The Wolverine

November 2011

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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it happens, you will see significant progress from Denard and from his teammates. We just don���t want to wait that long. We���re a microwave society, and we want production right now. Nobody wants it more than Denard or me. But things have to mature. ���We���re all still learning and growing, with our pass protection, our decision-making, the throws, the route running. The entire offense ��� and I can���t reiterate that enough, it���s not just Denard ��� is a work in progress. ���We show some flashes of being prolific, and sometimes we don���t. That���s the way it is the first year. Sometimes you have to experience a little pain to get a lot of gain. But what we try to do is minimize the pain so that it doesn���t end up costing you a lot of wins.��� Though his numbers are not allconference worthy ��� in addition to his poor completion percentage, Robinson has thrown 11 interceptions (with 11 touchdowns) among his 155 pass attempts ��� the junior signalcaller feels he is making strides every week. ���I���m doing a better job stepping up into the pocket and making the right decisions,��� he said. ���I can always improve there, but the biggest thing is I need to do a better job getting the ball into my receivers��� hands on a consistent basis. ���I know I���ve missed opportunities and that bothers me, but I���m learning to put things behind me. I���m never going to take myself out of a game mentally. I can be mad but only for a second. I need to be a leader, bounce back and give my team a chance to be successful.��� Though he possesses tremendous instincts, Robinson admits two months into the season, even with an entire spring and fall camp, he���s still mulling over the nuances of his responsibilities. ���I���m still thinking out there on every snap, and you think about it even when you���re trying not to think about it,��� he noted. ���Once I know every step, and every read, and I don���t have to think about it, I���ll be fine. ���I know it���s going to come together. Coach tells me I have to be patient, and not worry about the missed chances and the plays I���d like back. We���d like to be undefeated, but we���re in a good spot, and everybody needs to keep learning and keep fighting.��� Utilizing The Understudy Seeing the field only in mop-up time against Eastern Michigan in week three, Gardner appeared in a more prominent role two weeks later when U-M hosted Minnesota Oct. 1. The sophomore operated under center, while Robinson took a position in the backfield. The Wolverines would run four plays out of this formation, with Gardner catching a pass (from Robinson), good for two yards, while rushing once for 15 yards. He also handed off to Robinson once while tossing a misdirection sweep to junior tailback Vincent Smith. With the Maize and Blue comfortably ahead of the Golden Gophers in the fourth quarter, Gardner earned a greater opportunity, and he would finish his day with 39 yards rushing on six attempts while completing two of five passes for 31 yards. A week later, Gardner was back at quarterback with Robinson lined up a slot receiver in a package Michigan unveiled against Northwestern. He also took three snaps along the goal line, scoring on a one-yard run, while Robinson rested an injured hand. ������ Denard Robinson���s Stats: Passing Week-By-Week Opponent Comp. Western Michigan 9 Notre Dame 11 7 Eastern Michigan San Diego State 8 Minnesota 15 Northwestern 17 Michigan State 9 Purdue 9 Season Total 85 2010 Total* 166 Att. 13 24 18 17 19 26 24 14 155 108 Pct. 69.2 45.8 38.9 47.1 79.0 65.4 37.5 64.3 54.8 65.1 *Through eight games 26��� the wolverine��� ������ November 2011 Yards 98 338 95 93 169 337 123 170 1,423 1,509 TDs 0 4 2 0 2 2 1 0 11 10 INTs 0 3 1 2 0 3 1 1 11 5 Sophomore quarterback Devin Gardner has taken on an increased role in the offense while the season has progressed, seeing action in five of U-M���s first eight games. Photo by Per Kjeldsen Each appearance provided confidence for the Michigan coaching staff, with Gardner securing more opportunities week by week. In UM���s game at Michigan State Oct. 15, he even played a snap or two in place of a healthy Robinson. Against Purdue, Gardner carried three times for nine yards while also going 1-of-2 passing with an interception. ���He���s a highly skilled kid, and we have to find situations we can use him,��� Borges said. ���If it means using him with Denard, that���s a very explosive group. If it means occasionally spotting him in certain situations, that���s what it means. But we have to find a way to get him on the field.��� The coaching staff, though, is not Rushing Week-By-Week Opponent Western Michigan Notre Dame Eastern Michigan San Diego State Minnesota Northwestern Michigan State Purdue Season Total 2010 Total* *Through eight games Att. 8 16 26 21 6 25 18 15 135 164 Yards 46 108 198 200 51 117 42 63 825 1,287 YPC 5.8 6.8 7.6 9.5 8.5 4.7 2.3 4.2 6.1 7.8 TDs 0 1 1 3 1 2 1 1 10 12

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