Tag Archives: Denard Robinson

Shamrock Smackdown

Before I begin to shred the Shamrocks, I want to make it clear that I think Notre Dame will win this game.  As I mentioned to the other Smackdown Friday writers earlier this week, you don’t have to pick against the team you’re smacking.

Unfortunately, I don’t think the Michigan State Spartans have what it takes to win this game.  That doesn’t mean I won’t be rooting for them.

It damn sure doesn’t mean I’ll be pulling for Notre Dame in any way.  I could never.

There are so many ways to do this.  Where should I begin?  I’ll start with a couple easy ones.

Charlie Weis.  That’s it.  That’s the joke.

Or, better yet his predecessor.  No, Kent Baer doesn’t count.  You ready for a name you never thought you’d hear again?  Remember Tyrone Willingham?

If it weren’t for Bob Davie’s leftovers winning 10 games in 2002, Willingham would’ve been a total failure at Notre Dame, instead of just a failure.

On second thought, Kent Baer does count.  This way I can bring up George O’Leary, the man who resigned five days after being hired because it turned out he had falsified his resume years ago and just never made the corrections.

I’m actually not even hating, here.  First of all, shoutout to ol’ Georgy boy for pulling a savage move in a cutthroat business and getting away with it for so many years.

Secondly, if you’re Notre Dame, you can’t be expected to look into all that stuff.  At that point, O’Leary’s resume had been read over and approved by so many people that it would never have occurred to you that he’d fabricated a part of it.

How about a happier time?

I will forever cherish the vivid memory of watching the Irish get Denarded in the first ever game under the lights at the Big House.

Denard Robinson was nothing short of magical that night, confounding the Irish defense with his unparalleled athleticism.

This performance transformed Robinson’s career.  As we found out, though, Robinson wasn’t really even that good.  Notre Dame’s defense was simply atrocious that night.

Let me put it to you overzealous golden domers like this:

The last time you played for a championship, you got steamrolled by the Tide while your star player became the poster boy for an awful online hidden identity show on MTV.

One of your best receivers in recent memory was so fed up after playing for your program that he switched to baseball.  Can anyone spell Samardzjia without looking, by the way?

From 1994 to the 2006-07 season, you played in nine bowl games.  All of them were loses.

Go ahead and win this one for the Gipper because if you don’t, your season might as well be over.

So, yeah I’m picking Notre Dame to win the game and hoping I’m wrong.

Go Green.  Go White.  Kick that Irish ass this weekend.

Oh, and Rudy sucks.

E-mail Mitch at mitch.gatzke@campuspressbox.com or follow him on Twitter @GreatGatzke.

Photo: Wikipedia

Comment on this and every article by becoming a Campus Pressbox Insider.

And while you’re at it, subscribe to our podcasts.

The Departing Quarterback

With the end of the season, so must come change.

With the University of Michigan the biggest change to come is at the quarterback position. Two year starter Devin Gardner has graduated leaving a vacancy at the most important position on the field. Much maligned for most of last year, many fans are happy to finally see him leave the school.

But the question is, is what remains behind any better?

Fair or not, Devin Gardner was blamed for all the loses that Michigan had in the last two years. Even the one game that he didn’t start somehow became his fault that they lost. However if there was a better option Brady Hoke would have gone to him.

What remains is Shane Morris who was battered and beaten in his one start this season. Between this season and his start in the previous year’s bowl game, he was less than impressive. The majority of his throws were simple checkdown throws which is less than inspiring. Behind Morris there sits Russell Bellomy who has completed approximately the same amount of passes to his own team as to the other team. All that remains are two freshmen in Alex Malzone and Wilton Speight who have yet to see time on the field.

Suddenly a fifth year senior calling the shots doesn’t seem like such a bad thing.

That’s the curse of many quarterbacks: they aren’t appreciated until after they’re gone.

Was Devin Gardner the best quarterback ever? No, not by a long shot but nor was he the worst. He was often maddeningly inconsistent and made questionable decisions with the ball but he never gave up and always played through injury.

Some players will ride the bench with even the slightest injury. Devin Gardner played most of the second half of the 2013 Ohio State game with a broken foot. Not only that but he almost pulled off the win. That’s the kind of player that I want captaining my team.

Gardner isn’t the only Michigan quarterback to go through this though. Denard Robinson went through these same trials and tribulations.

Like him, hate him or think he should have been a wide receiver, Denard Robinson was a special player. He’s one of only a few players to throw and run for 200 yards in a game. He briefly held the record for most rushing yards in a season by a quarterback with 1702. Yet people thought he should have been moved to play wide receiver.

The guy people thought should play quarterback instead? Devin Gardner. Funny how that works.

Very rarely is a quarterback properly appreciated while he is at school. It’s happened with all the previous quarterbacks at Michigan and it will probably happen with whomever Jim Harbaugh picks to be his starter.


My Cleveland Sports Weekend v3

Dear Diary,

“I am alone. I am utterly alone. My whole Sports Life is a dark room.”

Yes, I am channeling my inner Lydia Deetz today, but can you blame me?

First of all, the weekend started off Friday night with the NR Rangers falling to Bay 34-19. ZERO second half points!? The amazing junior “Run DMC” (you remember – DeMario McCall? Future Buckeye if I’m lucky?) did what he could, rushing for 138 yards and two touch downs but it wasn’t enough. They just got out-played and it was brutal to watch.

You’d think another tOSU Buckeye romp on Saturday would help me feel better but, no. Crushing Rutgers 56-17 only makes me mad all over again that we lost that dang Va-Tech game.
Too many one-loss teams to even thing about playoffs and yet, that’s what I’m doing. Wallowing in the sadness that comes from losing a game early in the season.

So Sunday comes along and I thought, “Wow, Browns are at Jax. The Jags have not played well this season; this should be an easy game.” Uh, not so fast there chickadee… we got our butts handed to us by a team that was desperately trying to get their first win of the season and, while they look bad on paper, still have enough talent to fight for yards.

I’m already hearing the Manzealots screaming for Johnny and, while I agree Hoyer wasn’t at his best, those people are CRAZY! Last week vs Steelers he had 217 passing yards and we scored 31 points.  Yesterday vs Jaguars he had 215 passing yards and we scored 6 points.  You know what the difference was? Turnovers and Rushing Yards!  A mere 62 yards on the ground? And we’re a Running Team? OY!

picture from www.nflrush.com
picture from www.nflrush.com

And if that isn’t bad enough, if simply getting smashed by an 0-6 team isn’t humiliating enough, we gave up 127 yards to Denard Robinson! Yes, the same Michi-scum my Buckeyes faced just last year, QB turned RB, That Guy! While I love seeing former Buckeye Whitner taking down Denard, it makes me crazy I have to see #16 at all anymore! Oy AGAIN!

The biggest hurdle I see, diary, is the Center position. I know I was all Patty Positive last week when Alex Mack got hurt and Greco came in, but it seemed, well, seamless. We moved the ball, did what we wanted, and kicked Steeler butt. This week however, was a very different story. CLEARLY, the defensive line for the Jaguars has been underappreciated.  And CLEARLY we undervalued what a great Center means to a football team. We haven’t had to worry about that position in so long that now everyone has to learn what I tried to explain during the offseason when Mack got his fat contract: The offense is Centered around the Center! Not only is he responsible for getting the QB the ball correctly and without the QB worrying about it, but he’s basically unblocked by the defense so he steps back and looks to the A or B gap to see who needs help. This is NOT something Greco can pick up in just one week.  I’m hopeful that Alex will be back in Berea to visit this week and will take Greco under his wing for some veteran coaching, tricks of the trade, something!

Heavy Sigh. And so my week without a Victory Monday commences.  I’m sure, diary, that by Friday, I’ll be cheerful again, rooting for my teams.  But for now, I shall simply wallow in the unhappiness that comes from my Sports Life being a Dark Room.  I know I’m being totally melodramatic here but I did warn you that I was channeling Lydia. And since Halloween is so near, it seems fitting, don’t ya think?


Respectfully (and Depressingly) Submitted,

Cleveland Kate

Are the Michigan Wolverines "Back"?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this question posed in the past few years and I’m still not sure exactly what people mean by it. What is the status quo that Wolverine fans are yearning for? I was under the impression that your goal should never be to recite the history books, but to write an even better version yourself. I wish I knew what we’re all trying to get “back” to.
Could it be 1997 and a share of the National Championship or is it 2004-07 and three Rose Bowl Game losses? Old timers surely conjure up memories of when the legendary Bo Schembechler patrolled the sidelines (not quite as violently as Woody Hayes I might add). But, I think a good amount of fans feel the same way I do. I’m simply trying to forget that Rich Rodriguez ever came to Ann Arbor while permanently erasing the 2008-2010 seasons from memory.
He was touted as a new college football visionary with his “pro-style” offense. His West Virginia teams lit up scoreboards weekly. People apparently didn’t notice that opposing teams were doing the same.
First of all, “pro-style” is what THEY were calling it. I happen to find that term, at least when applied to whatever Michigan ran during his tenure, downright inflammatory. Just look at the quarterbacks.
Say what you will about Chad Henne’s NFL career, the dude killed it while at U of M then got drafted. Enter Rodriguez. Ryan Mallett was originally recruited by Michigan, where he sat the bench for a season before being chased away by Rodriguez and transferring to Arkansas. It’s not merely a coincidence he was taken by the New England Patriots in the NFL Draft. They’ve got recent experience turning a guy who sort of played ball at Michigan into a pretty good quarterback *cough* Tom Brady *cough*.
But no, instead of having a guy who might actually be able to hit an open receiver forty yards downfield in the chest with a pass, Rodriguez opts for the athlete. He prefers the kid who can run circles around everyone until it is third down and time to heave up a fifty-fifty prayer. Denard Robinson put on some of the most amazing displays I will ever see on a gridiron. He also caused me anguish on a weekly basis and set back the University of Michigan’s football program for years. He has since been drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars where he now plays wide receiver and running back.
Now, Rodriguez is out in Arizona playing “First one to 70” in the Pac-12, and Brady Hoke is in. Things haven’t changed much. Why? Again, look at the quarterback.
Devin Gardner’s college football career has not been fair to him. He began as a backup to Robinson, moved to wide receiver, and then went back to fill the void at quarterback once Robinson had graduated. He is a far better pocket passer than his predecessor, but is still cut from the same cloth. And oh boy, he’s coming back for the 2014-15 season.
All great football teams are led by a quarterback; it is the nature of the game and the position. Until Michigan can get rid of the passers who are more threatening on the ground, the program will continue to flounder in mediocrity.
These issues under center are the root of the Wolverines inability to get “back” to where they once were. But the real question is: why are fans so eager to compare present teams to those from the distant past? The rhetoric surrounding this once top national program has long revolved around the history upon which it has built such high expectations.
The tone needs to change. Instead of looking to recapture past glory, the focus needs to be on the present and the future.  Nick Saban is aware that Bear Bryant set the bar quite high for Alabama coaches, but he doesn’t give a damn because he has taken that bar and raised it even further. He is doing what he can NOW.
If Michigan football can get a real quarterback and start looking forward instead of backward, then maybe they’ll get “back” to where the fans want them to be. Whatever “back” means.

Five Predictions for the New Year

It’s a new year and it’s time to either set some New Year’s resolutions or make predictions. Let’s be honest, it’s probably easier to set some predictions. Here’s five that quickly jumped into my mind.

1. Penn State’s new coach won’t last more than a season.

Any coach who accepts the Penn State job is going to realize they’ve bit off more than they can chew. While it’s an appealing job for a number of reasons (storied program, winning program, great school academically, top athletic program for the school, strong alum network), the football program has problems.

A lot of problems. Continue reading Five Predictions for the New Year

Big Ten Race Is Up for Grabs

With upsets by Iowa and Nebraska on Saturday, the Big Ten race is still up for grabs. It’s almost anyone’s guess who will play at the Dec. 3 inaugural Big Ten Championship game.

Let’s take a look at the standings.  Continue reading Big Ten Race Is Up for Grabs

Let's Get Ready for Some Big Ten Football

While we’ve already had some Big Ten football play against non-conference teams this weekend commences conference play.

Welcome Back!

The Big Ten’s landscape is different this year with its newest family member, the Nebraska Cornhuskers, new coaches and four undefeated teams–some surprises–entering October. And this is only a few of its interesting stories. More will unfold throughout the season as crushing defeats take place, season-ending injuries and unhinged coaches.

But for now, here’s a a few interesting story lines at the forefront. Continue reading Let's Get Ready for Some Big Ten Football

Big Ten’s Quarterbacks Have Talent

As college football enters its final week of non-conference preseason  play, there’s been surprises and disappointments already in the Big Ten. This week, four teams sit on AP’s Top 25 list including Wisconsin (#6), Nebraska (#9), Michigan (#22) and Illinois (#24) while Ohio State and Michigan State saw their exit.

I’ll admit I haven’t watched a lot of the Big Ten’s games other than my own team so I wondered what the four teams in the top 25 were bringing to the table. One of the contributing factors to their success is their quarterbacks. Continue reading Big Ten’s Quarterbacks Have Talent