Michigan Football: 3 Players Not Pulling Their Weight

Jonathan IrwinContributor IIOctober 29, 2012

Where has Fitzgerald Toussaint been all season?
Where has Fitzgerald Toussaint been all season?Eric Francis/Getty Images

During Saturday's loss to Nebraska, no one stepped up for the Michigan Wolverines.

Defensively, they were great. They held the Cornhuskers to just 326 yards and 23 points. However, it was the first time in five games that the Wolverines had given up more than 20 points.

The real problem is offense. And with Denard Robinson, you'd think that wouldn't be the case. But maybe he's the problem. Especially when you see that Michigan hasn't scored a touchdown in their last two games.

With the loss to Nebraska in the books, both teams are tied at 3-1 in the Legends Division. With Northwestern and Ohio State looming, the clock is ticking on Michigan's Big Ten hopes.

At some point, Brady Hoke's weapons need to step up and start pulling their weight.

Denard Robinson

There's no doubt Denard Robinson is a dynamic weapon for the Wolverines. With 1319 yards passing and 946 rushing, it's easy to see how good he can be.

But when it comes to Robinson, it's also easy to see how bad he can be.

He already has nine interceptions. Besides Nebraska, every time Michigan has faced a once-ranked opponent, he's thrown a pick—including four against Notre Dame.

He has 15 touchdowns on the season, but the Wolverines haven't scored one in their last two games.

Robinson's only completing 53.6 percent of his passes. This is the second year in a row that his accuracy has dropped.

If Michigan wants a chance at the Big Ten Championship, Robinson has to decide what he wants to be.

Does he want to be a running back? Does he want to be a pocket passer? For that matter, he could even play wide receiver if he wanted to.

Denard Robinson is the kind of player that's good at a lot of things, but great at only so many.

He needs to step up and play the game he wants to play. Ideally, that means a game that cuts down on his mistakes, while putting as many points on the board as possible.

Fitzgerald Toussaint

If Michigan wants to run an elite rushing attack, they need more than Robinson. When your leading rusher is the quarterback, the defense knows who to target.

The Wolverines have to become more dynamic on offense, and that means diversifying their weapons.

Fitzgerald Toussaint had a great 2011. He finished the season with 1041 yards on the ground, averaging 5.5 yards per carry with nine touchdowns.

2012 has been a major step back for the junior.

Toussaint has just 321 yards on the season, averaging 3.3 yards per carry with four touchdowns.

And it's not that Toussaint is being used less in the offense. His 14 carries per game in 2012 isn't much different than his 15 carries per game in 2011.

In 2012, Toussaint has only broken 60 yards twice, and he is still without a 100-yard game.

The once-explosive tailback has become far too timid. Until he steps it up, Michigan's rushing game will continue to suffer.

Russell Bellomy

Russell Bellomy, the Wolverines backup quarterback, has had a tough go in his first season.

The redshirt freshman has completed a mere four passes on the season, despite attempting 21. He has zero touchdowns and four interceptions.

Now, no one expects Bellomy to step in and be a star, but he's got to be better than that.

Especially with Robinson's status up in the air. The starting QB left in the first half of last week's game after aggravating an old nerve issue in his arm.

If Michigan has to lean on Bellomy down the stretch, they need him to play better.

But even if Robinson comes back, it wouldn't hurt for Bellomy to step up. It would make the Wolverines all the more dangerous, putting plenty of new sets at Brady Hoke's disposal. It would allow Robinson to line up just about anywhere.

Now isn't that a scary picture.


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