Michigan Football: Why Wolverines Are Better off without Denard Robinson
Denard Robinson's career with the Michigan Wolverines is over, and that couldn't be better news for head coach Brady Hoke's squad moving forward.
Robinson's time with Michigan ended in a disappointing fashion, as the Wolverines signal-caller not only lost his final game against the Ohio State Buckeyes, he was also unable to finish the game as a result of an injury.
While with Michigan, Robinson was never able to live up to the lofty expectations of the program's fans. There was no Heisman Trophy for Robinson, nor did he ever achieve the ultimate goal of winning a national championship.
Ineffectiveness and inconsistency always plagued Robinson, as he never proved to be anything more than a great athlete who just happened to play quarterback. Robinson never fully realized his potential as a pocket passer, relying mostly on his legs to win games.
Clearly, that wasn't a recipe for success with the Wolverines.
The future is bright at quarterback, however, with junior Devin Gardner and the team's newest recruit, Shane Morris. But it's Gardner who appears to be the most likely candidate to take Robinson's job next season.
Gardner is a stark contrast to Robinson in a few ways.
Gardner doesn't possess the same athleticism that Robinson does. Sure, Gardner won't break big plays with his legs, but as I said before, that was never a successful approach for this program.
But what Gardner does bring to the Wolverines is an ability to make great throws standing in the pocket and on the run. His stronger arm is also a huge plus for the Wolverines, helping to stretch the field for his team.
Gardner's great accuracy was evidenced by his 63 percent completion rate this season in limited time on the field and the eight touchdowns to four picks Gardner threw in just 90 pass attempts in 2012.
With more experience, Gardner will only get better in that aspect of his game.
Will Michigan be better off with Gardner behind center?
By comparison, Robinson completed just 53 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns and nine picks in 166 pass attempts. There's no doubt who the better passer is in this instance.
Despite having inferior speed to Robinson, Gardner still ran for seven touchdowns this season, the same amount as Robinson. Even with less athleticism than Robinson, Gardner can still move well in the pocket and avoid pressure to turn a potential negative play into a positive one.
Next season, opposing defenses will have to game-plan for the Wolverines to throw the ball with success, a fact that hasn't been a reality since Robinson has been behind center. That fact alone should help Michigan's rushing attack, as team's will now have to respect the pass.
Having Gardner behind center will drastically change the dynamic of Michigan's offense, and it should make for a more balanced offensive attack in 2013. It remains to be seen if that is what puts Michigan over the top as a national powerhouse in the coming years, but it couldn't be any worse than the Robinson era.
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