Alabama head coach Nick Saban knows how big his season opener is against Michigan in Cowboys Stadium on Saturday night.
Michigan is a dangerous football team, and considering Saban is replacing an All-Star team's worth of starters on the defensive side of the football, that danger is magnified with the presence of dual-threat star Denard Robinson at quarterback.
Robinson's ability isn't lost on Saban. According to AL.com, Saban said:
Offensively, they have probably as significant a player as we've played against maybe since Cam Newton in terms of the quarterback position, in terms of what he can do in the game, in the offense and how the offense is sort of built around and features him as a player.
That's lofty praise coming from Saban.
He's right in the sense that Michigan's offense revolves around the quarterback just like Auburn's revolved around Newton during the Tigers' national title run in 2010.
Opposing defenses always have to be wary of what Robinson is doing in the backfield, which leads to more open receivers and blown assignments. Both Robinson and Newton use their athletic ability to exploit blown assignments, which is why they are successful.
But that's where the comparisons stop.
While both players are dual-threat quarterbacks, Newton was willing and able to run through opposing defenses, while Robinson is more prone to run around the defense.
As passers, the comparisons aren't even close. Newton completed 66.1 percent of his passes in 2010 at Auburn, while Robinson's career completion percentage is 58.3 percent.
Newton threw seven interceptions in his one season as Auburn's starter, while Robinson has averaged 13 per season in his two seasons as the full-time starter.
Saban is exactly right in comparing the two players in terms of their importance to the offense. But even though Robinson and Newton are dual-threat quarterbacks, they present unique challenges to opposing defenses.
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