- Associated Press - Thursday, September 23, 2010

Quarterbacks, coaches and playbooks. No matter how good they are, they have to fit together to work well.

Take the story of three quarterbacks: Ryan Mallett, Steven Threet and Denard Robinson, all of whom decided to play for Michigan at one point or another.

Uncomfortable playing in the spread offense Rich Rodriguez brought to Ann Arbor when he became Wolverines coach in 2008, Mallett and Threet didn’t stay for long but have found success at their new schools.

Meanwhile, Robinson, who many schools recruited to play positions other than quarterback, has been college football’s most exciting player so far this year.

In his first season as a starter, Robinson leads the nation in total offense, averaging 410 yards per game.

Two spots behind him is Mallett, averaging 359 yards per game for No. 10 Arkansas (3-0).

Down the list at 17th, in between Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor and Boise State’s Kellen Moore, is Threet. He’s averaging 286 yards per game for Arizona State (2-1).

Rodriguez insists a passer such as Mallett or Threet could have thrived in his offense.

“We can fit our offense and playcalling around the skill set of our quarterback,” he said recently. “If we had a guy who was a great drop-back passer we would obviously gear our playcalling and offensive attack to that.”

Rodriguez said pretty much the same thing when he left West Virginia and took over at Michigan after Lloyd Carr retired following the 2007 season. Mallett and Threet were both on the roster then, but Mallett had already established himself as the likely quarterback of the future.

Standing 6-foot-7 with a big arm, Mallett was a hot prospect out of Texarkana, Ark., when he chose to come to Michigan. He grew up as an Arkansas fan, but with Mitch Mustain, another highly touted quarterback, already with the Razorbacks, Mallett decided to head north.

He threw for 892 yards as a freshman, playing behind Chad Henne.

But about a month after Rodriguez was hired at Michigan, Mallett decided to transfer _ and it didn’t take him long to figure out where to go.

Arkansas had a new coach, Bobby Petrino, with an NFL background and an offense designed for a quarterback just like Mallett.

“First of all, I’d always wanted to play at Arkansas,” Mallet said. “I came down and visited with the coaches and we kind of went over offense schemes and when we did that it helped seal the deal.”

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