ANN ARBOR - Today, Al Borges got a little sentimental.
Michigan's offensive coordinator admitted that, yes, he misses Denard Robinson. Much like a lot of the Wolverines' football faithful.
This is the first August Borges has started a fall camp at Michigan without Robinson, who emerged in his Michigan career as one of the Big Ten's most dynamic players, and who became one of the NCAA's best - Robinson holds the NCAA record of 4,495 yards for career rushing yards by a quarterback.
But Robinson, affectionately known as "Shoelace," has moved onto the greener pastures of the NFL. The Jacksonville Jaguars selected Robinson in the fifth round of April's NFL Draft after he completed his eligibility.
"Yeah, it's different!" Borges said, when asked about Robinson's absence in Ann Arbor this August. "Denard is a ball of energy. He's a wonderful guy to be around. He's always smiling, always happy, always up-tempo. He was great. I miss that. I miss his skill level, that's a given. But just the way he was, that's pretty cool. Guys like coaching guys like that. Guys like interviewing guys like that. And I heard he's doing pretty well."
Robinson, who branded himself and has been branded on Jacksonville's roster as an "offensive weapon," has had some struggles in his transition to the professional level.
From the Associated Press:
The Jaguars originally put the former Michigan star in just about every offensive formation and special teams unit they had during offseason workouts. He lined up at running back, receiver and quarterback, and also returned punts and kickoffs.
However, there was one recurring theme: ball security. Robinson, who's listed as an "offensive weapon" on the depth chart, struggled to hold onto the football, dropping passes, fumbling snaps and botching punts.
So the Jaguars decided to back off during training camp, taking him off punt returns and limiting his offensive role to mostly runs and wildcat formations.
"We did take less off of him," coach Gus Bradley said. "We've got him more towards kickoff returns, some of the things he's doing offensively. We're taking some things off of his plate to see if that just frees up his mind a little bit more."
But in the NFL, there's one way not to miss him. Robinson recently took uniform number 16. This year it will be teal, black and white instead of maize and blue.
Borges said he hasn't spoken to Robinson since the start of Jacksonville's training camp.
"But I'm testing him," Borges said. "I told him that I'm going to see if he calls me back when he gets rich and famous. I haven't placed a call yet, so stay tuned."