Good Morning Michigan Faithful! Today we will be starting our series of position previews for the 2011 season. This series is designed not only to give you all a close look at the Wolverine stars but also to give you a look at the players who may not be in the spotlight but still play a very important role on the team.
All eyes will be on Michigan’s Denard Robinson this season after he rewrote the record book in his first season as a starter. Drob finished the season with a NCAA record 2570 passing yards and 1702 rushing yards. While many people will say that much of his success was before Big Ten play it should be noted that in B10 play Drob rushed for over 100 yards 5 times and threw for 60% and over 5 times. Now that Denard is a superstar and in the spotlight, many teams will be game planning for Drob which should pose a new challenge for him. Regardless of last season many opposing teams and fans have claimed that his success comes with his legs and he can’t throw the ball. This is garbage you don’t rack up 2570 yards at a 62.5% completion rate if you “can’t throw”. Besides the challenge of being in the spotlight, Laces will be dealing with new coaches and a new offense. Again many people doubt Drob can pick up and fit in a more pro style offense but in truth this is very similar to the offense he played in high school. Also going in his favor will be a better defense (can’t be worse), more RB involvement and more experience at the WR position will help take the burden of winning games by himself off his back.
This takes me to my next point he will have help, in addition to active players he will have a solid backup in Devin Gardner. Gardner is still one of the best recruiting triumphs of the RR era. DG is a large 6-4 210 pound QB who has been compared to “Vince Young with more touch in the passing game”. We didn’t see much from Devin last season but what we did see was pretty encouraging going 7-10 for 85 yards 1 TD and 0 INTs also including 25 rushing yards vs. Bowling Green. Those stats don’t mean too much but with a few seasons to mature he will be a great fit to replace Denard down the road. It’s also worth mentioning that DG is a perfect fit for the new “West Coast + QB Running Offense” with his tall stature and ability to move in the pocket.
Last but not least holding the clipboards will be Train robber Jack Kennedy, Steve Wilson, and the talented but raw Russell Bellomy. No offense to any of these players but I truly hope we don’t see any of these guys during the season. It is interesting though to see Solid Mobile Quarterbacks like Bellomy continue to migrate towards Michigan even with the departure of RR and the spread offense.
This group is undoubtedly one of the best groups of QBs in the B10 and in my opinion one of the top in the country. It’s rare that a team nowadays has a superstar\hero quarterback under center with an extremely talented backup that they can develop in the wings. I don’t think this group will be hurt by the departure of Tate Forcier(Wish him the best of luck..He’s going to need it) and Russell Bellomy is a nice addition for the future. I expect these QBs to be the toast of Ann Arbor this season and for years to come.