Brady Hoke: Denard Robinson is 'a damn good quarterback'
ANN ARBOR -- Denard Robinson had what he called the worst game of his career against Notre Dame.
He threw four picks in that game and now has eight on the season, which is third in the country. He hasn't shown much progress this season in limiting mistakes.
But coach Brady Hoke still is backing his senior quarterback, and maintains that, with eight regular-season games left in his career, he still can figure out the passing game.
"He's our quarterback, and he's a damn good quarterback," Hoke said Monday. "We're very comfortable and very confident in him."
Robinson was 13-of-24 passing for 138 yards against Notre Dame, the Wolverines' last game, but it was his four first-half interceptions -- which came on consecutive throws -- that hurt Michigan most in the 13-6 loss.
He now is 54-of-99 passing (54.5 percent) for six touchdowns and eight interceptions on the year.
"He's got to play a little better," Hoke said. "We got to help him play a little better by blocking better, routes, catching better, competing better and also as a staff, we got to make sure he can do the things we're asking him to do."
Should Robinson, a third-year starter, be ahead of where he is now in the process?
"When you look at the process, it's not all one guy," Hoke said. "When you got a linebacker in your face and you got somebody around your leg, sometimes it's hard to finish plays like you'd like to.
"Do we want him to throw the ball away when the opportunity is there? We want him to be a little more on target with the ball at times? No question. But it's not just him, by any account."
Michigan offensive lineman Taylor Lewan also deflected blame away from Robinson, noting the offense had an astounding 23 missed assignments on 66 plays. That number should be closer to one or two, Lewan said.
"It's not just Denard," he added. "To the untrained eye, it kind of made it look like it was on Denard a little bit, but that's protection, that's receivers, the running backs, that's all of us combining into one."
Michigan made a series of second-half adjustments against the Irish, which helped take some of the burden off Robinson. Hoke specifically told the offensive linemen they had to take over the game.
That unit did play well in the second half, improving pass protection and opening lanes for tailback Fitz Toussaint.
Robinson finished that half with zero picks, although he did fumble once.
Hoke said the next step for Robinson is to realize he doesn't have to make every play. If something isn't open, there's no harm in throwing away the ball or cutting up field.
"We got to understand maybe a punt is a good play, and maybe sticking the foot in the ground and going north-and-south is a good play," Hoke said.