Denard’s Hits of all Varieties
It’s not like people are talking Denard Robinson these days. Someone out there needs to talk about this kid, ok I will. Two extraordinary, rather double extra ordinary performances by #16 have garnished major attention. Granted, a modest sample size surely figures to give way to some skepticism and assumptions that Denard’s numbers will fall back from outer space to a closer atmospheric earthly layer. Even Brian Kelly says this…
“When you run a quarterback 25 times, you’ve got to have toughness,” Kelly said after Saturday’s game. “I’ll let Coach figure out whether that’s the case for 10 games — Coach Rodriguez knows his team better than I do. But we hit him pretty hard today.”
The gripers, the whiners, and the scurrred fans of Michigan’s remaining opponents are confident that there is absolutely no freakin’ way this guy can make it through an entire season. That’s what you’re hearing right now – “…there’s no way this kid is going to make it through the Big Ten, no way! and he’s had to come out of both games with an injury!…”
What happens down the line remains to be seen, but I’m tired of hearing that THERE IS NO WAY HE CAN MAKE IT through an entire season. Good bajesus how about we let the season play out already. Through two games Denard has carried the ball 57 times. Has he been hit by 250+ pound defensive linemen 57 times? No. Has he been hit by physical linebackers 57 times? No. In fact, Denard is often times going to fast it’s nearly impossible for the defenders to even attempt to get a direct hit on him. I’ve taken a look at the awesome “Every snap..” videos from MGoVideo and broken down each of Denard’s runs into four different categories.
- Defensive front 7 hits – or simply a hard hit where the impact of the blow is significant. So this could also come from a 2nd level type player if it’s a real shot.
- 2nd level hits – where Denard has already gotten 5+ yards beyond the line of scrimmage and is generally running full speed
- Fallen on / little contact / or a slide – Denard may not feel any impact from a defender at all, or just a small amount because he has gotten down before receiving a hit
- No touch on him at all – where Denard jets it 87 yards into the end zone, goes out of bounds, etc.
|Front 7||2nd Level||Down/Slide||Not Touched|
Conclusions go below…
We know some thangs after two games. We know that Denard is the fastest player on the field. We know, if I’m using the same terms that the NBC color guy used during Saturday’s game, that Denard is a “quick-twitch athlete” (he pointed out that a few guys were good or had the edge because they were “quick-twitch guys” – dude needs to not do that again). After two games, it’s clear that for as many times Denard is going to either go down, dive before he gets tackled, or save his body – he is going to be flying towards a first down and take on significant contact.
- Front 7 hits = 23 Avg. / game = 11.5
A normal workload for a featured running back in most pro-style offenses. It’s fair to assume that your prototypical running back is going to get hit harder and more often than the elusive Denard.
- 2nd level hits = 16 Avg. / game = 8
More often than not, Denard is going too fast for a guy to get him good. However, times like below – are when Denard is going full-speed because it’s 2nd or 3rd and however long. In this case…Denard getting hit = me cringing.
- Denard Slides or goes down easy because he’s Superman = 14 Avg. / game = 7
On most of these runs Denard is going down before the contact can get to him as the defender intends. Typically, there’s less cringing from yours truly on these plays.
- Not touched = 4 Avg. / game = 2
Hmm. Let’s see what one of these plays looks like shall we?
Knockout Hits…sort of, not really though
Denard has left each of the first two games after a nice run up field. Both times he returns after one or two plays. He left the UConn game after converting on 3rd and 15 – for two plays. Let’s take a look see…
And now against Notre Dame – not sure what happens here – I thought Denard may have gotten the wind knocked out of him, but usually when that happens rolling around on the ground ensues.