Michigan's starting quarterback may be a question mark
Michigan running backs coach Fred Jackson addressed Internet message board rumors on head coach Rich Rodriguez's radio show Thursday that Denard Robinson will start at quarterback this weekend against Wisconsin.
"All I can tell you is I know nothing about that at all," Jackson said. "Coach Rodriguez makes that decision on who’s going to start. But I have no knowledge of that at all."
Rodriguez was not asked about speculation Robinson would make his first start in place of Tate Forcier during the taped opening portion of the show.
Message boards were ablaze early Thursday with reports that Forcier would come off the bench Saturday for the first time in his career. Michigan (5-5, 1-5) has lost five straight Big Ten games and needs one more win to qualify for a bowl.
Jackson said he's seen Forcier mature as a quarterback in recent weeks.
"It's a weekly process basically because when you play against a freshman, most defensive coordinators are going to make sure they mix the coverages, mix the fronts, mix the different time to do stems," Jackson said. "He's getting a little bit better because he's played more games, and each week that you play you'll get better."
Forcier is completing 56.2 percent of his passes with 10 touchdowns and five interceptions on the year.
Robinson, who's thrown four interceptions in 22 pass attempts, played sparingly at quarterback the last two weeks and did not take a snap under center in last week's loss to Purdue. Still, his athleticism and running ability could help Michigan control the clock against the more physical Badgers, which would in turn help the Wolverines' undersized defense.
“If you can get a point where you can get him to run more or Tate to run more, what you'll find, that will help your defense because they're not on the field as much," Jackson said. "So we'll try to get some of that done."
Michigan also released its official injury report Thursday, and neither Brandon Minor (ankle, shoulder) nor Carlos Brown (knee) was listed. Both have been hobbled by injuries much of the season.
Receiver Martavious Odoms (knee) and defensive end Greg Banks (foot) were listed as probable.
Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.