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Posted on Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 3:39 p.m.

Hey, Michigan QB Denard Robinson, are you faster than Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez? 'See it for yourself'

By Kyle Meinke


Denard Robinson has rushed for 910 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Melanie Maxwell |

Michigan football quarterback Denard Robinson and Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez are two of the most electrifying running quarterbacks in the country.

They also happen to have similar games.

Robinson is fifth in the conference in rushing, and Martinez is seventh. Robinson is second in total offense, and Martinez is third. Robinson is sixth in passing yards per game, and Martinez is seventh. Robinson is seventh in passer efficiency, and Martinez is eighth.

But, most of all, they're both burners. Robinson and Martinez are two of the quickest players in the Big Ten, despite playing quarterback.


Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez has rushed for 768 yards and nine touchdowns.

Associated Press

With the No. 20 Wolverines (8-2, 4-2) and No. 17 Cornhuskers (8-2, 4-2) set to square off at noon Saturday on ESPN, it elicits the question: Who's faster?

"You can see it for yourself on Saturday," Robinson said Wednesday with a wide smile.

The only frame of reference is their high school 40-yard dash times. Rivals reports Robinson's time as 4.38 seconds — that's world-class speed — and Martinez's time as 4.47 seconds.

Of course, those 40-yard times aren't exactly precise, nor current.

There is one certainty, though: Both will play a key role Saturday in the game.

Robinson accounts for 62.1 percent of Michigan's spread-West Coast hybrid offense, and Martinez accounts for 60.8 percent of Nebraska's option offense.

Robinson said he has not been hindered this week by the bruised wrist that knocked him out of last week's game against Illinois. He said he was hurt when he took a helmet to the wrist in the second half.

He expects to be "110 percent" against Nebraska.

Take our poll: Four of Big Ten's top seven rushers will be in the Nebraska-Michigan game. Which one picks up the most yards?

ESPN’s “Sports Science” on Taylor Martinez’s speed

Denard Robinson's touchdown run against Notre Dame in 2010

Other notes from the Wednesday news conference:

Injury roundup

Coach Brady Hoke said starting left guard Ricky Barnum will be available to play against Nebraska, but isn’t sure if he actually will play. The junior has suffered injuries to both ankles.

Hoke also said cornerback Troy Woolfolk (leg) is fine and practicing.


Come back to at noon Thursday for a live chat with Kyle Meinke. He'll recap the Wolverines' win at Illinois, discuss news that emerged this week and preview the game against Nebraska on Saturday.
Practices remain intense

Hoke said the team hasn’t tapered back the physicality of its practices, despite being in the second-to-last week of the regular season.

“It’s always that fine line,” he said. “We’re learning how to be a football team on a daily basis. And that competition in the one-on-ones is vital to us because of the competition aspect of it.”

No Big House for Michigan

The team will not practice at Michigan Stadium this week, despite returning home for two games after being on a two-game road swing.

“The kickers will, but we don’t go up there as a team until gameday,” Hoke said. “That’s a special place for us and gameday’s important and being in that stadium. But we’re fortunate enough to have pretty good (practice) facilities.”

Best D-line in the country?

Senior defensive tackle Ryan Van Bergen said earlier this week he thought Michigan had the best defensive line in the country.

Hoke’s response: “We have two games left to show that.”

"Swag, confidence? I think you've got to have confidence,” Hoke added. “But I know one thing: If you're going to say it and talk the talk, you'd better walk the walk."

Receivers running crisper routes

Hoke said he’s been impressed by how the receivers have continued to improve their route running, despite getting few opportunities to catch balls because of the emergence of the running game in recent weeks.

"They run better routes,” Hoke said. “Part of that is they are also recognizing the levels back there in the secondary, if it's two high, one high. That's all part of route running and conversions of routes.

“I think they've done a good job of blocking, and I don't know how many drops they've had, but you're always going to have some. For the most part, they've done a good job."

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


1st Down

Fri, Nov 18, 2011 : 4:15 a.m.

Denard is faster and it is not even close


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 8 p.m.

@Chiro19 I heard the same today on the radio,from a sports radio guy in Neb. he said that they have a few injuries on D, i.e. Crick and others, they took an O lineman,and converted him to D line,he went on to say that Neb run defense is suspect,and Michigan could beat them between the tackles etc.. GO BLUE..


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 5:15 p.m.

It looks like T Bop is quicker out of the blocks but Denard has higher top end speed, especially in the 100m. It should be interesting because the way it looks the weather will be keeping these teams from throwing a lot! Rainy, cold, and winds of 25 mph should make it interesting. The thing that will be interesting is that Michigan is playing against the only other qb in the nation that is worse at passing than Denard and thats T Bop. I have read a couple of articles here and there that this game will be a blow out for michigan because Nebraska has no speed on defense and will get shredded by are run attack. Dont know how true that is but it would be great to see a 45-3 blow out! You could see the slow play by Nebraska in the Northwestern game against Kain Colter. Go Blue!


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 6:38 p.m.

+1 ... someone else who recognizes that Denard is not the quickest out of the blocks. That's why defenders who are decent in containing in space are able to bottle Robinson up. But put three or four steps under Denard and nobody is going to catch him. They might run him out of bounds if they get the right angle -- and that's one thing defenses learned to do last year ... respect the speed and run the proper angles. Rainy, cold and blustery, huh? Hmmm ... not sure that favors one or the other team, frankly. Their running attack is not shabby. I think, once again, it comes down to the play at the line of scrimmage. Which team is able to move the other. I'm hoping for a good, solid, well-fought game. I love the idea of a Nebraska/Michigan rivalry.


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 1:56 p.m.

Denard isn't running because he is banged up. That happens when he runs all the time. It isn't Al Borges's fault. All he is trying to do is save him from getting killed out there. My God, Michigan "faithful" make me sick sometimes. It seams everyone knows more about the team than the coaches who are with them everyday!!


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 1:30 p.m.

Will we ever see Denard run wild again? How quickly some people forget that we didn't see Denard "run wild" during the 2nd half of LAST YEAR either, because the DC's figured out how to stop the 1 dimensional offense that we had. I would much rather have Denard run for "only" 800-1000 yards per season and have a 10-2 record, than have him go for 1700 yards and end up 7-6 with many blowout losses.


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 7:43 p.m.

The point was that DC's did not stop DR because he's 1 dimensional, I believe that's what duel (2) threat QB means, and 75+ yards rushing for a QB is good. Also, M was more balanced last year, check it out. All DC's jobs are to prepare a defensive plan to stop the opposing offenses, and the focus is usually on stopping it's primary weapon. They did that successfully, but not because DR is 1 dimensional. Last year DR became the best duel-dimensional QB in NCAA history, check that out too.


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 5:21 p.m.

Tally10, Denard is/was not 1 dimensional, but our offense sure was last year. Denard averaged EXACTLY 100 yards per game our last 8 games, and yet we went 2-6 ... so I guess having someone average 100 yds per game is not as good as you claim, in our case anyway. Not only did we go 2-6, but we lost those 6 games by an average of 21 PTS ... and we only averaged 15.6 pts. in those 6 games ... so having a 1 dimensional offense with Denard gaining 100 yds per game wasn't so great was it ?


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 5:13 p.m.

@Tally10 ... so what's your point? That Denard was or was not the single offensive engine of last year's team? You seem to suggest that by saying "The better teams beat M as a whole." Meaning what? That better defenses beat Michigan's offense as a whole, not just Denard? But how is that possible since last year Denard was so "dynamic" and "unstoppable?"


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 4:25 p.m.

How quickly some people forget, averaging 100 yards rushing against good teams is a good thing. The better teams beat M as a whole. Check the stats, DR was not one dimensional last year ( 2500/1700 ). A QB that pass only is one dimensional, or run only ( which are none ). That's football, you defend what the other team is doing.


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 4:22 p.m.

Exactly. Denard's legs will be a FAR more potent threat when there are other elements to the offense opposing defenses must respect. Last year they had one worry ... Denard ... and we saw defending one element isn't hard for good defenses. But two or three credible threats? The moment defenses pull resources to honor those threats then Denard's legs come back into the equation in a ferocious way. Why people can't see the simple and plain logic of this mystifies me.


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 12:10 p.m.

"Rivals reports Robinson's time as 4.38 seconds — that's world-class speed... " Article on GRCC's Dorsey says he runs a 4.2. How do you label that? Can it be? Raw speed is not as important as how/if it's used. The important thing to me is both their D's practice against it, so probably its a draw.


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 5:32 a.m.

Even thou Denard is faster, he's at a tremendous disadvantage. It's clear Mr. Borges has taken away Denard's laceless shoes and replaced them with a similar pair made of cement. 10 pounds each. Will we every see Denard run wild again? Please Al, Give Denard back the original pair. Just for the next two games. One last memory of a thing of beauty. We'll never see Barry run wild again. Just give us the kid from Florida before he's gone.


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 5:16 a.m.

Re: "With the No. 20 Wolverines (8-2, 4-2) and No. 17 Cornhuskers (8-2, 4-2) set to square off at noon Saturday on ESPN..." Those respective rankings are only according to AP - in other words, it's what sports writers say. ALL the other polls, including BCS, put Nebraska at either 16 or 18 - Michigan at either 18 or 19. In other words, the spread in rankings is closer between Michigan and Nebraska. Doesn't matter except for the presumption that sports writers are the 'most quoted' when it comes to their own importance. The real question is: will Michigan's entire offensive unit start clicking? I mean: putting it all together for 60 minutes of football. Denard is the one everyone will be looking at, but it's the offense as a whole which must come up with a "best game so far." Also, I think it's equally important to look at the matchup between Michigan's defense and Nebraska's. Few people remember early November 1997: when Michigan faced a surging Penn State offense. Many predicted a close game or that Michigan would finally see its first loss (of that glorious season). I took the trouble to look up Michigan's and PSU's defense rankings. Michigan's D was at the top of the rankings: PSU's was: 69th in the country. I predicted a 35-7 win for Michigan and everyone laughed: until Michigan won: 34 to 8. So lets see it: what are the Corn Huskers (odd name, eh?) doing defensively so far? How does that compare with Michigan's D?


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 11:55 p.m.

No doubt, if Denard and Martinez had a foot race, Denard would win. But obviously, that doesn't matter. What only matters is the final score, which will be: Michigan 21 Nebraska 17.

Matt Patercsak

Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 2:34 a.m.

man!! that would be awesome!

Matt Patercsak

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 11:34 p.m.

i think we are going to see Denard more mobile that we have in past weeks. Nebraska struggled against the mobility of Persa and Cain Colter of Northwestern, I expect to see a lot of that speed option look that we saw against illinois with hopkins coming in motion and fitz with the zone read inside. Nebraska has never played against Denard, I think that his speed is a major priority for them, which frees up toussaints inside running ability. this should be a very good game


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 10:55 p.m.

Unless they agree to run a race before the game, we won't know who's faster. And it's really not that important. I just hope Denard has a good game as a QB. Let Fitz, Vince & Co. worry about the rushing yards. Let's have no turnovers from the QB position (for a change). We can't afford them against good teams. GO BLUE!!!


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 12:54 p.m.

Um, I read the article. How does that impact my response to your comment aimed at correcting Denard and enlightening us all? Denard was speaking in the abstract. Look at the two on the field and make an abstract comparison of separate events. We didn't need you to make the obvious point that they would not actually race each other.


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 12:49 a.m.

@edjasbord, Save you wisdom (?) for Denard. If you even bothered to read the article above, you'd see his comment: "You can see it for yourself on Saturday."


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 11:55 p.m.

Wow, thanks for clearing that up for us. We actually thought we would be able to tell for certain whish is faster during the game. Both teams were going to decide to put their offenses on the field at the same time. you really should feel like you imparted some wisdom to the rest of us.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 10:06 p.m.

To really find out how fast Denard is, we need to make the trip to the St. Borgas Nunnery and speak to Father Al: Q: Father Al, since Denard has been in your nunnery, has he gotten faster or slower? A: Denard is a gifted member of the nunnery. But, alas, here at St. Borgas, we are far more focused on developing a different kind of that has the proper pocket presence and can only use his feet as a last resort. Q: Some followers think that Denard is not being encouraged to use his natural, God-given, game-breaking, open-field ability to create a gain where a loss was likely. Is that true? A: Oh, misguided one. There is only one who can create, and that is the tailback of choice........... Q: What of Nebraska? What of Oh-ho-ho State? They have no QB in a nunnery.... A: My son, my son, my son.......only a Michigan Man can be as fast as we will him to be.


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 2:58 p.m.

"Oh-ho-ho State" cracked me up.


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 5:25 a.m.



Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 9:55 p.m.

Both QBs are evenly matched. I heard second hand the Martinez has been slowed by an ankle injury. It is not serious enough to put him on the sideline but it has reduced his speed. Denard's legs are fine. His wrist or hand inury is relatively minor, but we shall see. Sounds like the intensity is there at practice for the Maize and Blue. That bodes well. Michigan now has one big advantage: Playing on the home field! I think they have some big lockeroom goals they want to meet, one of which would be winning ALL home games this season, winning 10 games and the count down clock game against the Buckeyes.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 11:30 p.m.

If memory serves, he had that ankle injury last year as well. It must be a weak spot for him.


Wed, Nov 16, 2011 : 9:20 p.m.

Oh, clearly Martinez is faster since Borges is Michigan's OC. :-)


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 2:42 p.m.

@Mick - "Huh? What am I missing here?" I was being facetious. I know others feel Borges is hampering the offense. Personally I think what Borges is doing is necessary and right. Denard's days of "running wild" are over unless defenses know they have to respect other elements of the offense. Last year they learned they did not so they focused on Denard and shut him down. Defenses are focusing on Denard again this year and forcing Michigan to win using something other than Denard's legs. We're 8-2. Toussaint has emerged as a credible threat. Kevin Koger is a threat.


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 1:59 p.m.

I agree TruBlu. This was the only win in Denard's campaign where someone else carried the team. Al Borges is working with what he has and why the heck would he run the QB 50% of the time. RR was way too predictable and it didn't work late in the season!


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 5:38 a.m.

Is that the smell of a "lets fire Borges" campaign? Haven't we had enough ad hoc campaigns against Michigan coaches already? Borges has been clear about this: in order for Denard to develop into a decent dual threat: he's got to be put in a place where he learns NOT to run off on every darned play. The last time anyone checked: the win against Illinois was 31-14, with OTHER players taking on the load and scoring points - even when Denard was OUT of the game. If that doesn't bespeak success for Borges's plan, then nothing will - at least not in the minds of Spread Only advocates.


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 1:54 a.m.

Huh? What am I missing here?


Thu, Nov 17, 2011 : 12:32 a.m.

As usual, Don, you are spot on! (And Borges is faster than BOTH of them). SPREAD the faith, Theo