Wolverines Denard Robinson: Truly Bigger than Jesus?

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The late John Lennon once got in trouble for saying that The Beatles were “bigger than Jesus.” However, he simply conveyed a valid point- at that particular moment in history, the Beatles’ popularity was arguably bigger than Jesus Christ in certain places. Lennon also gave us one of my all-time favorite quotes: “life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”

Both apply to Michigan Wolverines football and their QB, the Heisman Trophy front-runner Denard Robinson. His numbers, his media coverage and his persona are getting huge right now- by the end of senior year he could be bigger than Tim Tebow (i.e. bigger than Jesus.) In certain parts of Michigan, maybe so already.

And no one counted on nor expected this production. Remember the talk of a balanced attack in the spread-option? Remember the days when Tate Forcier was the starter? Denard is what happens when you make other plans.

By Paul M. Banks

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Let’s look at what he’s done through just five games this season. He has the third most rushing yards in a single season by a Big Ten QB and we’re not even halfway through yet.

Two-time Walter Camp Football Foundation National Offensive Player of the Week (Connecticut and Notre Dame).
• Three-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week (Connecticut, Notre Dame and Indiana).
• Davey O’Brien National Quarterback of the Week (Notre Dame).
• Rivals.com Big Ten and National Off ensive Player of the Week (Notre Dame).
• Two-time College Football Performance Award National Player of the Week (Notre Dame and Indiana).
• Nation’s leading rusher with an average of 181 yards per game.
• Second nationally in total offense at 382.6 yards per contest (trails Hawaii’s Bryant Moniz 390.6 avg.).
• Reset the Michigan total off ensive record with 502 yards at Notre Dame (accounted for 502 of Michigan’s
532 yards); surpassed his school record total of 383 yards set against Connecticut. Also, set the U-M record
with 68 total off ensive plays (28 rushing and 40 passing).
• His 258 rushing yards against the Irish is the best road performance ever for a Wolverine rusher and is the fifth best single-game eff ort in school history.
• Only quarterback in NCAA history to run for 200 yards and pass for 200 yards in two games in a single season.
• Broke his own U-M record and the Big Ten record for rushing yards by a quarterback.

Michigan is heading into a huge rivalry game with Michigan State this week, and obviously one of the biggest concerns for the Wolverines (not just for this week, but overall moving forward throughout the year) is keeping Denard healthy. For someone like Denard, who is so much a part of their offense, the concern is especially big.

Head Coach Rich Rodriguez discussed this.

“I think no matter who your quarterback is, you worry about him staying healthy, whether he’s a runner or thrower or someone in between, is what Denard is, he’s both.  I think you worry about him.  You see it happen already in our league.

I don’t have any more concern or less concern.  I have the same concern every week as far as, you know, trying to help or hoping your guys stay healthy.  But you have to play the game.”

And as long as Robinson stays healthy, his numbers should stay this stellar, or even improve. Because he’s a workout warrior and he takes practice extremely seriously. Rodriguez talked about trying to hold Denard out of practice, and how difficult that can be.

“You want him 100% on Saturday, but Denard is one you have to jerk out there have because he wants to take so many reps.  He’s walking around fine.  Everything is good.  But we’ll rest him a little bit today and probably some of those other guys again that played so many plays.  They will still practice, but they won’t do as much as some of the others.”

Paul M. Banks is President and CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest focused webzine. He is also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, the Chicago Tribune’s blog network, Walter Football.com, the Washington Times Communities, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com

He also does a regular guest spot each week for Chicagoland Sports Radio.com

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank

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