Only two sets of people don't like quarterbacks who run.
NFL scouts who think they can't take the pounding in the pros. College defenses that can't stop them. To the rest of us, a running quarterback can be the most exciting player in football. And the University of Massachusetts has never seen any one quite like Michigan sophomore and Heisman Trophy front-runner Denard Robinson, who leads the nation in rushing with 227.5 yards per game.
Maybe nobody has.
The chase will be on when UMass tries to contain Michigan's Denard Robinson
Published: Thursday, September 16, 2010, 8:50 PM Updated: Thursday, September 16, 2010, 9:10 PM
Only two sets of people don't like quarterbacks who run. ¶
1. NFL scouts
who think they can't take the
pounding in the pros. ¶
College defenses that
can't stop them. ¶
To the rest of us, a running
quarterback can be the most
exciting player in football.
And the University of Massa´
chusetts has never seen any´
one quite like Michigan sophomore and Heisman Trophy
front-runner Denard Robinson, who leads the nation in
rushing with 227.5 yards per game.
Maybe nobody has.
"He's playing at a different
level, and what impresses me is that he's doing it within
their system," UMass coach Kevin Morris said.
"If something goes wrong on a play, he's athletic enough to make the adjustment." ¶
Since NCAA rushing champions started being determined by yards per game
in 1970, no quarterback has ever finished first.
Robinson has carried 57 times. He throws, too - 62
times in two games, 43 completions for 430 yards.
Superman wore a cape. Robinson's fashion statement
is untied shoelaces, and be forewarned, parents, it might
be the next pre-teen fad.
Morris likened Robinson to Michael Vick and former
Appalachian State QB Armanti Edwards, who beat
UMass in the 2006 Football Championship Subdivision title game.
In 2007, Edwards led his team to an upset of Michigan. His offense became
much more pass-oriented as his college years passed.
It remains to be seen if Robinson, who last week
piled up an astonishing 502 total yards against Notre
Dame (258 rushing, 244 passing), will follow suit.
Skeptics say he must. In the NFL, the durability question stalks running quarterbacks better than opposing linemen can.
It followed Doug Flutie,Donovan McNabb, Kordell
Stewart, Vince Young, Pat White, Tim Tebow and others.
And it will someday follow the 6-foot, 190-pound Robinson, who occasionally
misses a play after a hit.
Unfortunately for UMass, Robinson isn't turning pro
before Saturday. For now, he's the Minutemen's biggest nightmare.
What do they do? Crowd the line and risk opening up
the secondary? Put one guy on the QB and
neglect the running backs? Play it straight, and hope he
trips over his shoelaces?
Morris was asked what it will take to contain him.
"That is the unanswered question,'' he said.
It's not like basketball, where a defense can let one
guy score his 30 and shut everybody else down. Robinson
all but beat Notre Dame by himself.
"He's the real deal, and he's been putting on a show,'' Morris said.
It will be all UMass can do to keep from becoming Robinson's latest set of props.
The NFL might not be dazzled by this type of quarterback, but everybody else is.