Mag Excerpt: Denard's Last Run

The next issue of GoBlueWolverine the Magazine is our Big Ten Conference Preview. In this excerpt we highlight a lengthy interview with Michigan senior quarterback Denard Robinson during which he details his journey at Michigan, the growth of his game, the prevailing sentiment that he can't be a signal call beyond his days in Ann Arbor, and much much more.

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Question:  Have (Desmond Howard or Charles Woodson) mentored you?  You’re on the national scene yet again.  You’re a Heisman finalist.  These are guys that have been through it.  Have they given you advice and mentored you and maybe kind of told you about it and how to approach all of this? 

Denard Robinson: “Charles Woodson is one of the guys that said, ‘build your own.’  What he said was, ‘go win.’  That’s the biggest thing.  That’s why you’re here… to win.  I think in order for you to win the Heisman you have to get wins.  You can’t just be a regular player.  Your team has to win.  In order for you to win, you need your offensive line block, so you need everybody performing.  So I feel like in order for anything to be possible, you have to have everybody clicking.  You got to have success in a winning program.  You got to have success with winning.  You can’t have just an average season and win the Heisman.” 

Question:  You guys got some Heisman questions yesterday.  How do you deal with that?

Denard Robinson:  “I look at it, as you have to win.  In order for you to make it to New York, you have got to win.  Your team has success because of you or what you contribute to the team.  For me, I look at it and I just want to win.  Whatever it takes to win that’s what I’ll be doing.  If somebody else ends up winning the Heisman on my team, that means we had the win… we had to do something right during the season.  We had to get a lot of Ws.  That’s how I look at it.”

Question: If you do win and you are in consideration towards the end of the year, will you campaign for yourself or would you want any of your teammates and coaches campaigning for you?  I know Matt Barkley I think has an I-phone app or something already.

Denard Robinson: “Oh, whatever.  I am on my team guy.  So when it comes down to saying I want to campaign for myself, no I am not no bigger than anybody on the team, so when it comes down to it, I want to be just compared just like everybody else.  I want to be a team player.  I want to be a part of the team.  Don’t like at me no different than anybody else.  Don’t give me more publicity than anybody else I feel like.  I feel like when it comes down to it, I want to go out there and just be a football player.  That’s it.  Just be with my family and be with my teammates.  That’s all.” 

Question: Denard, the SEC has won the last five national championships.  Is that conference that much better than every other one in college football? Any explanations for why that conference has been so dominant lately? 

Denard Robinson: “They are recruiting great guys.  They have been practicing.  They are training like champs.  We got to train like champions if we want to be like champions.  You got to train like champions.  You got to watch film like champions.  You got to be coached like champions.  You got to be players like champions.  I think that is the key.  In order for us to have success, we got to practice like champions.  They must be doing something right down there.  So right now we got to do the same thing and get prepared.”

Question: Do you think the Big Ten is close to the SEC?

Denard Robinson: “Oh yeah.  We are tough as they are.  We just got to put it on the field, lay it out.” 

Question:  Do you take it personally when there is a discussion like there is speed, and then there is SEC speed? 

Denard Robinson:  “You know everybody talks about speed.  Everybody talks about this and that, but when it comes down to the end of the day it’s just like whoever out there playing, whoever worked harder the off season, whoever prepared for the game the most, and prepared for it the right way.  That’s who wins the game.  They could be the fastest team.  You know it don’t matter who is faster.  It matter who is out there executing plays.  LSU beat Alabama in the first game. What happened in the second game?  Who was prepared?  Somebody came out more prepared.  It seemed like Alabama was more prepared than it was LSU.  So whoever prepares and plays well.  I didn’t see LSU have…nobody was different from the first game.  Alabama just came out ready to play.”

Question:  Denard what do you say to somebody who says that this might be the last year you play quarterback? That you might not translate to the next level?  What do you say to that or do you listen to that?

Denard Robinson:  “You know what I say to that; I am at the University to Michigan, right?  I play quarterback right?  I worked hard to be the best quarterback that I could be for the University of Michigan.  So when I step on the field, I am going to try to be the best quarterback I could be for the University of Michigan.  What happens after that, I have no control over, but what I have control of today is being the best quarterback that I could possibly be for the University of Michigan.  So when I step on the field and practice field, I am going to train to be the best quarterback for the University of Michigan.”

Question:  Does it bug you at all? 

Denard Robinson:  “It doesn’t bug me, not at all.  I want to be the best quarterback I could possibly be for the University of Michigan, so when it comes down to it at the end of the season, that’s when I focus on what position I play in the next level.  Right now, I am thinking about being the best quarterback I could possibly be for the University of Michigan.”

To view this feature in its entirety, our Big Ten conference preview, our feature on Jordan Kovacs' Michigan journey, our hockey preview, and much much more, check out the next issue of GoBlueWolverine The Magazine.

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