ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan unleashed its secret weapon on Saturday against Iowa, one offensive coordinator Al Borges had dreamt up a year and a half ago. Due to injury he was forced to put it into use.
No one would answer the question. Borges declined for schematic purposes. Gardner and Robinson both played coy as well. A lot of the breadth of scheme for Michigan with both quarterbacks on the field might depend on Robinson's ability to throw the ball.
While Robinson said Tuesday he threw in practice, he did not attempt a pass in his return against Iowa. Other than warmups and in practices closed to the media, no one has seen him throw a pass since Oct. 27 against Nebraska.
So can he?
"You'll see on Saturday," Robinson said.
It is the biggest mystery surrounding Michigan this week. If Robinson is able to throw, it opens up another dimension to the Wolverines' newly implemented offense, especially since Gardner spent the first two months of the season playing receiver, where he caught 16 passes for 266 yards and four touchdowns over the first eight games.
Considering how Michigan used Robinson against Iowa, it is natural to surmise if Robinson can throw, he'll be used even more.
As it was, Michigan used Robinson on roughly one-third of its plays against Iowa, including seven rushes when he lined up at quarterback, three when he was a running back and three times from the receiver position -- twice when he took an end around and once on a double reverse. In all, he gained 98 yards rushing and another 24 receiving.
The dominant formation with Robinson on the field was having three backs in the backfield, not including Gardner, and two wide receivers. Michigan ran this formation six of the approximately 20 plays it had Robinson on the field. Of the plays he was on the field, he took approximately half of his snaps as a running back.
All of this is a bunch of experimentation for Borges, who likened it to when he found ways to have both Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams on the field at the same time while he was at Auburn.
"It's fun," Borges said. "You want me to elaborate on some of the intricacies, and I just simply don't want to talk about it."
Can't blame him. Considering the initial element of surprise disappeared by using it against Iowa instead of saving it for Ohio State, keeping how much Michigan will use it under wraps makes logical sense from a game plan perspective.
Using both quarterbacks at once is something Michigan tried sparingly a season ago. On Saturday, it was a major piece of the game plan.
"This isn't completely new," Borges said. "But with Denard being injured, it had to force the issue a little bit more."
As the game progressed against Iowa, Michigan went away from putting Robinson on the field, likely in part due to the score quickly getting out of control. After going 50-50 with Robinson on the field as opposed to off of it on the first drive of the game, Michigan ran just one drive with more plays having Robinson on the field than off the rest of the game.
Just the threat of having Robinson somewhere on the field, though, changes the game.
"I feel like it did a really good job," Gardner said. "Not just when Denard had the ball, of course he made big plays. But when he didn't have the ball, we had our bigger plays.
"Just the attention he gets is amazing. It helped us succeed."
So much so, Gardner kept hearing Iowa's defense yell about Robinson whenever he stepped on the field. Robinson is one of those rare players who commands this attention. As it is shown he is able to do more of this throughout the rest of his senior season, that could happen even more.
Even if Michigan doesn't want to talk about it much.
"My creative juices are flowing all the time," Borges said. "Depending on the game, I'm considered creative or idiotic. But they are always flowing. That's what makes this game fun for coordinators, defensive and offensive.
"There's so many things you can do with 11 guys, it's like no other game."
It also leaves Michigan and Borges with an obvious question -- what will the Wolverines do next?