Michigan Football: Why Denard Robinson Won't Have Spectacular Senior Season

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIAugust 28, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 03:  Denard Robinson #16 of the Michigan Wolverines throws a pass against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 3, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Even though it's his senior year, University of Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson won't have spectacular success in his final year in the Maize and Blue.

Robinson led the Wolverines to a stellar 11-2 season in 2011, but his production from his spectacular sophomore season actually fell off.

Although his passing touchdowns increased from 18 to 20, and his rushing TDs from 14 to 16, Robinson's yards per attempt passing went from 8.8 to 8.4; his accuracy from 62.5 to 55 percent.

Also, he ran for 500 fewer yards, and averaged 5.2 yards per carry compared to 6.6 in his first full year as a starter.

The downward trend in Robinson's numbers will likely continue this year, despite the stage being set for a storybook ending to his collegiate career with a generous No. 8 ranking in the AP poll.

Kicking off the year with the Alabama Crimson Tide even on a neutral field is frightening enough. Robinson simply hasn't faced such a defense during his tenure under center.

No doubt, the Wolverines will be pumped to be tested early on rather than undertake the cupcake schedule most top teams opt for early on.

Michigan will see where their football team stands. That doesn't mean they will enjoy what they come to discover.

The defense lost valuable nose tackle Mike Martin to graduation, and the defensive line is fairly shaky.

In order for Michigan to compete with the likes of Alabama, and against improved teams on the road such as Nebraska and Ohio State, Robinson will have to light it up.

That may be difficult without a viable passing game to keep opponents honest.

Last year's top receiver Junior Hemingway graduated to the NFL, and accounted for 699 of Robinson's 2074 passing yards, nearly a third.

Without Hemingway, Roy Roundtree will have to fill in and become a big-play threat.

AnnArbor.com's Nick Baumgartner reported that Roundtree had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on August 10, but he will definitely be suiting up for the crucial matchup against the Crimson Tide.

After just 19 catches last season, it remains to be seen whether Roundtree will round into form, or if Robinson will have to rely on Jeremy Gallon as his top wideout.

Gallon had an impressive 14.6-yard average on 31 receptions in 2011, but just five catches for 59 yards and no touchdowns combined in Michigan's two losses and the Sugar Bowl victory over Virginia Tech.

Not to be overlooked is the departure of All-American center David Molk, who won the Rimington Trophy as the nation's top player at the position.

Without Molk anchoring what has at times been a leaky offensive line, Robinson may have a hard time doing what he does best—running with the football.

A tougher schedule, a downgraded receiving corps, and the wear-and-tear Robinson will endure in his third full season with a high volume of carries will translate to a down year for him and the Michigan Wolverines.