Michigan Wolverines Predictions With Denard Robinson
by Trevor Whenham - 9/16/2010
There is as much buzz around Michigan football now as there has been for years, and for once it’s actually positive. People aren’t talking about humiliating upsets, missing bowls for the first time in decades, NCAA violations, recruits leaving the school, or coaches on hot seats. Instead, they are talking about a team that has looked surprisingly good led by the most exciting player in the country so far. As a Michigan fan I feel a whole lot of relief about the state of things. And a lot of dread - I don’t know if I can handle more disappointment if things go south yet again. So, is Michigan going to be able to keep things rolling, or has this strong start - and the sunning play of Denard Robinson - just been a mirage? Here’s a look at both sides of that argument with some Michigan Wolverines predictions:
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Pro - Two legit wins over good teams. UConn was looked at as a serious contender in the Big East coming into the season. They have a top-level running back and a fair bit of talent. Michigan crushed them. Notre Dame has some good talent - both young and established - and a dynamic new coach, yet Michigan came out on top on the road with an impressive closing drive.
Con - Both name teams they beat might not be any good. UConn didn’t look like a serious contender in the opener, and they beat up on a meaningless opponent in the second week. They haven’t proved anything. Notre Dame will be tested more than they have been, and it’s not clear how they will hold up. They sure didn’t hold up well against the run defensively, and they showed a frightening lack of offensive depth.
Pro - Offense has been explosive. There aren’t any teams in the country that have been more dangerous on offense against Michigan - at least not one that has played well matched opponents. If the defense makes a mistake Michigan has been able to exploit it.
Con - Outside of Robinson the running game has been lousy. Robinson has been absolutely incredible, but he’s the only one that has been able to run at all. The running backs have struggled, and until they start to perform better too much attention - and abuse - will be directed at Robinson.
Pro - Robinson has been a machine. Michigan has the richest tradition of any team in the country. In his first game as a starter Robinson ran for more yards than any other QB in that entire history. In Game 2 he beat the team record for total yards and the conference record for QB rushing yards. His first two games have simply been as good as they could have been.
Con - That much of a beating isn’t sustainable. Robinson has carried the ball 57 times in two games. He’s not a big guy, so that much abuse is going to take a toll. Quite often he has been hit by guys in the secondary, so that hurts a bit less, but regardless it’s hard to believe that a guy can perform at this level in this style for a whole season.
Pro - The secondary has been better than expected. The secondary was expected by most to be frighteningly bad. While it hasn’t been great, it hasn’t been that bad, either. They have given up some big plays, but they have also stood their ground more than once, and haven’t thrown any games away - something they certainly did last year.
Con - Dayne Crist shredded the secondary when he was playing. In the first drive of the Notre Dame game Crist marched down the field with authority and didn’t struggle at all to find open receivers. Later in the game after returning from missing much of the game thanks to a concussion Crist made the secondary look ridiculous on a long TD to his tight end. Crist was only starting his second career game and he found holes in this secondary. More experienced QBs that they will face later in the season could go wild.
Pro - Confidence is high and should be higher after five games. The team has flown out of the gate and they are obviously feeling good about themselves. They should feel better after the next two games - two easy nonconference home games, and a conference opener against a lousy Indiana squad. This team should be even more confident by the time real conference action rolls around.
Con - Schedule gets tough in back half. Later in the season this team has to play at Penn State and Ohio State and at home against Wisconsin and Iowa. Those four games should be tougher than any they have played already.
Pro - They are flying high. It feels like everything is coming up roses for Michigan right now.
Con - This is eerily similar to last year. Last year they jumped out of the gate with a rush thanks to a precocious young QB who was much better and expected, and then they crumbled horrifically down the stretch. Every time I close my eyes to fall asleep I see the nightmare of last season repeating itself.
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