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A new, refreshing wind blowing through Ann Arbor?

As we will say over and over and over again before the day’s out, it was just the first of 12 regular season games that will be played by most schools.

And this post involves a team that won their first four games of the 2009 season before falling off the face of the football earth, losing seven of their last eight.  But, still, there seemed to be something different about the 2010 Michigan Wolverines on Saturday.

In particular and most shockingly noticeable, it appears Rich Rodriguez has the key, prototypical piece in place for his version of the spread offense, something he’s lacked during his two seasons in Ann Arbor.

Whatever it was, whatever it will be, Michigan’s impressively solid 30-10 win over UConn gave rise to renewed hope that, this time, Rodriguez’s Wolverines are indeed climbing out of their two-year maize malaise.  And, if you want to lay that hope at the feet of anyone, toss it many times over in the general direction of Denard Robinson.

If you squinted hard enough at your television set, hard enough to blur away the dreads and turn a “16″ on the back of the uniform into a “5″, you would’ve sworn you were witnessing Pat White v2.0 on the Big(ger) House field.  Robinson was a mirror image of Rodriguez’s résumé-stuffing weapon while at West Virginia, rushing for 197 yards to set a school record for quarterbacks.  11 of his 29 rushes went for first downs.

As spectacular as he was in the running game, he was equally efficient — and deadly — in the passing game.  Out of 22 pass attempts, Robinson completed 19 of them for 186 yards and a touchdown.  

Perhaps most importantly, and given the -13 turnover differential Michigan had during their ’09 swoon, Robinson either carried or threw the ball 52 times, and had exactly zero turnovers. 

Granted, the Wolverines will face stiffer defensive tests than what the Huskies threw out on the field Saturday, but the Huskies aren’t exactly some Div.1-AA creampuff or a Sun Belt school looking for an opening day payday; UConn finished 8-5 last year as a member of a BcS conference and were 45th in rushing defense.

Yep, I can hear you and you’re correct.  It’s way, way too early to declare a corner having been turned for anyone, let alone a school that’s been so miserable the past two seasons.

Based on today’s performance and Robinson’s potential, however, that corner is closer than it’s ever been during Rodriguez’s time at Michigan.  And, given the hot seat he’s currently squatting on, this latest hope couldn’t have come at a better time for the embattled coach.

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Respond to “A new, refreshing wind blowing through Ann Arbor?”
  1. schiebs says: Sep 4, 2010 8:50 PM

    How many games like this is it going to take for D Rob to be talked about for the Heisman? I know it’s just one game, but this kid is going to be good.

  2. sonicjizzmopper says: Sep 4, 2010 9:05 PM

    Flipped to the game for a quick score check and I was impressed. Not a Michigan fan, but Robinson had me put the remote down. He sure looks like the real deal!

  3. overratedgators says: Sep 5, 2010 12:07 AM

    I could not turn away from this game today. Denard is an absolute beast of a player, and people need to remember that UConn is not exactly a pushover team (Gator Nation, that means they’re no Miami of Ohio … *snicker*).
    If Denard stays healthy, I think Michigan could conceivable go from unranked, to ending the season in the Top 15.

  4. contraryguy says: Sep 5, 2010 12:09 AM

    In other news, Tate Forcier’s dad swears his kid isn’t transferring. It’s UM, there has to be drama somewhere.

  5. PolegoJim says: Sep 5, 2010 9:45 AM

    Yes contraguy, drama follows greatness wherever it goes.
    Considering UConn was a better team than UM last year, this was more than a tune up, opening season win.
    Robinson looked awesome. Heart soul and mind, he was tuned in and made everyone around him better. The biggest surprise for me was his passing, I didn’t give him enough credit, and let’ hope it continues.
    My only fear is exactly what happened….he plays so hard, that he’ll open himself up for injury. Keep giving Gardner some regular playing time.
    The O line was as very good with run/pass protection.
    D is still our biggest challenge, but I felt very good about the effort and esp the forced fumble. Still need more push up front to rush things for opposing QBs and break up runs.
    We’ll see how things playout and firm up as the competition improves.

  6. msenn says: Sep 5, 2010 2:08 PM

    Huge Michigan fan, but…….the D looked awfully suspect. Any other team would have put this game away. They were 4 yds from getting it to 24-17. The offense clearly went on hiatus between the 2nd-3rd quarters and the D, especially the secondary, was uninspiring. I really think a new D Coordinator will be in place this time next year and this season ends and UM realizes what could have been.

  7. Buzz This says: Sep 5, 2010 2:59 PM

    Buzz this says: I told you there were a lot of smiles coming out of Ann Arbor this year. When those smiles break into a huge laugh, Michigan will be back for good.

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