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Monday, May 21, 2018

Desmond Howard Angers Michigan Fans Saying Denard Robinson Hasn’t Won

Former Michigan Heisman Trophy winner and current college football “analyst” Desmond Howard spoke at the Black Coaches and Administrators convention recently, and a portion of his words angered Michigan fans. In his speech, he talked about how young players get too great of a sense of self because of all the butt kissing they get from coaches and recruiting services. His main point was that programs and teams were bigger than any and all individuals, including figures like Bo Schembechler. And then came the kicker, which was written in the St. Petersburg Times:

I’ll give you a perfect example: Michigan fires coach Rich Rodriguez,” said Howard. “All the noise in Ann Arbor is, ‘Is Denard Robinson going to stay or leave?’ I’m like, ‘Hey, if the kid wants to go, don’t let the door hit you on the way out. You looked fantastic for five games against nobody. That’s what you did.’ I’m not going to deny his talents, but, ‘You ain’t won nothing in Ann Arbor, son! Not so much we need to worry about if you’re going to be here next year or not.’ “

Three Michigan officials in attendance for the speech didn’t think anything of that portion, Howard wrote on twitter Friday. He defended himself saying “3 Mich staff members were there and TOTALLY understood them in context. Pt. was about fans/media.” I don’t deny that that was a minor portion of his entire speech, but the fact remains he said Robinson won five games against nobody and that he hasn’t won anything. That’s worth discussing.

Robinson is immensely talented and he was the best running quarterback in the country last year. Sure he was shutdown by Ohio State, but he also left the game with two dislocated fingers. He had too many turnovers against Michigan State before leaving with an injury, and he did not play well against Purdue. But he still was a good player, and as far as I could tell, the offense generally scored enough points to beat most opponents. The real issue with Rich Rodriguez was that his defenses couldn’t stop anybody.

I know that Howard’s speech wasn’t intended to knock Robinson, but you figure a good analyst like Desmond is supposed to recognize that there are two sides to a football game and you can’t win without stopping your opponent. I know Michigan fans aren’t happy with Howard after reading the story, so maybe they’ll have to lob a call to Phil Simms to take care of the former Heisman.

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