Friday, November 23, 2012
Big Ten: Who will transform tomorrow?
By Brian Bennett
Each Friday during the season, we'll be taking a look at a Big Ten player to watch when the games kick off Saturday.
This week's selection: Michigan's Denard Robinson
Saturday assignment: at Ohio State, Noon, ABC
It's never been much of a stretch to say that Robinson is a player to watch and one who has a giant impact on a game. It's just that now, Robinson is doing it in a different way, and our pick for who will transform tomorrow kind of looks like, well, a transformer.
"Shoelace" debuted in a new role last week against Iowa, returning from his arm injury to start the game at tailback. He would wind up playing some receiver and lining up under center for some runs. Offensive coordinator Al Borges clearly enjoyed the chance to use Robinson in all sorts of different ways, calling for a double reverse to him at one point. And Robinson was up to his old tricks, zig-zagging across the field and gaining huge chunks of yardage in the 42-17 win.
The emergence of Devin Gardner at quarterback has injected a shot of adrenaline into Michigan's passing game, and now having Robinson as a jack-of-all-trades weapon opens up infinite possibilities for the Wolverines offense. Naturally, Brady Hoke won't divulge this week where Robinson will play or how he'll be deployed. But as Robinson gets healthier he could be available to run, pass or catch the ball, and Borges is a master of trick plays who almost assuredly left some in the bag against Iowa. If nothing else, it gives Ohio State a whole lot to prepare for this week.
"He's one of the finest athletes in America, so you'd better know where he's at at every snap," Meyer said. "I know they have something waiting. So we have to be ready for it."
Remember that Robinson torched the Buckeyes for 170 rushing yards, 167 passing yards and five total touchdowns last year as Michigan snapped its losing streak in The Game. Ohio State had better account for him at all times on Saturday or its undefeated season could go up in smoke.