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Point/counterpoint: Are the Hawkeyes better off without Adam Robinson?

BY DI STAFF | JANUARY 18, 2011 7:10 AM

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YES

The 2011 Hawkeyes will be better off without Adam Robinson in the backfield.

Robinson, who had been suspended for the Dec. 28 Insight Bowl against Missouri, was charged with possession of marijuana in Des Moines on Dec. 27.

On Jan. 3, the drama ended when Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz dismissed Robinson for good.

Fans may be concerned how the Hawkeyes will replace Robinson’s team-high 941 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns, but I am not.

Robinson was a solid back for Iowa, but in the end, he is too small to be the team’s go-to back, and he dealt with numerous concussions during the season.

The emergence of true freshman Marcus Coker during the Insight Bowl gave Iowa fans cause for celebration — he rushed 33 times for 219 yards and two touchdowns.

At 6-0 and 230 pounds, Coker is a true Big Ten back. He is a bruiser who rarely goes down after the first hit.

Best of all, he doesn’t have character issues that lead to off-the-field distractions.

The three top teams in the Big Ten this past season — Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Michigan State — all used numerous running-back systems. Coker, while he showed he can be a feature back, can also share carries with incoming recruits.

The Hawkeyes have recruits Rodney Coe and Mikail McCall, as well as current freshman De’Andre Johnson, to throw in the mix.

Iowa running backs will always be successful because of the ability of Ferentz and his staff to develop such good offensive linemen. The Hawkeyes will look different next year when No. 32 isn’t lining up in the backfield, but fans will get to see a full year of Coker, who has the ability to carry the Hawkeyes to new heights.

— by Ben Wolfson

NO

Remember early in September when you were saying Adam Robinson should be a Heisman candidate? Heisman candidate or at least Big Ten offensive MVP, right? There’s a reason for that.
Robinson compiled 1,231 total yards and 11 touchdowns in just 10 games. After Jewel Hampton went down with an injury in September against Arizona, Robinson took on the role of lead back. He met the challenge head-on, carrying the ball more than 20 times in seven games. He was not only a talented runner but a skilled pass catcher as well, catching 24 balls for 290 yards.

Remember in the Michigan game, when Robinson carried the rock 31 times for 143 yards and two touchdowns? He also caught four passes for 61 yards, converting a key third down late in the fourth quarter.

Think about how good Robinson was as a lead back and how great of a complement the promising Marcus Coker would be to the veteran rusher. That would be a one-two punch that could rival the thunder and lightning being conjured by John Clay and James White in Madison, who led their team to a share of the Big Ten title and the Rose Bowl.

Robinson was ready to establish himself as a leader and an impact player on a 2011 Hawkeye team that was poised to make a run at a conference championship. With Ricky Stanzi graduating in the spring, the Hawkeyes could have used the leadership and experience that the returning junior playmaker would bring to the huddle.

Robinson has expressed interest in returning to the football team after he improves his grades and participates in drug counseling. There might still be a chance No. 32 will suit up for the Hawkeyes once again in the fall.

— by Ben Ross


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