ANN ARBOR - After Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson threw four interceptions in a 13-6 loss Sept. 22 at Notre Dame, Wolverines coach Brady Hoke said immediately after the loss that he had no urge to lift Robinson in favor of Russell Bellomy or Devin Gardner. Ten days later, Hoke is sticking with the senior, despite the nonconference struggles.
Despite having 66 carries for 44 yards and four touchdowns, and passing for 837 yards on 54 completions (out of 99 attempts), Robinson has thrown eight interceptions in his first four games ... and has eight guaranteed games left at Michigan.
Hoke was asked if Robinson's performance was a matter of Robinson making plays as opposed to simply getting rid of the ball.
"yYou get a lot of quarterbavks and a lot of guys who are competitiors at a high level, and they believe in their abilities," Hoke said. "You want them to believe in their abilities. But at the same time, you've got to understand that maybe a punt's a good play and maybe sticking your foot in the ground and going north and south is a good play."
But during the post-podium roundtable, Hoke shot back when asked about how he would evaluate Robinson's decision-making abilities.
"Think about that question," Hoke said. "What do you think? Seriously. He's got to play a little better and we've got to help him play a little better. Blocking better, routes, catching better. Being better. Also, as a staff, we've got to make sure he can do the things we're asking him to do."
With eight games left, should Robinson's progress be further along?
"When you look at the process, it's not all one guy. When you've got a linebacker in your face and you've got somebody somewhere around your legs, sometimes it's hard to finish plays as you'd like to. Do we want to him to throw the ball away when the opportunity is there? Do we want him to be a little more on target with the ball at times? No question."
Hoke backs his quarterback. Emphatically.
"He's our quarterback, and he's a damn good quarterback," Hoke said. "We're very comfortable and very confident in him."
On a side note: Hoke apologized for his use of a profanity.