and settling into an offensive rhythm.

Offensive coordinator Al Borges thinks he knows why, and some won't like his solution.

The problem, Borges said, is the absence of a consistent running game, and the answer lies in putting quarterback Denard Robinson under center more often.

"Some of that (offensive consistency) will come from running more under center," he said after practice Tuesday. "We're still so much more shotgun than we are under center, and as long as you're under the gun, your tailbacks aren't going to be featured as much."


Come back to at noon Thursday to join Kyle Meinke to recap the Wolverines' wild win over Notre Dame, discuss news that emerged this week and preview the game against Eastern Michigan on Saturday.
Michigan ran shotgun plays 68.4 percent of the time in its opener against Western Michigan, and also a considerable amount in Saturday's 35-31 win against Notre Dame.

"I'd like to be under center a little bit more," Borges said. "Not a lot more, but a little bit more."

Some, such as former Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez, believe Michigan should be in shotgun sets more often because it better utilizes Robinson ability to spread out defenses and attack them with his legs.

Borges, though, wants to take some of the offensive emphasis off Robinson to create better stability. He would like to do that by getting the running backs going.

As a group, the Wolverines' tailbacks combined for 10 yards on eight carries, no touchdowns and one fumble against Notre Dame. Sophomore Stephen Hopkins led the group with five carries for 10 yards.

That put more of the offensive onus on Robinson. The junior finished with 16 rushes for 122 yards, but struggled mightily in the first half.

The Wolverines gained 65 percent of their yards on just six plays against Notre Dame and failed to put together a drive of at least six plays. After averaging 72.4 plays per game last year, Michigan has run 89 in two games. Losing the fourth quarter of the weather-shortened opener against WMU didn't help that number.

Borges said he would like to run 70 to 72 plays per game.

"Absolutely not," offensive guard Taylor Lewan said when asked if sensed a rhythm on offense. "That doesn’t sound very good to me, especially how our offense used to have 13-, 14-, 15-play drives.

"You could blame it on the first-year coaches, but overall, they call on (the offensive line) for a reason. We were recruited here to do something. It’s our jobs -- not the coaches' jobs -- our jobs to get ourselves in gear."

Lewan said it was the offensive line's fault the running game has struggled.

"I’m pissed," he said. "What do you want me to say? That’s awful and that’s an extension of the offensive line. We did some good things ... pass protection wasn’t bad, but at the same time, it’s not all about pass protection. You have to run the ball, and that’s a direct correlation to us."

Is Lewan surprised by how much shotgun Michigan has run?

"Yes and no," he said. "I know it’s a pro-style offense, but at the same time, when you have a player like Denard, you need to utilize those tools. The guy can run. I don’t know if you guys have noticed, the guy can run a little bit and he’s a playmaker.

"So we need to put him in situation to make plays, and we need to put our offense in a position to make plays, and if that means more shotgun? Coach Borges knows what he’s doing. These coaches know what they’re doing, and anything they say, I’m listening to them."

What Borges is saying now is he wants to use Robinson less in the shotgun, but still rush him 15 to 17 times per game, and he needs to get others involved. He also now acknowledges Michigan is running a "hybrid" system that is an amalgam of the pro-style he favors and spread he inherited.

Still, he said, Michigan is 2-0, and that is what is most important, no matter how ugly it's looked at times along the way.

"I told you before, there are going to be growing pains to this thing," Borges said. "Hopefully, they're not excruciating, and so far we've had some ... but we didn't do so much damage that we lost the game.

"You'll get to the point you want to be at. And I think I'm talking to me more than I'm talking to you."

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.



Thu, Sep 15, 2011 : 10:25 p.m.

Why not run the pistol ? You can have him in the gun and run power !


Thu, Sep 15, 2011 : 10:21 p.m.

Also... If denard is forced under center they will lose to sd st, msu, nw, Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois and Ohio st.


Thu, Sep 15, 2011 : 9:59 p.m.

If Michigan had lost this game against ND I think everyone would be asking what Borges could possibly thinking. I don't know what game some of you were watching , but the offense looked TERRIBLE ! Denard is not a pocket passer or that effective passing on rollouts or throwing accurately deep . He is great making zone reads, throwing the quick slants, screen passes , making quick decisions. Borges should stick with what denard does great.


Thu, Sep 15, 2011 : 2:03 p.m.

Against ND, when Denard was in the shotgun: he threw 2 INT's and completed only 6 of his 17 passes. When he was under center he threw all 4 of his TD's, and completed 5 of 7 passes.

Larry Weisenthal

Thu, Sep 15, 2011 : 6:28 a.m.

Anyone know Denard's passing stats - center vs gun?

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Sep 15, 2011 : 11:07 a.m.

Don't have 'em in hand, but they are much better under center, esp. in the second half. Good Night and Good Luck


Thu, Sep 15, 2011 : 2:03 a.m.

It seems to me that the zone read is still our most successful running play, and Denard's ability to see the field and run if necessary makes the passing game more successful. Both work from the shotgun. We're average 2.3 yards a carry under center, and 7.5 from the gun. I would stay with the gun.

Lorain Steelmen

Wed, Sep 14, 2011 : 11:55 p.m.

I think its time for everyone to take a deep breath here, and relax. We ALL knew before the season started, that the ND game would be huge. Reason...the Irish talent level was the highest, early, that UM would see, until they started the road games. So far, the biggest concern, is the lack of a TB. Fitz was decent in game ONE, but may be injury prone. Smith has brilliant spots, but isn't nearly big enough to handle the load. Rawls is an unknown, ditto Hayes. Hopkins, Cox, and Shaw appear to be 'place holders', unable to be impact runners against big ten competition. All that puts pressure on DRob, and of course, Borges. These two will be trying to 'continually pull a rabbit, out of the hat', as we move forward. Another frustration for me, is the limited PT of Schofield, in game 2, and in general, Gardner. I understand the Gardner situation vs ND, but I hope that both these two, can get plenty of reps, in the next three games. I think we'll need them both to perform at 'first string' levels, before this is all over. I think they both have potential. ....And DRob IS, going to get beat up again. Defense will come down to the 'physicality' of our front four, and that means, Mattison will need bigger contributions from Campbell, and Washington as the season unfolds. Kovachs will give us everything he has, but after that, UM still has gaps in the backend. That will not change much, the rest of the way. Wolfolk appears to be a tough kid, but he's already 'busted up', and we haven't barely begun. The LB spots are all in a state of flux, as no one has stepped forward, to be a leader there. The kicking game is still a 'mystery', but suffice it to say, we'll 'breakeven' this year. Having said all that, this team CAN steal, most of it's games, against a tough, but 'unspectaclular' league. I see the Spartan game as the toughest midseason hurdle, as they get us at home, and have a 'bye' before that game. Injuries will determine our chances vs. osu and Nebraska.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Sep 15, 2011 : 1:36 a.m.

Damn, LS. I could not have said it better!! Good Night and Good Luck


Wed, Sep 14, 2011 : 8:48 p.m.

I will trust this veteran and proven staff over any of us in a heartbeat. Borges has shown and proven throughout his career that he knows how to adjust to the talent structure on his unit. So I will try to be patient and hope that the transformation of the Offensive styles will be a successful one, sooner than later, there will be growing pains however. That being said, I would like to see more short passes and the bootleg pass to the Tight End more, Denard can just tuck the ball in and run on those plays when the receiver is not open. I would like to see more under center snaps to get the RB's going and set the precedence for the future. I like that the Defense is forcing turnovers and winning that battle, what a welcome change from recent years. There is still some frustrating play from the Defense, but I like seeing improved play and tackling in many instances and adjustments being made in game, very refreshing. So let's just be patient folks, we're 2-0 and it could be a lot worse, we could be 0-2 ND, haha.


Wed, Sep 14, 2011 : 8:14 p.m.

Some people here have very select memories ... "the spread did this, and the spread did that". Our spread O sucked last year against some of the better teams we played, and the coaching staff lacked the ability to make the necessary adjustments to get us back into the games. We scored only 17 pts. versus MSU ; 28 versus Wiscy - but we were down 24-7 by halftime ; only 7 versus OSU ; and only 14 versus Miss. St. in the bowl game. Denard was obviously beat up once we got into the BT games, and he missed snaps in all but 1 or 2 games because he was hurt. Throw in the fact that when he wasn't out due to injury, he was obviously not the same player as in the first 5 games of the season. I have MUCH more confidence in Coach Hoke/Borges/Mattison and staff than last year's staff, that they will be able to do whatever is necessary to win games and to make our team and players better and better. And they are FAR better at making adjustments during the game ... we have had only 2 games so far, and in both they made adjustments that worked out well. tbf - you mentioned Borges' ego ... give me a break. Your guy had the biggest ego of any coach I have ever seen. If you think Coach Borges or any of the other coaches have an ego problem, then you have not been listening at all to them. You are still more of a fan of the old coach than of Michigan. Go Blue.


Thu, Sep 15, 2011 : 4:41 p.m.

tbf, we did have more yards last year after 2 games than this year (1005 vs 740). However: * we only played 43 minutes of a 60 minute game vs WMU ... if you project our yards to 2 full games we would have approx. 930 yards vs 1005 ... not much difference. * we have scored MORE points this year so far, even with only playing 2/3 of the 1st game (69 pts. vs 58 pts. in 2010) * Our red zone efficiency is 100% so far this year * All in all, we are doing fairly well, considering we are in a new system and we have a new coaching staff. Like the coaches have said, we need to improve in our running attack and get the RB's going, to take some of the pressure off of DRob and to keep him healthy. And we also need to improve our play in the trenches, on both sides of the ball.

Blu n Tpa

Thu, Sep 15, 2011 : 4:06 p.m.

tbf You are amazing. You are proven wrong, you admit you are wrong, then change the discussion to something else as if that was your point all along. Go back and look and see how many post game PC's the WCiMFH held where he discussed the defense and how to correct it. With details! This coaching staff want DRob to get better, not get killed by the fourth game of the year. The WCiMFH didn't care one wit for DRob otherwise he would have tried to take the bulleye off his jersey by getting more players involved in the offense and teaching DRob how to be a better QB, not just a running QB. I sue hope you get a birthday card or holiday card from him for all the PR work you're trying to do for the WCiMFH. There is NOTHING to be gained from the last 3 years but learning how NOT to coach big time college football. TiM Go Blue!


Thu, Sep 15, 2011 : 2:53 p.m.

mission -- our issue right now is getting down the field with more consistency. Getting yards. Last year we got yards. In comparison, this year we're not getting yards as consistently. Something is wrong this year on offense. And we ARE turning the ball over a lot this year. The only reason we appear to be doing well is because the defense is making some stops and forcing turnovers. This is good and it's a huge improvement over last season. Note that I am endorsing the current defensive staff over the coach that I supposedly have a fetish for.


Thu, Sep 15, 2011 : 2:49 p.m.

CE -- OK, the the four passing TD's came from under center. But just look at the game tape and tell me how open those receivers were. Then tell me if we were just a little bit lucky to complete those passes if not for great adjustments by the WR's. Oh yeah, and having Gary Gray be the goat time and again also helps! Let's talk rushing statistics since many would agree that is our biggest offensive issue right now. Against ND, runs from under center averaged 2.3 yards per play. Runs from the shotgun averaged 7.5. Tell me why, again, under center is better than shotgun right now in THIS SEASON.


Thu, Sep 15, 2011 : 1:55 p.m.

"We didn't score points because we turned the ball over a lot. But at least the offense that "sucked last year" could move the ball." Part of "sucked last year" includes being last in the B1G in turnover margin.


Thu, Sep 15, 2011 : 1:52 p.m.

Against ND, when Denard was in the shotgun: he threw 2 INT's and completed only 6 of his 17 passes. When he was under center he threw all 4 of his TD's, and completed 5 of 7 passes.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Sep 15, 2011 : 12:44 p.m.

Let me be clear--since the above is not. Check Denard's passing numbers when under center v. when he was in the shotgun/spread. Only someone with a fetish for a failed coach and his system could believe that we should continue in that system. GN&GL

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Sep 15, 2011 : 11:06 a.m.

trufan of the WCiMFH Go back and watch your DVR and tell me what he was under center and what he was in the shotgun/spread. The numbers aren't even close. A fetish for the WCiMFH and his failed system. But, then, we've known that for quite a while. Good Night and Good Luck


Thu, Sep 15, 2011 : 5:09 a.m.

Cousin Eddie -- How many passes did Denard complete from under center in the first half? Wasn't it 4, or perhaps less than 4? Just look at the complete body of work from the ND game. You have to be dreaming to believe that under center is a more effective offensive formation for Michigan right now in THIS SEASON than shotgun. Under center is great for WR bubble screens or play action dump offs to the full back or tight end but that's about it. We should seriously be 80-20 or 90-10 shotgun to under center. THAT would be adapting the offensive gameplan to the talent available.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Sep 15, 2011 : 1:51 a.m.

Worth noting that Denard was under center for almost every pass he completed in the 2nd half. Gotta love the MCC and their fetish for the WCiMFH and his style of play. Good Night and Good Luck


Thu, Sep 15, 2011 : 12:50 a.m.

We didn't score points because we turned the ball over a lot. But at least the offense that "sucked last year" could move the ball. Do you think we gained all those yards in the second half on Saturday because ND had a 17 point lead and loosened up on D? I'm sure those were just "faux" yards, right? Remember that meme from last season?


Wed, Sep 14, 2011 : 8:28 p.m.



Wed, Sep 14, 2011 : 7:56 p.m.

Allof the rbs combined carried 8 times? Most good tailbacks need 4-5 carries to get it going., especially early in the season. Coaching staff took what was being given, and it worked, but it will nice to see what we can do this week and next. I'll take a few nice boring games, 42-7 and 300 yards rushing, everyone leaves to watch the second half at the tavern. You know, like the old days.


Wed, Sep 14, 2011 : 6:33 p.m.

Putting DR under center more is not going to improve the RB's performances. With ND stacking the box and UM running the ball from the Power I, that just congested the middle and the backs didn't have much room to run. By not generating a run game that made it even tougher on DR in the passing game, because he could not or did not use the play action pass to freeze the CB's or Backers. Also, the Receivers routes were long developing, that's asking a lot of the OL. I agree with truebluefan, we need more of the short game passes and even utilizing the backs in the passing game more, other than the one screen to Smith there was nothing in the flats. I believe we will have a back step up, it'll be good to have two, the power back and a quick back like Wisconsin's Ball and White. I think Smith is going to become a productive back in games to come. I also think our offense will get better, we have the play makers, we just need to play to our strengths.

Chad Williams

Wed, Sep 14, 2011 : 5:54 p.m.

Sounds good but they simply dont have a big ten caliber running back. Mike Hart was 5'9 195 at best and what made him good was his patience and vision. These runnings backs lack both. Hopkins fumbles in the redzone too much and for a big guy he was barely touched and fumbled. It seems like all the running backs do is take the ball and run straight ahead to a brick wall. No cutbacks no vision to find the hole they just run. This offense is terrible when you rely on those backs. Mich isnt gonna score 28 in too many 4th quarters and wont overcome too many 24-7 deficits. Cant rely on the defense obviously because its the same defense as last year. Scheme changed still manhandled at the line, secondary is weak, still busted coverages. They have to be a score first offense, if they play they way the did on offense the first 3 quaters in october this team will go 2-4 guranteed. I havent seen any improvement after 2 games and whats worst the offense isn't any better they might have fell off a bit. Michigan already has gave up more points through two games already and just about the same yardage. They got turnovers in the first two games and against uconn and nd so the turnovers is no big whoop either. Its funny how RR won seven terrible games last year but everyone thinks this year these two wins weren't terrible?


Wed, Sep 14, 2011 : 4:22 p.m.

"Sure the line was having a tough time, but ND was stacking the box and challenging Denard to throw down the field." Decent to good defensive teams will do this to Michigan all season long, just like they did last season. And they will be successful if we continue to utilize any semblance of a pro style attack. We need to be a zone blocking spread team this season. I'm surprised and a little mortified that Borges wants to be under center more. Denard is not a gunslinger pocket QB, and I doubt he will ever develop into one. If we're going to throw the ball and be successful doing it, the plays should be flares, bubble screens and quick hitches over the middle, NOT 20+ yard pass plays into coverage that require great timing and accuracy. Last year's offense was successful in gaining yardage because it took advantage of Denard's main strength -- his legs. Where are Denard's fake runs to draw the defense and pitches over the top? Come on Borges, suck up your pride and run the offense that will optimize the offense's output!


Thu, Sep 15, 2011 : 3:20 a.m.

I smell a Tater in this thread.


Thu, Sep 15, 2011 : 1:58 a.m.

Bo once gave Lloyd Carr some advice: "There is only one group of people even remotely qualified to tell you how to run your team: your assistants. DO NOT listen to sports writers or fans. Most of them don't know anything about running a team. Listening to them is the fastest way to get fired."

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Sep 15, 2011 : 1:34 a.m.

Yeah Al!!! Come on. Be just as dumb or dumber than the immediate past failed coaching staff. Make Denard your featured back. Make him responsible, either by his legs or his arm, for up to 90% of the offensive plays. That way, the truly good teams can key on him like they did last year and shut us down. And that way we might just get Denard broken in two this year, something the immediate past band of incompetents nearly did last year. So yeah, Al, be a MAN!!!!! Be a stupid as the people you replaced. Good Night and Good Luck


Wed, Sep 14, 2011 : 7:32 p.m.

That's where we disagree: I don't think we need to do just what the offense does best right now. I think we need to do what's best for the course of the entire season and the health of the kids. Subjecting our one experience QB to 30-50 hits/game is not the best thing for him or the team in the long run, as demonstrated the last two seasons.


Wed, Sep 14, 2011 : 6:13 p.m.

How do you play to Denard's strengths and keep the future in mind? What does that mean? Run 60-40 spread to pro and be successful moving the ball in one out of four quarters? Do you think fans will be happy if we start losing games because we can't move the ball with any consistency? We're not going to be +2 on turnover margin every game. We need to do exactly what this offense does best right now and that is run zone blocking, spread, Denard power iso, Denard fake runs with quick pitches, read option, flares, bubble screens, etc.

Matt Patercsak

Wed, Sep 14, 2011 : 5:36 p.m.

I agree that more zone reads would play to the strength of Denard. but would it play to the strength of the team? what happens when Denard is gone and the offensive line has to go through this awkward period again? and we have no running back again? I think this "Hybrid", as much as I don't like it, is the right call for the time being. 'play to Denard's strengths' but keep the future in mind. because borges wants to eventually install a 100% pro style offense one day and we CANNOT afford to delay it's introduction just because we have one play-maker on the offense. he will still be in the gun, he will still be running. but we NEED to get under center more."this is michigan for god's sake". we cannot be selfish to this season. Denard cannot beat Ohio State, Michigan State and Nebraska by himself. Balance is key.


Wed, Sep 14, 2011 : 5:24 p.m.

Last season's offense was successful for the first 1/3 of the games, until Denard couldn't perform and was playing hurt. Then we sucked, just like the year before with Tate. So let's not rewrite history. I trust life-long coaches to foresee what Denard will develop into more than I do any of us. I also trust them to implement plans that we can sustain and grow into through the course of the season instead of compromising the entire season to win non-conference games.


Wed, Sep 14, 2011 : 4:04 p.m.

It is great to read that Taylor Lewan gives up some honest comments about the O-Line. He may be the leader amongst that group. We'll need a better passing attack to set up the run and vice-versa. That is why it will be important to establish that early in the game Saturday against EMU. It will not bode well if we fall behind EMU 7-0 in the first series of plays. I am hoping to see us hold them on their first series then we sustain a drive and score first. If that were to happen then I will call that progress. GO BLUE!!!


Thu, Sep 15, 2011 : 1:46 a.m.

Once again I hear the old refrain "better passing attack to set up the run..." Or the opposite "run to set up the pass..." While both statements could be true, they are a secondary result for real reason to run the ball. You run the ball to beat up the other team (Bo). I know, because I played for Bo at Michigan my senior year (1969). The TV announcers call it "wearing down the defense." It's like a boxer beating the opponent with body blows. After awhile the opponent can't defend himself. Same theory in football.


Wed, Sep 14, 2011 : 3:44 p.m.

The next 3-4 games are going to be interesting and tense for the team and for us fans. It'll be during these games that progress or lack of it will lead to conclusions about this team. I still believe the players and coaches are doing everything possible to make significant improvements. We will know what to expect when Michigan meets MSU on Saturday, October 15th. I really thought we'd see a better running game right off the bat. That's the one thing that bothers me now. I just hope that factor improves substantially - quickly. Go Blue!


Wed, Sep 14, 2011 : 2:43 p.m.

Sure the line was having a tough time, but ND was stacking the box and challenging Denard to throw down the field. Through the first 55 minutes of the game he wasn't accurate enough to make ND pay for that. We had crossing routes open 10-15 yards down the field but didn't hit them. Make some or most of those passes and all of a sudden the running game opens up. Until we make those passes, teams are going to put nine defenders within five yards of the ball and stuff the run.


Wed, Sep 14, 2011 : 1:02 p.m.

I'm still convinced that system does not matter so much as fundamentals. If the line doesn't block well (which it did not appear to on Saturday), we won't run effectively if it's spread, pro-set or goal line offense. Let's give ND credit--they stuffed the line well and did not allow any momentum. But the OL has to do better. Just like the ND line did. I personally did not play football so I only can comment based on years of watching and learning about football--but it seems to be that there was no offensive line movement. Without that, you aren't running well no matter what. There also were no or very few timing patterns for passes the other day (i.e. 3 or 5 step drops, slants, etc) which can often increase confidence and get the intermediate yards. No quick hitch passes to the receivers that LC and former coach used to love (which DR should be able to hit well). No draw plays, and only one screen. Those are fundamental plays that would open things up regardless of the "system".

Chad Williams

Wed, Sep 14, 2011 : 6:09 p.m.

At least with the spread there are more lanes too run thru because the defense is spread out. With the pro style offense you can put 8-9 in the box, but the main problem is the running backs lack ability. D rob is fast but his vision to FIND the hole is way better than everyback mich has. Those running backs just run straight ahead and try to bull there way for 3-4 yards, none of them cutback show patience. The o-line has to block thats a no brainer. This whole pro style offense is overrated as is the spread.

Lorain Steelmen

Wed, Sep 14, 2011 : 3:41 p.m.

Heartbreak.....Your first paragraph pretty much says it all. Teams will challenge DRob to throw. If he is successful, running will beciome a bit easier, not easy, but easier!

Blu n Tpa

Wed, Sep 14, 2011 : 12:45 p.m.

It takes a special coach, someone with the knowledge and skill to take what he's got, blend it with what he wants to do, and be successful with it. I'm not say highly successful, and to his credit neither is Coach Borges. But to attempt to find that balance of where you are and where you want to go, and still win football games, is the definition of coaching. And, by that I mean damn fine coaching. Know what the secret to making this work is and why the previous WCiMFH couldn't, wouldn't put it off? Ego. The present coaching staff have their collective egos and those of their players fixated on winning football games now. Not years from now but right this minute. Ego is a fine tool to use in sports, it might be the most useful motivation in life. Where the WCSiMFH failed was they were worried about their egos. They had to prove their way was the right way, the only way and the WCiMFH didn't care where the program went as long as his "system"was proven successful. Didn't happen. I know winning these first two games isn't the turning point. Michigan is going to lose games because it doesn't have all the parts it needs to play better teams with established coaches and more experienced players and win. Coaching is getting players to do what gives the team the best chance to be successful. A great coach's ego isn't based on the number of wins, it's based on how many of his players are doing the best they can all the time. Michigan finally has football coaches, again. They are Michigan. Go Blue!


Thu, Sep 15, 2011 : 7:18 a.m.

Obviously the RBs are under performing. Smith is no the answer btw, to whoever said that. He's great for the situations they use him in, which is 3rd down. Unless its third and 1 or 2, then ideally you would want to be able to run and pickup a few tough yards. Right now, it seems Fitz is the best bet, and hopefully Rawls gets an opportunity. This system change is more than Denard adjusting to being under center. Its new blocking schemes for the OL and a different look for the RBs. This will take time to develop.. Their two games in with a new staff, and their 2-0. Theres a few easier games coming up to build from and to get valuable reps in a new system. Comparing this stuff to the former is a joke. Not to mention, talking about all of RR's yards is useless, because yards dont equal wins. Just ask ND. RR won 3 freaking games at UM his first year. Look at the difference this year with the new staff. Their trying to implement their system, but at the same time, their going to win some games. They will likely finish with a record matching RR's best in their firs year. Imagine what 3 years of real coaching and recruiting Big Ten style players is going to accomplish. Anyone still supporting RR is nothing but delusional.

Chad Williams

Wed, Sep 14, 2011 : 6:51 p.m.

Cant say lack of talent but it's hard to understand why denard can find the lane but rbs cant. Even with power football backs have to find the hole and be able to cutback those backs dont show any patience. Holes arent always going to be there good backs find them


Wed, Sep 14, 2011 : 6:21 p.m.

"What we saw the last three years under the former coach who shall not be named, is desperation in the form of repeatedly using any player who could perform, until the poor kid got destroyed physically." So, we had a QB that couldn't finish a few games due to injury and didn't play for the majority of one game (BGSU), yet we had a top 10 offense in terms of yardage gained. I'll have me more of that, thank you. Tell me, why hasn't a running game outside of Denard emerged? Do we lack talent on offense? Are we too young on offense? Or is it something else?

Chad Williams

Wed, Sep 14, 2011 : 6:02 p.m.

Speaking of ego the current staff claims they hate having a RB by comittee, but the problem is they dont have that kind of RB. Smith is the best and i said it all along, he just isnt they RB people want, but reminds and sproles. Hopkins fumbles, Fitz and shaw are ok but they are no way 20-25 carry guys they are injury prone and not reliable. Maybe the freshman rawls can get a crack at it. All in all Denard is the best runner on the team period until i see other wise its gonna be tough sledding for the run game.


Wed, Sep 14, 2011 : 5:20 p.m.

@trublue- you mean like trying to run the spread with Sheridan and Threet? Either the coaches saw the ND backs overrunning the receivers and exploited it, or DRob's passes were underthrown. If the latter, he has to throw accurate passes in any system, or he's just a running back. What we saw the last three years under the former coach who shall not be named, is desperation in the form of repeatedly using any player who could perform, until the poor kid got destroyed physically. I'd rather struggle at the beginning of the season to achieve some balance that can be sustained throughout the season, than rely on one kid whose performance tails off dramatically through the season because he's trying to play hurt (like the last three years).


Wed, Sep 14, 2011 : 4:38 p.m.

Blu -- why aren't we moving the ball like we did last season? Are the coaches trying to implement a system that has a lower chance of being successful? Throwing 20+ yard bombs that require your receivers to outjump defenders every time is not the answer right now. Throwing long passes that require excellent accuracy and timing is not the answer right now. Yet, we kept doing it despite the fact that it wasn't working through three quarters. Then in the fourth we got fortunate with a couple broken plays, the D made a couple stops (yes, thankfully) and voila, we miraculously won. Something is wrong when four plays account for nearly all of your yardage output in a game. Please tell me why I'm wrong here.


Wed, Sep 14, 2011 : 1:03 p.m.

Great comments Blu. I agree with you completely.


Wed, Sep 14, 2011 : 11:43 a.m.

One would think that by the middle of this season one of our running backs will step up to the plate and if a running back does not then one would think that the need for a great running back is a high priority. I have my doubts as to whether we have a really good running back on this roster. Since our coaching staff are great recruiters and we have room to recruit maybe it's high time to think about recruiting the type of running back they need. Anyone and that means old men and women, children, boys and girls, women and yes even me can see we have a glaring problem that is going spank us hopefully later than sooner but it's coming, just like last year. Western Michigan and Notre Dame are not good teams and Notre Dame is playing horrible mistake filled football so Michigan won. If Notre Dame cleans up their act (mistakes) this coming came with Michigan State could get real interesting. I did not enjoy 90% of the Michigan, Notre Dame game and our lack of running back was the main reason.