Birk’s Eye View: Day 1 practice thoughts on University of Michigan football
I won’t make any bold predictions one practice into fall camp, but after watching Michigan work out for about an hour Monday without pads, I’d give Tate Forcier the easy edge in the battle to become the Wolverines starting quarterback.
The media was allowed to watch five periods of individual work Monday, and Forcier was much crisper in passing drills than fellow freshman Denard Robinson.
Forcier and Nick Sheridan appeared to split the No. 1 reps during Monday’s installation period (though Robinson wasn’t on the field for most of it), then the two worked with the first-team running backs at the start of practice, while Robinson and David Cone went to the opposite hash with the rest of the backups.
During a goal-line passing drill, a member of the football support staff pulled Robinson aside to give him tips on his passing technique. Specifically, where to position the ball during his load.
Maybe this is my bias coming from an NFL beat, but Forcier, Robinson and Sheridan all appear on the small side for a major college quarterback. Robinson, especially, looked out of place under center. (He's listed at 6-foot, 185 pounds.) Then again, Pat White never cut the most imposing figure.
Here’s a few other notes and observations from the first practice of the season:
â€¢ Freshmen J.T. Turner and Adrian Witty were not on the field as they continue to await word from the NCAA Clearinghouse on their eligibility. Jason Forcier, who’s seeking an NCAA waiver to play as a transfer grad student, did not practice either. Forcier’s father, Mike, said over the weekend he believes it’s just a matter of time before Jason is eligible to join the team. Forcier did have a locker in Michigan’s locker room.
â€¢ There was a great tempo about practice with music of every genre blaring at the start. Even after the sounds died down, players sprinted from drill to drill. New defensive coordinator Greg Robinson said that’s one thing he always admired about Rich Rodriguez’s teams at West Virginia.
“I liked the way his teams competed,” Greg Robinson said. “I liked the way his team, at the start of the fourth quarter took the sprint down to the end of the field. It ticked me off. I swear, from that day of the first game I ever coached at Syracuse, that next week we made sure that we practiced that. And we did it for the next four years.”
â€¢ Denard Robinson fumbled one center exchange during individual period. Just wondering here, but I wonder how big of an issue that is with high school recruits these days since most play out of shotgun formations.
â€¢ The rough Day 1 depth chart at receiver: Greg Matthews went ahead of Junior Hemmingway in drills at one outside spot, and LaTerryal Savoy drilled ahead of James Rogers and Darryl Stonum at the other. At the slot, Martavious Odoms was first up in drills followed by Roy Roundtree and Terrence Robinson.