associated press Enlarge
ANN ARBOR — There's this theory going around that because Michigan is reverting back to a more traditional offense, dual-threat quarterback Denard Robinson may be forced to reinvent himself into a prototypical pocket passer.
Don't count on it.
Speaking publicly for the first time since spring practices began about two weeks ago, offensive coordinator Al Borges said many things Tuesday indicating Robinson has been able to use his full cache of weapons this spring as the coaching staff implements their offense.
Borges said that in catering to Robinson's strengths he has installed more shotgun plays than ever before and that some of those plays are designed Robinson runs.
So not only will Robinson play next year with his shoes untied — a trademark his first two years — but he'll also play with his hands untied.
"The kid is an accurate passer, that's the first thing that jumps out at me," Borges said.
"When the [receiver is] open, he's going to hit him more often than not. When he isn't open, he has a way of creating like no guy I've ever had before."
Borges, who previously coached at San Diego State, said he comes up with a "profound statement" for all of his quarterbacks, specific to their style of play.
When he was at UCLA, Borges told Cade McNown "you run for yards but you pass for miles." With Robinson, the slogan is "to make plays and let the Good Lord make miracles."
Translation: Don't try to do too much.
"As long as we're making good judgment, we certainly don't want to put that fire out," Borges said. "You don't coach him like you coach other kids I've coached. You have to give him a chance to do what he does."
Last season, his first as a starter, Robinson became the first quarterback in NCAA history to pass for 2,500 yards and run for 1,500. Robinson's 1,702 rushing yards were the most ever by a quarterback, and if he approaches that number again, it'll be a surprise to Borges.
"We want our tailbacks to get more involved," Borges said. "That's going to sacrifice more numbers for the quarterback."
HIGH PRAISE: Borges has now been the offensive coordinator at nine different college programs, and the group of players he's currently working with might be the most impressive in at least one regard.
"I think this group has been as receptive to what we want to do as any group that I've worked with, maybe more so," Borges said.
FAMILIAR VISITOR: Former Toledo coach Tom Amstutz was one of several coaches who attended Michigan's practice Tuesday afternoon but he confirmed he's "retired."
Amstutz last coached during the 2008 season when UT beat Michigan, 13-10, at the Big House.
Contact Ryan Autullo at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6160