Grading The Performance: Notre Dame


I’ve debated long and hard on how to grade Denard’s performance from this game. On the one hand he really struggled to execute in the passing game, there were horrible throws which were matched with even worse decisions. On the other hand Denard was asked to do things that he has long struggled with and that he’s frankly not very good at. Denard was not, is not, and likely will never be a good drop back passer. He makes poor decisions and throws when he is asked to sit in the pocket, scan the field, then make throws. That’s not his strength and it never has been. He was asked to do that a lot in this game and struggled mightily. Denard can’t be completely absolved of the blame however. He flat out made some terrible throws and decisions. He’s been drilled on his footwork and fundamentals all offseason yet still makes the same mistakes over and over. Al Borges can’t be blamed for Denard chucking a screen pass 4 yds over a back’s head, or air mailing go routes. Denard did showcase some of the phenom ability we’ve come to expect. The pass to Hemmingway while being dragged down by a defender was one of the most exceptional plays I have ever seen. In addition Denard made  clutch play after clutch play in the 4th quarter. Still, on a night where Denard finished with only 11 completions and threw 3 interceptions it’s tough not to focus on the negative despite the outcome. In the end both the coaches and Denard are responsible for the performance. In this case I put more blame on the coaches than Denard.

 Grade: C+

Running Back

The backs were mostly non-existent. The efforts to find a complimentary back to help shoulder the load continues. The backs simply weren’t asked to do much as they received a combined 8 carries in the game. I would like to think that the absence of Fitz contributed to the effort but we simply did not use our backs enough to evaluate their performance. Vincent Smith had one of the plays of the game on a screen pass but the Hopkins fumble at the goal line offsets what would normally be a decent grade.

Grade: C+

Wide Receivers/TEs

The receivers were really the story of the night offensively. I would give a gameball to the entire receiving core as they were the real heroes of the game. Junior Hemmingway did his best Braylon Edwards impression on a night when his #21 was honored for Desmond Howard and he really bailed out his QB. Despite being one of the smallest guys on the field Gallon had two of the biggest plays in the game, including setting up the winning TD. Roy Roundtree caught the winning TD on a spectacular effort but it was his blocking on the Vincent Smith TD that really caught my eye. The early drops are the only thing that keeps the WR unit from receiving perfect marks.

Grade: A-

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2011 Michigan Football Contests

Hey everyone, we have two contests that you are eligible to enter at this time:

2011 Michigan Football Contests

All it takes is one minute to enter either of the two contests currently open revolving around making predictions for the entire season and for the Western Michigan game.  The prizes available range from a Playstation 3 to autographed books to McFarlane Figures.

For our season contest, we currently have 55 entries. With the Top 15 moving on to the Bowl Game Contest for the big prizes those are some pretty good odds. The Western Michigan Contest has 134 entries. Remember the leading rusher could come from a garbage time run at the end of the game. This is truly a contest where anyone can win. Here is a table of the picks so far:

Player Entrants Selected
Michael Shaw 82
Fitzgerald Toussaint 30
Vincent Smith 12
Michael Cox 4
Thomas Rawls 4
Stephen Hopkins 2
To enter either of the contests follow the links above.

Go Blue!

Impact Redshirt Freshmen Countdown: #5th – Jerald Robinson

Jerald Robinson

Ranked 5th in our Countdown of Impact Redshirt Freshman is wideout Jerald Robinson. Coming out of high school, Scout’s Allen Trieu most effectively broke down Robinson’s game:

“He is a nice sized kid who plays bigger than his listed measurements. Has good hands and can go up and make tough catches in traffic, but will lose concentration and drop easy passes at times. Is very good after the catch and can make people miss as well as break tackles. Has good, but not great speed and explosiveness.”

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