Posts Tagged ‘Quarterback’

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Denard Robinson Should’ve Been Left Off the All-America Team

12.13.10

Awards, much like polls and surveys, tend to be way too subjective for my taste and the Football Writers Association of America’s All-America team is no exception.

Though I have to say, as a Michigan fan, I’m stoked to report that UM quarterback phenom Denard Robinson made the first team, which is a who’s-who of the best college football players in the nation.  What strikes me as a bit of a slap in the face, however, is that he wasn’t selected in the position that he plays.  Instead he was honored as a running back, alongside Heisman runner-up LaMichael James from Oregon.

Now, stats-wise, it makes total sense: Robinson was the third leading rusher in the nation.  Yes, you read that right.  Not the third leading rusher amongst quarterbacks, but among all running backs in the Football Bowl Subdivision.  In fact, he was only 6 yards shy of the second-leading rusher and less than 50 yards away from topping the aforementioned James.  To say that Robinson had a banner year is being modest.

But he didn’t accomplish these record stats as a running back. He did them as quarterback. True, he clearly runs.  A lot.  And does it remarkably well.  Just going by his numbers, it seems like he could be a  tailback on nearly any team in the country.  But that’s not his position at Michigan.  Nor was it his position in high school.  It’s not how Rich Rodriguez recruited him nor is it what he intended to play when he came to Ann Arbor.

He’s a quarterback. Just because he puts up better numbers than almost all other designated running backs in the country doesn’t mean that his position changes anymore than a wide receiver who’s excellent at running reverses becomes a running back simply because of that facet of his game.

Normally I’d say that, regardless, it’s an honor to be named to the All-America first team even if it’s for the wrong position.  And I do think that he did enough this season to warrant such recognition.  The reality is that running is an increasingly integral part of a college quarterback’s game, so to acknowledge his impressive talent but then essentially claim that it’s not part of his role as QB1 is to basically say that he’s not great enough at his position for the honor — so why bend the justification?

If the voters felt that he was not quite good enough all-around to make it on the team as a quarterback, they should’ve just left him off the list.

Denard Robinson is the starting quarterback at the University of Michigan.  He should be recognized as such.

Image courtesy of Mike Pettigano’s Flickr Photostream.

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Why Rich Rodriguez Doesn’t Exude Confidence but I’m Optimistic About Michigan Football Anyway

08.30.10

I’ve supported Rich Rodriguez as Michigan’s head coach since he was hired in 2008 and I still do after all the strife and all the losses we’ve endured for the the past two seasons.

He’s going into his third and most likely decisive year where his job is on the line if you talk to any of the fans.  For those who haven’t liked his hiring since the get-go, even going 9-3 and beating Ohio State wouldn’t be enough to win them over — although, it probably would satiate them for a little bit longer.

Personally, I’m hoping for 8-4 and wins over Notre Dame, Michigan State, and Ohio State.  A tall order, I admit, but I think it’s all well within the realm of likelihood — even if OSU is ranked number two in the preseason AP poll.

Despite giving Rodriguez the leeway to build the program his way, after suffering a couple, rough rebuilding seasons, I can see how hard it is for others to get behind the guy.  And his soundbites don’t exactly instill confidence in the fans.

Rivals.com:

“We made progress last year, but the problem was we had so many dang turnovers toward the end of the year,” Rodriguez says. “We had too many turnovers and negative-yardage plays. Hopefully we’ll get better.

AP:

I know eventually what we’ll have, but in the first game or two, with all of the nerves out there and all that kind of stuff, big Johnny (Falk) will probably have to bring a couple extra pairs of pants in case they make a little mess,” said Rodriguez, referring to the team’s equipment manager.

Sporting News:

We have a pretty good idea already in how our rotation is going to be with the quarterbacks,” Rodriguez told reporters Monday. “But it’s going to be a feel thing. I’m not going to say this guy is going to play 20 plays and this guy is going to play 15 plays. It’s going to be a feel thing and we’ll get them all ready.”

Detroit News:

Every day I come in and wonder, ‘OK, who’s going to separate themselves?‘” Rodriguez said Wednesday after practice. “So that’s been an ongoing process. With three guys, this is probably as unique a situation I’ve been in.

“It may seem frustrating and everybody wants to know (who will start), but as long as they get better every day and eliminate the mistakes tomorrow that they had today or yesterday, then we’ll be OK. That’s the big thing. We don’t want to keep making the same mistakes, and they haven’t been for the most part, but there are some days they do better than others.”

Not exactly what you want to hear from the head coach just days before the kickoff of the 2010 season.

Michigan hasn’t had a bona fide QB1 since Chad Henne graduated after the 2007-2008 season, leaving the big question: who will be taking the snaps?  And when the coach, having had two, full recruiting years under his belt, still can’t make a decision on who will be leading the team down the field on offense less than a week before the first game, it doesn’t exactly exude confidence.

When it comes to the quarterback position, three pretty decent players doesn’t not one great player make.  Actually, that’s never the case, but at least when it comes to other positions like linebacker, wide receiver, or running back, you can fill in by committee without changing much in the way of the game plan — but, when the director of the offense keeps changing, the challenge would be in maintaining consistency throughout the group.

Perhaps he has a plan and feels confidence in his signal callers to the point that they all could lead the time and win.  I don’t know.  But I do know that I’m truly optimistic for this season. I can’t wait for this Saturday’s game against Connecticut. Maybe our three quarterbacks will all gel into some never-before-seen, three-headed QB behemoth.  (Like I said: I’m optimistic.)  And our top recruits on defense will jump into their new roles and play well beyond their years.  And we’ll hit that 8-4 mark and go back to a bowl game.

And we’ll finally beat the Buckeyes for the first time since 2003.

I’ve never coached a team of any kind, but I imagine installing a brand-new system into a program with a bunch of inexperienced players that weren’t recruited for your schemes would come with a fairly long learning curve.  I’ve been patient with RichRod this whole time and I remain so to this day.

Because at the end of it all, it’s Michigan FootballThe maize and blue. And while it’s easy to sit here and say that I’d have done things differently and that we should have hired so-and-so instead and we should never have switched to the spread offense, I’d rather just get behind the school and the team that I’ve loved for so many years and look forward to getting back to our winning ways rather than waste my time wallowing in the losses of the past couple years.

It’s gotta turn around at some point.  It might as well be now.

Image courtesy of Anthony Gattine’s Flickr Photostream

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Vick Gives Back to the Kids

09.08.09

Michael Vick took a page out of the Barack Obama playbook and spoke to his own set of students at Philadelphia charter school today.  And, as far as I can tell from the article, there were no boycotts or protests or screams of socialism.  Which means that a convicted felon received less flack for speaking to students that our own elected president.

Yay, America!

Vick continues on his public penance parade by being an example of what not to do to the youth of America – or at least, in this case, the youth of Philly charter schools.  I just can’t seem to really get behind this whole act, though.  His entire apology and reasoning for running an illegal dogfighting ring feels like he just copied some words from a Rehab for Dummies book and copied and pasted it into his own speech.

The problem with that is, you don’t just accidentally fall into running an entire for-profit, animal abuse enterprise because your buddy takes you to one dog fight.  This isn’t heroin.  This isn’t falling in with the wrong crowd and getting addicted because your buddy pressured you into taking a hit.  Vick had fun.  Vick made money.  Vick wasn’t seeing the dogs as sentient beings that felt pain or deserved our respect.  Was this really a case of Vick being more of a follower than a leader, though?  Hard to say when you’re the one running the whole thing.  Could his friends have done things to the dogs that Vick himself might not have done?  Sure, anything’s possible.

And I’m sure there was some peer pressure from those involved not to shut down something that was profitable – or, worse, simply entertaining – for them.  But this is not just some random guy here with no leadership skills.  Vick is an NFL quarterback – the unequivocal leader on the football field, in charge of piloting a platoon of men in concert down the field with the same collective goal – claims that his transgressions were due to his weaknesses as a leader.  Vick could lead just fine, fine enough to be – at one time – the highest paid player in the NFL.  They’re nice words and I’m sure they ring true to many an immature kid coping with the pressures and evils of adolescence but they sure sound hollow to me.

The reality is that Vick actually gets it half right before he pawns the responsibility off to his friends and following the wrong crowd.

“I didn’t choose to go the right way, which led to 18 months in prison, which was the toughest time of my life,” he said… “[B]ut I had another side to me, and it was a dark side.”

There.  His choice.  His dark side.  I’d rather he’d have stuck to this explanation than that of simply following the actions of some bad people.  It’s not like he got caught betting on dogfighting; he RAN an entire ring.  For years.

“It’s really a test of our character as individuals about being good to those who are less powerful,” he said.

There we go.  I suppose it’s better than nothing and Vick does touch on some things that sound truthful on paper.  At the end of the day, Vick squandered his influence as a role model.  He’s now a cautionary tale that money, fame, popularity and power are all illusions that can’t compete with simply being a good person.