Will Michigan offense be better without Denard?

It might be crazy to consider, but will the Michigan offense be better this season sans Denard Robinson? You know, the same Robinson who set numerous records with his ability to rack up eye-popping statistical days? BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart and Brent Yarina discuss the topic in this post, and their answers may surprise some.

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Question: Will the Michigan offense be better now that Denard Robinson is gone?

Tom: It’s a funny question, isn’t it? To even think the attack could be better with one of the NCAA football’s all-time great players gone seems absurd. But, I think it’s true. We received glimpses of 2013 last season, when Devin Gardner assumed command after Robinson was injured at Nebraska. Now, with D-Rob gone, coordinator Al Borges has dived head first into his West Coast/pro-style playbook—which he couldn’t do with Robinson under center. As a result, Michigan’s offense will look a lot like it did under Lloyd Carr, as Gardner has more conventional quarterbacking skills to give the Wolverine attack improved run-pass balance. And, Gardner still has more than enough athletic ability to improvise, if needed. Now, Michigan needs the personnel around Gardner to step up, as there are questions everywhere.

[ RELATED: Watch Michigan spring game highlights | Get Dienhart's reaction ]

Brent: Yes, definitely. Devin Gardner features all the qualities that this coaching staff wants under center. As exciting and productive as Denard Robinson was, he didn’t fit what Al Borges and company wanted to do as an offense. If nothing else, Gardner will bring more consistency to a unit that’s routinely torched inferior foes and struggled vs. top-tier competition the past few seasons. The reason for the dramatic peaks and valleys was Robinson’s ability to run all over weaker teams – something he wasn’t able to do against equal defenses. No, Gardner isn’t the runner Robinson was, but there’s a similar gap, if not a bigger one, between Gardner and Robinson as passers. And let’s be honest, it’s not like Gardner can’t run himself; he’s an athlete who will hurt defenses on the ground and through the air. While Gardner and Michigan need someone to emerge out of the backfield, in Jeremy Gallon, Drew Dileo and Devin Funchess, they should be OK in the passing game.

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Show Comments (8 Comments)
8 Post Your Comment
Gregg Henson on 4/16/2013 @ 12:13pm EDT Said:

FYI, Robinson hurt his elbow.

Dave on 4/16/2013 @ 1:06pm EDT Said:

How is it that when OSU returns almost their entire offense (including a Heisman finalist QB) and will be in their second year running the spread these guys say that OSU won’t have a better offense than last season. Now Michigan replaces its QB and is expecting to run a completely new offense for the first time they jump on the bandwagon and tell everyone they will have a better offense than last year….really?

Gregg Henson on 4/16/2013 @ 1:42pm EDT Said:

Of course it will be better, it was awful last year!

Kevin on 4/16/2013 @ 4:57pm EDT Said:

Devin can’t run the ball? All he has to do is fall forward with it and he picks up 5 yards.

Doug on 4/17/2013 @ 10:09am EDT Said:

Dave, Michigan beats NW at home on a hail mary pass, now everyone thinks Gardner is good. He lost to the only good teams he played in OSU and SC. We’ll see how well he does with no running game and maybe one decent receiver.

Kelly on 4/17/2013 @ 1:24pm EDT Said:

Gardner was a 4 or 5 star QB on all the services, and that means something. I would also not assume “no running game” and “one decent receiver.” (Ever hear of Mr. Green from Virginia?) The O line is getting deeper with each class, and is still led by Mr. Lewan, and they will plow the road for Gardner and friends.

Doug on 4/17/2013 @ 9:38pm EDT Said:

Kelly, nobody cares about stars. Wasn’t Will Campbell a 5 star? Keep thinking a true freshman RB and only one receiver will mean a great offense. Denard created so many plays just being on the field, and Michigan’s defense is also suspect.

kkeys81 on 4/18/2013 @ 9:11am EDT Said:

Will Michigan’s offense be better this year? As a whole, there is no question about it. First, Denard was basically a running back playing QB. If an opponent could contain him and force him to throw, then the games were basically over. He did however have some “big play” throws to win games, but that was more of the receivers making a great play. I, being a a die hard Michigan fan, will not miss Denard. (he was a big play maker, but as a fan… stressful to watch) Second, Gardner is just as good as a runner as Denard, if not better. If he was put in the same spread offense for four years you would see similar numbers. Although Gardner would have a much higher completion percentage. therefore more passing yards and less rushing yards. In 2013-14 Gardner should have a great amount of success if his o-line can pull things together as a whole. The depth at WR, RB, TE are as good as they have been since the Carr era and having been under Borges for three years now, the sky is the limit. As a whole, team 134’s offense headed by Gardner will be what Michigan fans have been chomping at the bit to see. Go Blue!

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