Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Exit Interview: QB Denard Robinson
By Phil Murphy
BRISTOL, Conn. -- Denard Robinson set all sorts of records at Michigan. He became the NCAA's career quarterback rushing leader. He broke multiple school records.
And throughout a tumultuous three years for Rich Rodriguez in Ann Arbor, he and his former left tackle Taylor Lewan are often looked at as bright spots during that time frame. Along the way, Robinson turned into a Michigan cultural icon with his shoelaces untied and dreadlocks flapping in the wind as he raced past defenders the past four seasons.
Robinson caught up with WolverineNation at ESPN Headquarters in Bristol, Conn., last week to discuss his career.
Q: Denard, I want to go back to National Signing Day 2009. Why did you commit to Michigan in the first place?
Denard Robinson: When you walk around Ann Arbor, there’s no way you can turn that down. And going to the Big House and seeing all those fans, seeing all that stuff. There was no way I was turning that down.
Denard Robinson was drafted as a running back by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Q: Quick hypothetical for you: Had Michigan pulled the offer the day before signing day, what was No. 2 on the list?
Robinson: Florida. The University of Florida.
Q: Why the Gators?
Robinson: I was talking to Urban Meyer, and he was a great recruiter. I loved the offense he was running down there. I think I’d have fit perfectly in that offense. It was down to those: Michigan and Florida.
Q: I think you just broke a lot of hearts in Gainesville. Going back to your career at Michigan, how would you define your career in Ann Arbor?
Robinson: I think it was a great career. I had a lot of fun. We won a BCS bowl, the Sugar Bowl. We had great games, great rivalry games. We beat Michigan State, beat Ohio [State]. I wouldn’t change anything about my career in Ann Arbor.
Q: How do you hope fans remember you?
Robinson: Somebody who every time he stepped on the field he was exciting, an exciting player and determined -- and that I was an outgoing person.
Q: You went through a coaching change. When that happened, how heavily did you consider transferring?
Robinson: Not at all. I was with my teammates and my friends and family. I felt like they were my family. For me to be a part of that, it was like, ‘This is where I want to be at.’ This is where I wanted to be at for the rest of my four years.
Q: In your senior year as you started to drift away from under center after the Nebraska game, what lessons did you learn about that move to wide receiver?
Robinson: It was pretty fun. I played mostly running back more than I did receiver, because our running back had broken his leg. We needed me to come in and relieve us running the ball. That was fun doing that.
Q: What from your time at Michigan do you think will help you the most as you transition to your rookie season in the NFL?
Robinson: Just playing on the big stage and not being scared to play on the big stage. That’s something that a lot of people don’t really realize: that you always play on the big stage when you play in the Big Ten. And playing at Michigan you’re always going to play on the big stage. Your always playing against great competition every weekend.
Q: You join us on behalf of EA Sports – you’ve got the crest on your chest. Michigan is known for its read option and it’s becoming the wave of the future, it seems, in the NFL. How would you compare Michigan’s read option to that which EA Sports has in the game?
Robinson: That’s one of the things that I was looking at. I was like, ‘Man!’ I was amazed about how they did that. That’s something I was looking at, and I was saying, ‘You guys are doing perfectly and we should keep doing this and doing this and do that.’ Watching that, looking at the reads and the mesh point, looking at the pitch keys and all that stuff, they did a great job with doing that this year in the game.