Eager to halt his program's two-game losing streak to the Wolverines in their annual series, Illinois head coach Tim Beckman is reportedly enlisting the help of wide receivers and running backs to play part of Michigan's Denard Robinson in practice according to The Chicago Tribune.
With no other real alternative, Beckman hopes that the combination of freshmen Justin Hardee and LaKeith Walls can at the very least create the allusion that a speedster like Robinson is under center. But after seeing Denard up close in each of the last three seasons, Illinois senior defensive lineman Michael Buchanan isn't entirely convinced that a player like Robinson can be duplicated so easily.
"Unless we're chasing around (quarterback Nate Scheelhaase), we don't have a player that is the caliber of Denard Robinson, just from an athletic standpoint," Buchanan said. "It's really about being disciplined, studying a lot of film on him, seeing where he likes to escape."
Along with his penchant for breaking off long runs when his protection breaks down, the 6'0, 197-pound Robinson is also known quite well for turning the ball over in key situations. Buchanan, who tallied one-half of a sack against Michigan back in 2010, knows that forcing Robinson into costly mistakes could ultimately prove pivotal.
"One thing Denard does do is he puts the ball up in the air, and he gives you a chance to make plays on it," Buchanan said. "It gives defensive guys an opportunity to get the ball back and try to strip them. That's something we're going to go into this game doing, trying to get the ball back to the offense."