Former Michigan QB Tate Forcier Going to San Jose State? Good Luck with that!

tate-forcier
Former Michigan Wolverines quarterback Tate Forcier had his moments in Ann Arbor (that whole 4-0 start in ’09, right before the wheels completely came off comes to mind); but he’s right to have left that behind. At least if he wants to actually get playing time, and doesn’t really care about helping the QB depth of the maize and blue.
But unless Denard Robinson gets severely injured, there’s nothing left there for him in the state of Great Lakes Splendor. But he may have a chance at  San Jose State; where he’s reportedly looking.
What’s funny about that is…….

Someone tell Tate Forcier that he is, indeed, just a freshman

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By H. Jose Bosch

Someone needs to tell Tate Forcier that his name isn’t synonymous with “badass mofo.” If Bill Simmons were writing about this team, he’d say that Forcier has “I’m Keith Hernandez!” syndrome. In other words, Forcier has bought into his own hype so much, he’ll try just about anything just because he’s Tate Forcier.

OK, I can’t get inside the head of Forcier, but how else could you explain his performance at Iowa? Some of his passes were erratic, he ran around waaay too much and near the end of the game he acted like a petulant child when questioned by Rich Rodriguez. If you had just caught a glimpse of him sulking on the bench, you would’ve probably thought someone just sent this kid to timeout.

Forcier looked like he wanted to make every single play with his feet before he even thought to pass. He had happy feet only a Lions quarterback would admire. And because he isn’t Usain Bolt, a lot of his scrambles did nothing more than delay the inevitable nine-yard loss or incomplete pass or an interception.

And as frustrated as I was, imagine how pissed Rodriguez must’ve been. He was willing to lose the game to make his point. Granted, following the game we found out that Forcier had a mild concussion in the fourth quarter, which probably made him more irritable under the bright lights than he normally would’ve been. So benching him turned out to be the right move, even if Rodriguez was doing it for another reason. But RichRod didn’t know about the concussion until after the fact, so he understood the risks he was taking.

The symbolism of the benching was clear: play within the offense or don’t play at all. While Tim Tebow is the Savior of our sins, he plays within his system. He might add a flourish or two but for the most part he just executes well. Forcier needs to learn how to do that or else he will have more games like Iowa rather than Notre Dame.

He’s proven that he can play within the system, scramble only when he has to and make smart passes. He just can’t start believing he can make EVERY pass or outrun any defender.

If he can’t learn this lesson, he’s going to play like a freshman for years to come.

Bum shoulder: Even before Forcier can lick his wounds and go back out onto the field of play, he must prove to his coaches and fans alike that his injured should isn’t as bad as the Michigan Daily reported.

In the story is brother was quoted as saying:

“His shoulder is more injured than I think the public realizes,” Jason said. “It’s the same thing (Oklahoma quarterback) Sam Bradford did. Maybe not as severe, but an AC joint is an AC joint. Once you injure it, it’s hurt for the rest of the year.”

During a teleconference, Rodriguez denied anything was seriously injured. This from the Free Press:

“I don’t think it’s very limiting at all,” Rodriguez said during today’s Big Ten teleconference. “He said it wasn’t an issue at all in the ballgame. When I saw him yesterday — he didn’t practice yesterday because of the concussion — I didn’t see him complaining at all about the shoulder, and it’s not been much of an issue with the trainers.

“It’s been a few weeks, so hopefully, that will be a little bit better. The biggest issue with him Saturday is simply that concussion, and I think he had a little bit of a whiplash or something because he took a good shot, and he’s going to be day-to-day. I have not seen him yet today, so I don’t know how much better he’s feeling, but I’m sure the doctors will test him daily and see how it goes.”

The latest news came from Wednesday’s Free Press. Rodriguez announced that Forcier was ready to resume practicing but that he isn’t medically cleared to pay on Saturday. Rodriguez wouldn’t venture a guess at who was going to start against Delaware State.

My money is on Robinson because this is really the last team Rodriguez can experiment against.

Michigan Wolverines football preview part 1: The offense

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By H. Jose Bosch

Last season, Michigan’s traditional “3 yards and a cloud of dust” offense transformed into 3 yards and I want to throw up. Actually, I may be giving them too much credit: most of the time it didn’t even feel like they could move the ball three yards at a time.

Michigan fans were warned of it. In Rodriguez’s first season with West Virginia he went just 3-8. We ignored it. This was Michigan. Rodriguez wasn’t going to fall the same way he did in puny West Virginia. We had the nation’s longest winning-seasons streak (40) and the longest bowl streak (33) on the line. But we’re haughty, supercilious and we brag about knowing the definition of words no one really uses to describe being arrogant.

upset_rodriguez1So the 3-9 season was a shock to the system. Not a surprise, but a shock. Rodriguez had not only broken the two aforementioned streaks but he also broke a nine-game winning streak over Penn State, a six-game winning streak over Michigan State and a 24-game winning streak over the Mid-American Conference. The only real good news for Rodriguez was that he wasn’t the coach who lost to Appalachian State.

Now that the Wolverines have thoroughly been beaten to a pulp, 2009 will hopefully be the year Michigan channels its inner phoenix and rises from its ashes. Rodriguez coached the Mountaineers to bowl eligibility the year after his 3-8 debut and since he has that experience there’s no reason to believe he can’t do it again.

2008 record: 3-9 (2-6 in the Big Ten)
Returning starters: 15 (10 offense, 5 defense)
Total Offense: 290.75 (109th in the nation, 11th in the Big Ten)
Scoring Offense: 20.25 (101st, 11th)
Rushing Offense: 147.58 (59th, 7th)
Passing Offense: 143.17 (108th, 11th)

Notable returns:
RB Brandon Minor WR, Martavious Odoms, LB Obi Ezeh, DE Brandon Graham, and  S Stevie Brown, TE Kevin Koger, WR Greg Mathews, P Zoltan Mesko, C David Molk, G David Moosman, LB Jonas Mouton, OT Stephen Schilling, WR Darryl Stonum, Donovan Warren

Key losses: S Brandon Harrison, DE Tim Jamison, DT Will Johnson, RB Sam McGuffie, DT Terrance Taylor, LB John Thompson, QB Steven Threet, CB Morgan Trent

Quarterbacks: Since Rodriguez came to a school with athletes ill-fitted for his system, he needed to go MacGyver if he had any chance of succeeding. There were times where a paper clip, rubber band and some tin foil might’ve been the better alternative behind center.

Tom and Jerry made a more intimidating duo than Nick Sheridan and Steven Threet. Neither was suited for the job and they couldn’t throw the ball beyond five yards with any semblance of accuracy.

Now that Threet is gone the No. 1 candidate to start on opening day is freshman Tate Forcier. He impressed everyone during the spring game and has the skills Rodriguez wants/needs for his system. Denard Robinson is the other new man on campus and he’s not too bad himself. Expect both to see time under center.

Running backs: The ground game was one of the few bright spots of last season and it was really more of a dull glow than anything else. Brandon Minor emerged as the team’s rushing leader and gave fans a glimpse of how good Michigan could be after career days against Penn State and Purdue. His game could be enhanced this year with a viable quarterback threat. That needed help was especially obvious in the Penn State game when the Nittany Lions finally figured out Michigan couldn’t pass the ball. Next thing you know, eight men in the box.

Minor won’t have his running partner in Sam McGuffie, who transferred to Rice, but he does have Carlos Brown. Brown didn’t look too shabby when both Minor and McGuffie were battling injuries last season and he ran for 115 yards against Northwestern.

Receivers: To really get a sense of the offensive drop off from 2007 to last season, one can look at the receivmartavious_odomsers. In 2007 Mario Manningham led the team with 1, 174 yards receiving. Last year Martavious Odoms led the team with just 443 yards. The lack of a good quarterback and two true freshman starters contributed to this drop in production.

This year the Wolverines don’t lose anyone of significance and they’ll likely have a better quarterback heaving the pigskin. This will bode well for the receiving core. While Rodriguez prefers a running spread, having Odoms, Darryl Stonum and Greg Matthews with a better quarterback could make the offense more dynamic.

Offensive line: Last season Rodriguez had to start from scratch with his o-line. He had to replace four starters. Of the remaining lineman, there were just 16 starts among them and Stephen Schilling accounted for 13 of them. Constant shuffling and injuries made matters worse. The line’s numbers fell (144 rushing ypg last season compared to 165 the year before) but the damage could’ve been worse. Somewhat surprisingly the sack totals dropped (22 last year compared to 28 in 2007). Part of that can be attributed to the various bootlegs Michigan ran but the point is despite everything going against them, the line didn’t perform half as badly as one would expect.

This season all five starters return and there are seven players who have four or more starts under their belt. Returning that many players is always welcomed but it’s especially crucial when you have little time to implement an entirely new system, like Rodriguez is doing now. This unit will benefit greatly from having a second year under Rodriguez and they can make life even easier for the new signal caller.

Overall this offense still isn’t what Rodriguez ideally wants but it’s getting there. Even if the Wolverines showed minimal improvement, all they have to do is cut down on turnovers and it could be a vastly different team. The key will be the quarterback and it will likely fall on Tate Forcier’s shoulders to get the Rich Rodriguez era moving in the right direction.

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