Five-Step Drop: Can Any Quarterback Run Like Denard Robinson?
1. During Saturday's game, I mentioned on Twitter that I couldn't think of any quarterback who was a better runner than Michigan's Denard Robinson. A lot of people replied that Michael Vick was better, but I don't agree. In Vick's Virginia Tech career he had 135 or more yards rushing exactly once, a 210-yard effort against Boston College in 2000. In Robinson's two career starts he has 186 yards against UConn and 258 yards against Notre Dame.
Is it too early to talk about how Robinson stacks up against the great running quarterbacks of all time? Probably. But it's not too early to point out that Robinson is getting serious Heisman Trophy attention. ESPN's poll lists Robinson as the leading candidate for the Heisman right now, beating out Boise State's Kellen Moore and Ohio State's Terrelle Pryor.
2. Speaking of the Heisman, Wisconsin running back John Clay plays a lot like Ron Dayne, who won the Heisman for the Badgers in 1999. Clay has 260 yards this season, and his numbers should only improve as he gets the ball more.
"We're going to go with who's hot,'' coach Bret Bielema said Monday. And if Bielema is going with who's hot, that means he's going with Clay, a 252-pounder who loves running linebackers over.
Clay plays a lot like Dayne, and although it's awfully early to talk about this, I think he'll be a better pro than Dayne, who was a disappointment when he got to the NFL -- where he couldn't just rumble over the middle and plow over linebackers who were smaller than him. If Clay stays healthy (and his history of ankle injuries is a concern), he looks like he's going to have all of Dayne's power but a little more shiftiness.
3. Free Kirk Herbstreit: ESPN really ought to tell its top college football analyst, Kirk Herbstreit, to go ahead and offer a prediction on the games he's calling. Every week College Gameday culminates with Lee Corso making his prediction for the day's biggest game, putting on a mascot head to represent the team he's picking. That tradition is silly, but even sillier is ESPN and Herbstreit declining to provide Herbstreit's pick for the same game if Herbstreit will also serve as the color commentator on that game.
So before Corso put on his elephant head to show that he was picking Alabama to beat Penn State, Chris Fowler explained that Herbstreit wouldn't be offering a prediction because he was going to be calling the game live that night. That makes no sense. Herbstreit has presumably spent all week evaluating the teams and come to some conclusions about what will happen, and he ought to share those conclusions with the fans. ESPN should free Herbstreit to tell the viewers what he thinks.
4. Iowa vs. Arizona is the game of the week in college football -- Saturday's only game between two ranked teams. But Iowa will probably have to play it without a key assistant coach.
Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said defensive coordinator Norm Parker, a diabetic, will stay home because of health problems that led to him being hospitalized last week.
"He is under care right now and doubtful for this week," Ferentz said.
5. Like most football coaches, Alabama coach Nick Saban talks up each week's opponent as if his team is in for the fight for its life. This week, Saban tried his best to talk up Duke, even though the Crimson Tide is a three-touchdown favorite against the Blue Devils.
Saban noted correctly that Duke's offense has moved the ball effectively, but he damned the Blue Devils' defense with faint praise, saying only that they're "capable of being good" on defense. Don't expect Duke's defense to show that capability against Alabama, which should hang 50 points or so on the Devils.