Michigan Football: Denard Robinson and Others Who Must Produce for Big Ten Title
Denard Robinson and the Michigan Wolverines are not out of the Big Ten championship race yet. However, if they are going to make a late run at the title game, they will need certain players to step up their production in the following weeks.
Common themes have arisen from both of Michigan's losses this season. Among them, they have not been able to move the ball consistently either on the ground or through the air.
The Wolverines will need some help from Iowa and Michigan State in order to have a chance but they must first help themselves. A road test against Illinois and home games against Ohio State and Nebraska will require the defense to hold down potent rushing attacks.
The players on this list may not have had poor seasons to this point, but they will need to take the next step to give Michigan a chance.
Delusional fans have been calling for head coach Brady Hoke to bench the dynamic Denard Robinson. Hoke has resisted the urge, and the second-year starter needs to reward that loyalty.
Robinson's rushing ability is unparalleled among college quarterbacks. Unfortunately, his passing has been primarily responsible for two losses.
He struggled against the Michigan State Spartans and Iowa Hawkeyes completing only 26 passes out of 61 thrown. In order to find rushing lanes against the stout Ohio State and Nebraska defenses, he will need to spread them out utilizing the passing game.
Fitzgerald Toussaint exploded against the Purdue Boilermakers and firmly entrenched himself as Michigan's starting running back. As the lead back, he was able to rack up 170 yards and two touchdowns.
He struggled mightily against the Iowa Hawkeyes averaging only 3.6 yards per carry and failing to find the end zone. The lack of a running game puts pressure on Denard Robinson to produce through the air (a topic that has already been tackled).
As noted earlier, the remaining schedule for the Wolverines is difficult, and they desperately need their lead back to be efficient.
Mike Martin and his 304 pounds provide the anchor for the improved Michigan defense. He must continue to take up blockers in the middle of the line to enable other defenders to make plays.
The preseason selection for the Bednarik Award watch list also had a huge game against the Purdue Boilermakers notching two sacks and a safety. However, the Michigan defense as a whole struggled to slow down Iowa's running attack the following week.
The Wolverines have dates with two run-first teams in Nebraska and Ohio State and need the senior captain to make his presence felt in order to be successful.
Craig Roh is a player who needs to take advantage of Mike Martin's presence. The junior defensive end only has four sacks and no forced fumbles in what many thought would be a breakout season.
There is still time for him to make an impact and any growing pains from switching defensive schemes should be settled by now. Against mobile quarterbacks Taylor Martinez and Braxton Miller, Roh will need to stay disciplined if the Wolverines are going to contain them.
If he can keep these quarterbacks from getting outside and provide pressure when they drop back, Michigan will have an excellent chance to knock off both teams.
Aside from his game-winning touchdown catch against Notre Dame, wide receiver Roy Roundtree has had a disappointing season. He only has 14 receptions a year after compiling 72 catches.
The Wolverines began the season shorthanded at the position due to the year-long suspension of Darryl Stonum. It is shocking that Roundtree hasn't been able to make more plays with the increased opportunities.
The junior needs to connect with Denard Robinson over the last few weeks to give Michigan a shot at the title. His drop on MIchigan's last play against Iowa should provide all the motivation he requires.
Troy Woolfolk has struggled with injuries throughout his entire career at Michigan. He has the talent and speed to be an impact player for the Wolverines.
He battled through a broken hand and sprained ankle so far this season but believes he is back to 100 percent. He also provides versatility in the secondary since he has played both cornerback and safety.
He stepped up in the Iowa game and recorded six tackles which represents a quarter of his production this year. If the senior's leadership and impact can match his toughness over the next few weeks, the Wolverines will end their losing skid to the hated Ohio State Buckeyes.