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February 28, 2013

Audio and More: Denard Robinson on The Huge Show

Former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson impressed at the NFL Combine, and he's even more impressive in his interviews. Robinson joined The Huge Show's Bill Simonson to talk about the upcoming NFL Draft and more …

The highlights:

  • Robinson will be in the crowd Sunday for the basketball game with MSU. "You've got to ask to be part of the Maize Rage," he said. "I wanted to be part of the student body."

    Denard Robinson Interview

  • On picking Michigan: "I went on five official visits, one was here. Everywhere I went couldn't compare to Michigan - the people, the facilities, the coaches, the school, and most importantly school-wise. My mom wouldn't let me go to any school she didn't approve of.

    "I think that was the biggest thing, the people. My official visit was the first time I saw snow. I walked into the Big House and we had a snowball fight inside the Big House. That was one of the things that set it off, made me want to come to Michigan and be part of this family."

    Robinson admitted he almost committed to Florida, and added that Michigan first offered him as a cornerback [Coach Scott Shafer]. Coach Calvin Magee later came down and told him U-M wanted him as a quarterback.

  • On staying when Rich Rodriguez was fired: "Once I came here, I knew I wanted to stay at Michigan be part of this tradition, be part of the history, say I was a Michigan Man when I got done here. I grew close with these guys; this is my family. I can call any of these guys and know they'd do anything for me, and vice versa - I grew with those guys. It was a family."

  • On regrets: At Michigan, it's a tradition to always win the Big Ten. That's the only thing I regret, that we didn't win the Big Ten. Every year you put on that Winged Helmet, you want to win the Big Ten."

  • On his injury: "I had numbness in my hand, my two fingers. I never complained because when I'm going out there if I'm out there, I would never complain. I will always go 100 percent and never have an ecxuse. If I'm out there, there's no excuse."

  • On South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney: "Watching film, you could tell he was a great athlete, great player. Taylor Lewan, though, did pretty good against him."

    Clowney laid a huge hit on Vincent Smith, but Smith wasn't fazed.

    "He came to the sidelines and said, "did it look bad, because I don't think he hit me that hard," Robinson recalled. "That's what he said. 'My helmet came off, but I never had the ball. He came in free; nobody touched him.'"

    Below is a full transcript of the interview:

    Huge: "Has Beilein called you since last night to come guard the three-ball in future basketball games?"

    Robinson: "No, he hasn't given me a call. But I think I need to be back in the Maize Rage. Next game, I think I'll be there."

    Huge: "Maize Rage is the perfect description of the Michigan fanbase right now after that loss to Penn State. That was an ugly loss."

    Robinson: "It's always bad to lose, but I think we can rebound. We come back home, and we can rebound from that."

    Huge: "They have to beat Michigan State on Sunday, would you agree?"

    Robinson: "Oh yeah, I'm going to be right in the stands, watching those guys play."

    Huge: "Are you Maize Raging on Sunday?"

    Robinson: "Oh yeah. It's time. We gotta be ready for Maize Rage."

    Huge: "Did you ask to do that, or did the University or Maize Rage crew ask you to be a part of it inside Crisler?"

    Robinson: "You have to ask to be a part of the Maize Rage, so I asked for it. I want to be a part of the student body."

    Huge: "You have been an integral part of Michigan football, both on the field and off it. You have always been excited, happy, a pleasure to talk to and work with. Take me back to the day you said yes to Michigan and why you wanted to come here."

    Robinson: "I went on five official visits - one here - and every place I went couldn't compare to Michigan. The facilities, the people, the coaches and the school, most importantly. Because my mom wouldn't let me go anywhere if it wasn't a school she approved of. My official visit was the first time I had seen snow. I walked into The Big House, and we had a snowball fight there. That was one of the things that stood out and made me want to come to Michigan and be a part of this family."

    Huge: "If you didn't go to Michigan, what was your second choice when you were coming out of Deerfield Beech High School?"

    Robinson: "Florida was my second choice. I was looking at them really hard, and I was close to committing to those guys, but I ended up committing to Michigan."

    Huge: "When you came to Michigan, did you have plans to play quarterback? Were you going to move to a slot? What was the initial conversation about your future?"

    Robinson: "To be honest with you, the first guy that came in was [then-defensive coordinator Scot] Shafer. And he offered me as a cornerback. I told him, 'No, I can't do it.' And then [then-offensive coordinator Calvin] Magee and [quarterbacks coach] Rod Smith came down, and told me, 'Alright, we want you to play quarterback. We don't want you for anything else. I assure you that's what you'll play.' When I came here, I was ready to play quarterback."

    Huge: "Your first time coming into The Big House wearing that uniform, what was that like?"

    Robinson: "It's a feeling that you can't describe. Once you put on that winged helmet, you hit the wall before you come out and come down that tunnel, the feelings in that tunnel are different than anything else you've had in your entire life."

    Huge: "Were you ever worried about tying your shoes?"

    Robinson: "Oh no, I didn't think about tying my shoes. Not one time."

    Huge: "How did that get started? Was it something in youth football where you kept the shoes untied and got the nickname 'Shoelace'?"

    Robinson: "Yes, it was youth football. My first year, my coach gave me that nickname, when I was like five or six years old."

    Huge: "So now, you're starting to move on in your career, then there is the sudden change from Rich Rodriguez. That season leading to the end, what was that like for you?"

    Robinson: "Once I came here, I knew I wanted to stay at Michigan. I knew I wanted to be a part of this tradition, and be a part of the history, and say, 'I was a Michigan Man.' I grew close to these guys on the team. That's my family. I can call any of these guys and ask them for anything, and I know they would be there for me, and I would do the same for them. So, once I did that, there was no way I was leaving, because I grew with these guys. It was a family, and I knew it was a family.

    Huge: "Did Rich Rod get a bad rap from the media?"

    Robinson: "I can't tell you what it was like before. I never played for Lloyd Carr. The only guys I played under were Coach Rod and Coach Hoke. Both of them were phenomenal coaches. I love both of them. They had different styles. He coached with an edge. He wanted that hard edge every time we stepped on the field. He was always trying to pull the best out of everybody, and that's one thing he did every time he came out on the field."

    Huge: "If you would have ran the Rich Rodriguez offense in the Brady Hoke system, do you think you would have had even more success at quarterback?"

    Robinson: "I really can't say that. I think I played in a great offense. Under [offensive coordinator Al] Borges, I learned a lot. He gave me a lot of experience, coming from one offense to another. Just learning how to get into the prostyle and learning how to get under center and drop back and doing those things. I think I had a great career under Coach Borges, too. We won the Sugar Bowl, a BCS bowl. We lost two games last season, and we had a great year last year. I had success under both."

    Huge: "Most rushing yards by a quarterback in a career and led Michigan to three straight bowl games: Gator Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Outback Bowl. Was there any point, now we get to your senior year. Before that year, was there any thought that you wanted to become a running back or receiver and let Devin Gardner be quarterback?"

    Robinson: "To be honest with you, coming into senior year, I wasn't thinking like that. If I was thinking anything else, I would be cheating the team. I wanted to be the best quarterback I could be for the team - that's what I was thinking about. Not thinking about what my Draft status would be. I was thinking, 'I want to be the best quarterback I can be for Michigan,' and that's what I did. I took it head on, being the best quarterback I could possibly be - going to the film room, going out there and throwing the ball, all that good stuff."

    Huge: "What is your snapshot moment in a Michigan uniform?"

    Robinson: "The moment is when I was leading the team out. Me and Jordan Kovacs and Roy Roundtree, J.T. Floyd and Ricky Barnum - all the seniors from this year - when we were coming out of the tunnel. There's a picture of it, us coming out to touch the banner before our last game. Us leading the team out, right at the edge of the tunnel. I have that picture in my hallway, and it will always stand out to be."

    Huge: "Is there anything at Michigan that you wish you would have accomplished at Michigan, either as an individual or as a member of your team?"

    Robinson: "Going to Michigan, it's a tradition to always win the Big Ten. That is one of the things I regret, not winning the Big Ten. That's it. Every year you put on that winged helmet, that is the goal in mind every time. That's the one thing I wanted that didn't happen, us winning the Big Ten."

    Huge: "Did you ever go to Al Borges your senior year and say, 'I want to run the football more'?"

    Robinson: "I never really said that, because I always trust his playcalling. I was always behind him 100 percent."

    Huge: "You were banged up your senior year. How much did that affect your play? At what point did you feel the injury bug, and how long did that linger?"

    Robinson: "I had numbness in my hand, my two fingers. But I never complained. If I'm out there, I'm not going to complain. I'm always going to go 100 percent, and I'm never going to have an excuse for what's going on or what's wrong with me."

    Huge: "What is it like playing for Brady Hoke?"

    Robinson: "He is a great guy. He's a loving guy, and he brings it every day. Every time you see him in the football facility, he's going to bring it. He always has that intensity. Even if he didn't feel like being there, you would never feel it, because he is always going to have that intensity about him."

    Huge: "Jadeveon Clowney's hit on Vincent Smith in the Outback Bowl, when the Michigan players saw that hit, what was the reaction?"

    Robinson: "Actually, when Vincent Smith came to the sideline, he was just like, 'Did it look bad? I don't think he hit me that hard.' That is what he said to me."

    Huge: "He really said that?"

    Robinson: "That's what he said, that it wasn't that hard. He said, 'My helmet came off.' He came in free, was untouched and he hit him pretty hard, but Vince said it wasn't that hard. He just hit him on the chin and the helmet came off."

    Huge: "I was sitting in the stands in Tampa, and I thought his head was still in the helmet when the helmet starting rolling. Jadaveon Clowney is a beast, isn't he?"

    Robinson: "I thin [offensive tackle Taylor Lewan] did a pretty good job against him. [Clowney] had a phenomenal season this year. Watching film on him, you can tell he is a great athlete and player, but we matched his skills with out skills, and I think Taylor did pretty good against him. I take my hat off to both of those guys."

    Huge: "When that Outback Bowl ended and your Michigan career was done, what is going through your mind?"

    Robinson: "You know what I can say? Team 133 gave it all they had on the field. We played 100 percent, and that's all I wanted them to do. I told them before the game, 'Just go out there and play 100 percent, and when we come off the field, don't have any regrets.' I can say I have no regrets walking off that field. We gave it all we could."

    Huge: "Were you sad when your Michigan career was over? Was it emotional? Was it a relief?"

    Robinson: "It wasn't a relief, because that's my family. It's kind of different not being in the locker room with those guys and just hanging out with them, being in the weight room with them, motivating them. It felt really different for me. It's like you're leaving your family and it won't be the same as it was."

    Huge: "You made an impact on people, Denard. Now, you turn your attention to the NFL, and you won't be a quarterback at the next level. Punt returner, wide receiver, multi-slot guy, running back - where do you see yourself fitting in at the next level?"

    Robinson: "To me, right now, I'm trying to be a receiver and being a kick and punt returner. I can run the ball from the quarterback or running back position. I am open to do whatever the team asks me to do. That's me, I'm willing to do whatever is asked of me, to the best of my ability."

    Huge: "What was it like at the Combine? What kind of questions did they ask you?"

    Robinson: "Not too many crazy questions. I haven't gotten in too much trouble for them to ask me any question off the wall. They asked you, 'Do you have a girlfriend? Is she real? How long have you been together? Is it serious?' That was the main thing they asked you."

    Huge: "Did they really ask you if you had a real girlfriend?"

    Robinson: "Yeah, they did that."

    Huge: "Because of the Manti Te'o thing, they asked if you had a real girlfriend. I think Le'Veon Bell said that one team asked if he was gay. I find that crazy questioning. And they asked you if you had a fake girlfriend, really?"

    Robinson: "Yeah, they asked you that. I didn't get the question about gay or anything like that."

    Huge: "They ask you a question about having a fake girlfriend, and you have to be respectful because it's NFL teams interviewing you. But in the back of your mind, are you going, 'This is nuts'?"

    Robinson: "I thought it was kind of funny, to be honest with you. I thought he was joking at first. But you answer the question, try to be serious. Because it is an interview."

    Huge: "Speaking of moving on from college football, you're down to the final two with Ryan Swope from Texas A&M for the cover of EA Sports NCAA Football 2014. What can people do to rock the Denard Robinson vote?"

    Robinson: "They can go to this website. MGoBlue.com/VoteDenard. That's one of the places they can go.

    Huge: "Now, Swope ran a 4.34 at the Combine. What was yours?"

    Robinson: "I was told that I ran a 4.34. I am not going to say too much. I don't know, because there are a lot of times out there."

    Huge: "I think people float out worse times, so teams might devalue you, other players, too. Everything in my life is a conspiracy."

    Robinson: "Well, it was all fun. I think it was different, because everyone there had different times. Somebody said they clocked me in at a 4.31, somebody else clocked me at a different time. Someone else said I ended up running a 4.43. Maybe it's a conspiracy, like you say (laughing)."

    Huge: "From the Senior Bowl to the Combine, your pass catching was better. I think that will help you as you move forward and get to private workouts with the teams."

    Robinson: "Yep. I am working on catching the ball, running routes and getting out of breaks quicker. That is the focus now, and hopefully at Pro Day, I can show off that I am doing pretty well."

    Huge: "You're a winner Denard. I know you'll end up with an NFL team. I appreciate the time."

    Robinson: "Thanks for having me on."


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