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Posted on Thu, Aug 20, 2009 : 12:41 p.m.

Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez is on track with installing what he can of his offense

By Michael Rothstein

When dealing with young quarterbacks, especially freshmen, there's a learning curve as to how much a player can absorb without the mental cartoon image of smoke bellowing out of the kid's ears becoming a near reality.

That explains what Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez means when he says his freshmen quarterbacks, Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson, are on learning pace but nowhere near understanding his entire offensive playbook.

"Installation we’re on track as far as what we’d projected but as far as total offense, we’re probably at 65 percent or something," Rodriguez said. "Defensively, I don’t even know. I have to talk to coach Robinson and see where we’re at defensively."

Rodriguez said they've installed almost all of the offense, save for goal-line packages, which will come later this week. So far, too, Michigan hasn't done much about preparing for its opponents other than the casual mention of Western Michigan and telling players during an installation period that they might see something similar to this in the first week.

The transition to full Western prep will come by week's end, two weeks before the opener.

"I always do that the first two weeks, it's always been totally on us," Rodriguez said. "... Our practice schedule and installation is just for us. As we get later this week, it'll be focused on Western."

That's a difference from the program Michigan faces in the second week of the season: Notre Dame. Irish coach Charlie Weis told media in South Bend that they planned to spend a period of practice each day this week preparing for either Michigan or Michigan State.

Never mind the Irish play Nevada first. When asked if he was surprised by this, Rodriguez didn't have much of a response.

"Yeah, I guess," Rodriguez said. "Everybody does their own thing.

"Our focus has been in camp so far on us."

Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan basketball for He can be reached at (734) 623-2558, by e-mail at or on Twitter @mikerothstein.


U-M, B.S., 1994

Fri, Aug 28, 2009 : 4:23 p.m.

I wouldn't mind seeing a return to Bo's way of taking a little time each practice to prepare for OSU.


Sat, Aug 22, 2009 : 6:08 p.m.

First of all, Sheridan has a very good chance of starting the season #1. Why? He's getting way too many reps in practice with the first unit. RR is obvioulsy no Einstein but why would he put a true Freshman out there with the pressure of losing the home opener three years in a row? Most importantly, he has a commitment from the #2 spread qb in the country for 2010 in Gardner. He's your hope. You had a 5 star recruit (there are only 25 a year) in Mallet. A good coach develops a system around his players. Not bring down 40 yrs of tradition to start doing things his way. But I'm loving every minute of it!!!!


Fri, Aug 21, 2009 : 9:06 a.m.

redceder1, lets compare apples to apples. Threet and Sheridan are nothing like Forcier and Robinson. These QB's may be freshman and will most likely need a year or so to get adjusted to college life in general but they are RR's recruits. You try playing a spread offense with pro-style QB's and see how well they do.


Fri, Aug 21, 2009 : 12:35 a.m.

Hey redceder, Brother you have anything better to do than troll. You hate the BLUE this much after a 3-9 season... what cha gunna do when they turn it round? Because you know it's already happening! Can YA feel it! Your a PUDKNOCKER at best.


Thu, Aug 20, 2009 : 8:38 p.m.

Get used to it blue fans. You will have a new "Freshman Sensation" QB next year trying to figure out richie's system.


Thu, Aug 20, 2009 : 6:16 p.m.

I like it that RR preps for the opener for two weeks. It may explain why they were able to play top ten Utah so close last year. In retrospect, it would appear that Utah should have blown them out, but they barely beat a team that would eventually go 3-9. At least we don't have to worry about UM not taking WMU seriously.


Thu, Aug 20, 2009 : 6:13 p.m.

Ricky wrote: "I think in terms of the public perception of him, Rich Rod just shoots himself in the foot." Not really. Most of the negative "public perception" in Ann Arbor is one troll who masquerades as about a hundred people. The actual UM fanbase knows the magnitude of the job RR faces and is patient. "Who would say they don't know whats going on. Lie to us, tell us our defense is close to being game ready, that's just ridiculous." And if he lied to us, you would criticize him for being "dishonest." "Still, I'd like to think he's got a great turnaround season up his sleeve." If you are sincere, then you should be really happy after about the first seven or eight games.


Thu, Aug 20, 2009 : 5:05 p.m.

It is funny how fans want to know all the teams secrets and at the same time keep the opposing team in the dark... C'mon, RR tell us everything, we can keep a secret. RR's straight forward comments are refreshing. Better than the insincere coach speak we're used to hearing.


Thu, Aug 20, 2009 : 4:08 p.m.

Guys, guys,guys. Thats why they play the games. Did any of you watch the BTN football tour of us?? They hardly showed anything. Why as a head coach would you want the media to be all over everything you do. If I was coaching I would tell the media the same stuff Coach Rod does. Tell them the whole team is battling to get ready, tell em you hope things are getting better. Because it boils down to what happens ON THE FIELD TURF. And I have a feeling Coach knows a whole lot more than what he is leading on.

Macabre Sunset

Thu, Aug 20, 2009 : 2:12 p.m.

That explains the disaster that was the defense, even with some skilled veterans last season. The head coach doesn't even know what's going on in practice with the defense. Days like this, I wonder if RichRod might be better suited for Arena2.