Michigan’s Denard Robinson sets standards for Big Ten quarterbacks

By Lanny Holstein

Daily Nebraskan, U. Nebraska via UWIRE

Michigan’s Denard Robinson sets standards for Big Ten quarterbacks

The Big Ten may not be the flashy league that the Big 12 was with track-meet-style games, but the Huskers’ new league packs a handful of big time performers. A few even warrant Heisman consideration.

Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, in his fourth year under center in Ann Arbor, Mich., is arguably the biggest name in college football. Critics hold out on his throwing ability and wonder how well he will transition to the NFL, but the senior is an unmistakable fan favorite in Big Ten country.

Heading into 2012, Robinson is considered among the league’s favorites to win the Heisman Trophy.

Through two full seasons as the starter and a few games as a freshman, he threw for 4931 yards and 40 touchdowns and ran for another 3229 yards and 35 touchdowns. With numbers like that, he has half the Heisman package. He just needs a flashy campaign to go along with them.

Not so fast, he said at Big Ten Media Days.

“I’m not into that Heisman stuff as much as some other guys. I’m a team guy,” he said. “When it comes down to saying, ‘I want to campaign for myself,’ no, I’m no more important than any other guy on the team. When it comes down to it, I want to be compared like everybody else. I want to be the team player. Don’t give me more publicity than anybody else.”

Robinson will no doubt get more publicity than most, whether he likes it or not. As the quarterback at Michigan, he is in the limelight by definition. His position holds him to a high standard.

“You can just see it in all the quarterbacks that come back here,” he said. “You know who was the leader on those teams. Those guys don’t have to say too much. They are just leaders.”

Robinson said he tries to hold himself to the standard set by those guys before him. He described the mold of a Michigan quarterback as something he takes to heart.

“You have to be that guy that when you see him he is about business. When he is on the field he is all about business,” Robinson said. “He is the guy you look to for anything. If something is going wrong you can look to him, and he will have that confident smile. He’s the guy that says, ‘Okay team, we are going to do what it takes, we are going to win this game.’ He is the leader through thick and thin.”

Robinson knows his role and seems to revel in it, but he doesn’t exactly fit the stereotype of a vocal leader. He talks quietly and thinks before he speaks. The model of a brash outspoken war general does not apply Michigan’s main man.

“I’m a person that shows you by example,” he said. “That’s me. I don’t have to be that person that is out there going rah, rah, rah, rah, you know, but if I have to, I will. You know who is the leader on this team.”
Robinson is confident heading into 2012. His coach, Brady Hoke, is right there with him.

“He has really become a guy you can count on when it comes to leadership and work ethic,” Hoke said. “It’s evident from everything that he’s done.”

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