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Posted on Sun, Aug 23, 2009 : 1:20 p.m.

Birk's Eye View: What you need to know from Michigan football media day

By Dave Birkett

We'll have updates throughout the day here on from Michigan football media day, but he's a quick glance at the highlights:

The starting quarterback job is still up for grabs and probably will be for at least another week. In fact, Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said there's a good chance Tate Forcier, Denard Robinson and Nick Sheridan all will play in the opener Sept. 5 against Western Michigan.

"Until we play a game and see how they perform under game conditions we won’t know for sure if anybody solidifies the starting role," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez declined to identify a frontrunner. Asked if he's seen separation from the three candidates, he said, "Some days, and some days I don't."

"Again, it’s personal philosophy," he said. "Some guys want it to be established and the team to rally behind them or whatever. I just want them all to get better."

Much of the talk of Sunday was about Robinson, the bullet train few outside of the program have seen take live full-team reps.

Offensive coordinator Calvin Magee said Robinson is bigger than Pat White was when he came to West Virginia as a freshman, and quarterbacks coach Rod Smith said Robinson's speed compares favorably to White's.

“I don’t want to blow him up, but he’s fast," Smith said. "He’s fast. It’s fun to watch because when he breaks through - and I love Pat to death, but I’m not so sure this kid - he’s fast. They’re close."

• Smith also told the story of how Robinson got the nickname "Shoelace." We'll have video up on that later, but the recap: Robinson never ties his athletic shoes, even for game situations. Smith heard Robinson's high-school coach refer to him as Shoelace during a recruiting visit to Deerfield Beach last year, and the nickname came north this fall. "It’s the damndest thing I’ve ever seen," Smith said. "But anybody that runs that fast, I’m not going to tell him how to tie his shoes."

• Rodriguez said Brandon Minor was held out of Saturday's scrimmage because of a minor ankle sprain. I didn't talk to Minor on Sunday, but he was in uniform and walking without a limp.

• On the scrimmage in general, Rodriguez said there was good and bad. "There was some explosive plays offensively," he said. "As a head coach you worry is that because we’re doing plays on offense good or are we playing poorly on defense? I thought our defense made some stops as well."

• True freshman cornerback Adrian Witty still hasn't been deemed eligible by the NCAA Clearinghouse. At this point, it's unlikely that Witty will play as a freshman. Michigan's starters are established in Donovan Warren and Boubacar Cissoko, J.T. Floyd and J.T. Turner look like the backups, and Teric Jones, who had an interception Saturday, also could play as a true freshman.

• Rodriguez said he'd like to play 20 to 22 people on defense, but acknowledged, "I don't know if we're comfortable doing that just yet."

• Rodriguez on rebounding from last year's 3-9 season: "We think we've got the steps in motion to get it where everybody wants it. Unfortunately, it's not happening as fast as I or anybody else would like, but I still feel as confident as ever it's going to happen. And I think our players and coaches do as well."

• Lastly, a couple player notes: Slot receiver Kelvin Grady continues to draw rave reviews for his play; tight end Martell Webb has had a good camp, as has Mark Ortmann; David Moosman is working as the backup center; there's a battle going on at right tackle depth is still a concern across the board. "We're holding our breath on both sides of the ball," Rodriguez said.



Mon, Aug 24, 2009 : 1:07 p.m.

Plain to see: fan impatience is going to stay with us for another season. Too high expectations are always the cause. Sit back, hold onto the hope (and probability) that this team will get better as the season progresses. Look for what breakout surprises they give us. The worst that can happen: Michigan will go 3-9 again. The whole Michigan program will suffer, not to mention Coach Rodriguez. The best that can happen: Michigan will go 12-0, amazing everyone, re-gaining national attention and prestige. The far more likely middle outcome: Michigan will win 7 or 8 games, will show real improvement. Everyone will see the path to success in 2010 and beyond is really there. Everyone will start looking forward instead of backward. Everyone will remember that UM's mascot wolverine is a small animal which takes on bears and moose - successfully. Go Wolverines!


Sun, Aug 23, 2009 : 2:56 p.m.

Trashel and champswest, this one's for you: In '09 our Wolves will be super; And leave the spucks in a stupor. On November twenty-one We win by a ton. Columbus cries: "Bring back John Cooper!" -Theo Rodriguez-Barwis '09


Sun, Aug 23, 2009 : 2:30 p.m.

I think that RR said that he MAY use all 3 QBs, not that he plans to. I am sure that his priority will be to first win the game.


Sun, Aug 23, 2009 : 2:20 p.m.

In Rods (Rich and Smith) we trust. They KNOW who's gonna lead us to a 10+ win season. They're too smart to let on. It's scary how good we're going to be. Like I said, college football record books will be obsolete when RR retires from here in 20 or so years.


Sun, Aug 23, 2009 : 2:06 p.m.

Rotating Robinson and Forcier, ok, fine. But throwing Sheridan into the mix is flat out stupid. RRod and company better wake up and realize that W. Michigan is not a pushover, and experimenting with the disaster known as Sheridan just may cost the season opener.

Sun, Aug 23, 2009 : 1:54 p.m.

Hey, Dave!!! Does Rich Rod mean he wants to use 20-22 players on defense at the same time? Only in the last minute against Toledo? What's the penalty for that? Thanks