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Posted on Sat, Aug 15, 2009 : 2 p.m.

'Confident' Tate Forcier among University of Michigan football team's early camp standouts

By Dave Birkett

Don’t expect a resolution to Michigan’s three-headed quarterback race anytime soon.

“Everybody can go ahead and be patient cause there will not be a starter named until right before the first game,” Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said. “Maybe even be a game-time decision.”

For now, true freshmen Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson and junior Nick Sheridan are splitting practice reps, though Forcier spent most of Friday’s workout - Michigan’s first in full pads this fall - running the first team.

A January enrollee, Forcier is reaping the benefits from a spring practice that saw him top the depth chart after Sheridan got hurt. He’s further along in the playbook than Robinson, and center David Molk said he’s been impressed by the just-turned 19-year-old’s demeanor on the field.

“He’s confident,” Molk said. “He knows what he is and he knows he can make plays. It’s good. A little confidence will do you good.”

Robinson turned heads Friday, too, breaking at least one long run in practice. Teammates - even the fast ones - gush about his speed.

“He’s going to make plays,” running back Carlos Brown said. “Just watch out for him.”

Regardless who starts, Molk said the quarterback position is on more stable ground this year than last, when Sheridan and the since-departed Steven Threet combined for more turnovers than touchdowns and struggled to sustain drives.

“We have a solid three guys that can all play,” Molk said. “Well, two right now and Denard’s moving up. He’s starting to get a hold of it, but he hasn’t been in the offense long enough. It’s nice we have more options and whatever scheme we want we have a guy.”

Along with Forcier and Robinson, several other players have left lasting impressions in the first week of camp:

• Vincent Smith, the elusive freshman who joined Forcier on campus for spring practice, is in line for immediate playing time at running back. “Vincent Smith was one that caught our eye in the last couple of days, which has been impressive,” Rodriguez said.

• Defensive tackle Mike Martin has been disruptive in an otherwise thin front. “Mike in the middle is strong,” Molk said.

• Dave Revsine of the Big Ten Network, in town for the network's fall football tour, reported via Twitter that defensive coordinator Greg Robinson singled out Ryan Van Bergen as an emerging leader.

• The defense in general is tackling better and more in tune with fundamentals after allowing the most points in school history last year, Rodriguez said. “Making improvements,” said linebacker Stevie Brown. “I can’t tell you exactly where we’re at, but we’re making improvements every day.”

Dave Birkett covers the University of Michigan football team for He can be reached at



Mon, Aug 17, 2009 : 10:18 p.m.

I've heard Tate is good moving the team down to the red zone but has been having problems getting the ball in. I wouldn't worry about it since I'm sure RR doesn't want him to run yet. I just have this feeling that Tate will be scoring a lot of TD by scrambling into the end zone or just option runs from around the 10.

Matt Van Auker

Mon, Aug 17, 2009 : 3:59 p.m.

Alright! Finally some stability at quarterback. There's hope, we're not dying!


Sun, Aug 16, 2009 : 7:48 p.m.

The difference between last year and this year is that this year's quarterbacks are better suited to run RR's offense. There will still be growing pains, but with an improved offensive line and people who have been in the RR system for a year the learning curve will not be so pronounced and hopefully that will translate into a winning season where at least U-M should go to a bowl game.


Sun, Aug 16, 2009 : 7:01 p.m.

The Carlos Brown crush....again. Good grief.


Sun, Aug 16, 2009 : 11:32 a.m.

Worry about the 'D' more than the 'O'. We need to get dominant again on that side of the ball. We need some of those D-line recruits to sign on the dotted line.


Sun, Aug 16, 2009 : 2:34 a.m.

Bigblue, I agree with your post. It is nice to be able to read the stories without all the trolls. I think the Woloverines are going to surprise alot of people this year and before long they will own the big ten again. GO BLUE!!!


Sun, Aug 16, 2009 : 1:21 a.m.

i have a feeling this going to be a good year in ace duece. i can't wait for the championships to start raining down. i also really have't seen any trolls on the new site. lets hope that continues too.


Sat, Aug 15, 2009 : 9:15 p.m.

Theo's rhyming again his verse has been sorely missed Michigan fans are in heaven and the spuckeyes have got to be...


Sat, Aug 15, 2009 : 9:12 p.m.

Good! No more excuses then.


Sat, Aug 15, 2009 : 2:14 p.m.

Michigan's starting D-line has the potential to be good given their inexperience. Mike Martin, Ryan Van Bergen, Will Campbell, and Brandon Graham all have talent for certain. The problem becomes the 2nd string depth. Since Michigan likes to substitute a lot at this position, let's hope the backups really come through.


Sat, Aug 15, 2009 : 1:12 p.m.

Though Tate is surely great; Let's please not over rate. For when the chips are down, It'll be Carlos Brown To seal the spuckeye's fate. -Theo Stradivarius '09