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Posted on Thu, Nov 12, 2009 : 6:39 p.m.

Michigan's starting quarterback may be a question mark

By Dave Birkett

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 He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.



Fri, Nov 13, 2009 : 11:23 p.m.

Mgoblog...a normally "reputable source" has reported repeatedly that Fred Jackson is going to move on after this season. "Wiseass"? well that would be mgoblog then, cause they said it.


Fri, Nov 13, 2009 : 9:13 p.m.

M Fans, Let's stop a breath for a minute. Let's not let this present situation cloud our overall judgment! I am not talking so much about the season, what I am talking about are the moronic posts by some who are just trying to rattle our collective cages for their own amusement. What am I talking about? For starters, the wise-guy (I'd use much stronger language, but I don't want my post removed) who claims that Fred Jackson is leaving after this season. More importantly, the so called experts who have started this rumor that Tate Forcier is transferring out of here after the end of this season. Let's look at the facts, this so called transfer rumor started when a MSU FAN (that's right, good old MSU fan) by the name of MichState04 posted this by claiming he heard it 3rd hand on WDFN that Tate's dad is urging him to transfer. Well besides that post having absolutely no merit whatsoever, Tate forcier's dad (on espn) quelled that by saying, it was LUDICROUS. Anyone who wants both links, just ask. But Google news it and you can find it. Anyway, what does a MSU fan know about Michigan football let alone any football? As a grad from M and one who bleeds Maize and Blue, I always had two teams that I despised (ND and OSU). I never really had a problem with MSU, until this year. Their fans are just complete jerks who have absolutely no objectivity when it comes to talking football, let alone M football. Let's GO BLUE!


Fri, Nov 13, 2009 : 1:24 p.m.

Bring back Justin Feagin!


Fri, Nov 13, 2009 : 12:58 p.m.

What I find even more disturbing is the fact that so called "Michigan fans" have sipped so much of this Kool-Aid, they refuse to see the destruction of the Michigan program happening before their eyes. Instead, I keep hearing words used to describe RRod's critics as "hate" or "venom." I don't recall that being concerned for one's program / tradition and defending it from a current coaching staff is "hate" or "venom." Interesting how many so called "fans" stick to the same rhetoric without proper analysis of the situation. "Just give him time, just give him time..." "His system needs more time and the right players..." Really? Many coaches have different styles while accomodating the skill sets of the current personnel. Yet, RRod's system is the most unflexible system I have ever seen. He doens't adapat, and he has ZERO involvement with the defensive side of the ball. Also, factor in the overall low morale of this team. His players look like they've seen a ghost on the sidelines as they are getting blown out, and RRod's press conferences leave a lot to be desired as far as enunciation is concerned. This man is not a good fit, period. As we, as Michigan fans, should understand that this is about much more than wins and losses. This is about having a well-rounded football coach with a good track record in all facets of coaching.


Fri, Nov 13, 2009 : 12:19 p.m.

What I find disturbing is the venom and hate directed at our football coaching staff, referring to them as hillbillies and worse. I can guarantee you that Bo would not condone the kind of backbiting and undermining that is going on here at and on local talk radio. I have been a fan (and alum) since 1969 and am appalled that folks who describe themselves as loyal fans are so unsupportive. You can bet that all this negative talk affects the young men who are representing us every Saturday afternoon this fall. They may not be winning as many games as we are used to, but there are many reasons for that and some certainly can be laid at the feet of the coaches. But we need to support our team for the rest of this season and the coaching staff deserves at least 4-5 years to develop their program.


Fri, Nov 13, 2009 : 12:18 p.m.

You kids need a life football is a game tell you make money doing it.


Fri, Nov 13, 2009 : 11:55 a.m.

Both QBs are short and struggle seeing passing lanes over the bigger linemen. Denard really hasn't had a chance to pass the ball much. Look at his stats and the situation for those stats. His bad int that folks talk about came at the end of a game in which he didn't play a lot and then came in to try to win it. That has been RR's fault because in the first 5-6 games when he put Denard in, he only had him run the ball. You have to get experience passing to show passing skills. He appears to have a strong arm but he also has happy feet so when the pressure comes he runs to his right........ Tate is worn out from the physical punishment this offense puts on a QB. He is not big enough yet to sustain that pounding. He is not experienced enough to see that coaches have schemed to take away his favorite moves (scramble up, run parallel to line of scrimmage until you see a passing lane and pass to someone). Teams box him in as they know he struggles seeing the lanes and he throws terrible passes when boxed in. He throws beautiful passes when he can execute his go-to move. Michigan is easy to scout and that is why they lose. The offense has scored but the defense gives up more. In the end, winning is all that counts and the Big 10 coaches have shown that they outcoach RR's coaches as they make adjustments and win. The Indiana game was a squeaker and yet we celebrate it as a victory. The powers of the conference beat the snide out of Indiana. Another subpar, unfulfilling year under RR. He holds the streak for breaking streaks. How many more first time in XX years will he have before the season is over?


Fri, Nov 13, 2009 : 11:23 a.m.

Play Denard the whole game, he'll gain 75 gards rushing on 20 carries, go 9-22 passing for 97 yards and 3 interceptions and we lose 42-10.. Play Tate the whole game and he'll gain 17 yards rushing on 12 attempts, go 20-30 passing for 155 yards and one interception, and we lose 42-17.. Play Bob the plumber and we lose 42-10.. Use the single wing and we lose 42-7.. (not that I'm bitter or anything)


Fri, Nov 13, 2009 : 11:04 a.m.

It does matter who starts. If Tate starts, Wisconsin will have to defend the run and the pass. If Denard starts, Wisconsin can put 9 or 10 in the box and expect the run.


Fri, Nov 13, 2009 : 10:23 a.m.

BlueMom. I forgot that about the Indiana game and I do sincerely apologize for my grave error. My point remains, however, that M will not be a significant factor in the B10 with Tater at he helm. The spread offence automatically expose a QB to being hit. Tater cannot take a big hit, not consistently anyway. MSU has some hard hitting DBs and they along will wipe him out. FYI: I am a M Man.


Fri, Nov 13, 2009 : 9:43 a.m.

One only has to review the Rutgers QB play last night and see that a freshman QB can win games. TF is the scapegoat for a not-so-good OL and a very bad defense.


Fri, Nov 13, 2009 : 9:04 a.m.

Zulu, don't get me wrong...I don't think Tate is great either, I just think he's the overall better option. I myself am intrigued with the idea that Gardner is working hard to be able to enroll in January and be a part of the spring practices. I think he is the qb of the future and the other 2 will be backups


Fri, Nov 13, 2009 : 8:49 a.m.

Zulu -- why do you keep posting that Tate hasn't won a Big 10 game yet?? What about Indiana??? Has Indiana left the Big 10??? If memory serves -- Tate made a VERY big play to save that game for us....


Fri, Nov 13, 2009 : 8:02 a.m.

Chosen1. How many times have Tater fumbled at at crucial times in the game. How, many times have Tater shown that he cannot take a good hit. He's so predictable that other teams have finally figured out that little fake cut back move that he has and they have shut it down. Tater, showed some little tricks when he was playing against lesser talents but now that he's playing against the big boys, his real talent level is showing. Personally, I hope Tater starts Saturday and next week against OSU


Fri, Nov 13, 2009 : 7:20 a.m.

I wasn't aware Fred Jackson was leaving the M staff. I believe his son is committed to the wolverines


Fri, Nov 13, 2009 : 7:17 a.m.

wolverine73 Why don't you do all of us a favor and end your season now? Maybe you need to jump on somebody elses bandwagon and stop pretending to be a true blue wolverine fan. RR has won everywhere he has been. He hasn't gotten off to the best start, but we need to give him at least another year to get things right. It is a waste of time for all of you pretend wolverine fans to keep harping on firning RR, it isn't going to happen


Fri, Nov 13, 2009 : 7:09 a.m.

Fred Jackson won't leave unless rich fires him since his son is a commitment for next year. Shoelace isn't getting the benefit of the doubt cause the last time he played he fumbled the ball away and threw an horrible int. So he can run occassionally for big gains, He can't throw throw the ball. And he would be wise to transfer if he wants to be a qb, but since Michigan was the only D1 school to offer him as a QB, then he'll have to settle for a D2 or FCS schools. Anyone that would guarentee 2 wins in the last 2 games is all talk and wouldn't dare place a dime of money on the game. People that hate on posters who express frustration need to understand that not everything is rosy and this isn't the Big East where Rich got his ten win seasons after Miami, Va Tech, and BC left for the ACC. Maybe if the Big Ten took OSU, Penn St, and Wisky away Michigan could own the conference next year.


Fri, Nov 13, 2009 : 5:37 a.m.

What's wrong if Shoelace starts the game on Saturday? Tater has won a B10 game yet. Plus, he's probably hurt or this may be RR way of throwing off Wisconsin. Who knows. Part of the problem with Shoelace is that RR has not allowed this young man to get into any type of rhythm the whole season, so what stands out is his mistakes. I've seen his arm and we know he can run. Give him a chance at this point in the season. M will not be going ot any bowls so it can't hurt. My only concern is that if Shoelace starts and M loses the game the fricking posters will blame Shoelace and scare the hell out of RR so he will never give this you man a chance. If I was Shoelace, I would seriously be consider leaving at the end of this season. It's obvious that the M fans are not ready for him. They rather lose with Tater that give Shoelace a chance.


Fri, Nov 13, 2009 : 2:39 a.m.

Geeze what a Freakin' Mess. I don't blame Fred Jackson for leaving at the end of this season.


Fri, Nov 13, 2009 : 2:24 a.m.

I just hope they play well in both games. The offense is going to have to carry this team and if they can stop these dumb game killing turnovers than I think they could score over 30 on WI. Though I know they will make some mistakes so I would predict WI 31 UM 17.


Thu, Nov 12, 2009 : 11:02 p.m.

What about the rumor of RRod and his hillbilly crew getting to the hell out of Ann Arbor at the end of the season? Oh, nevermind... wishful thinking..


Thu, Nov 12, 2009 : 10:28 p.m.

Tate is starting...he told me so


Thu, Nov 12, 2009 : 10:27 p.m.

No, it doesn't matter who starts. The defense will not stop anything. Wisconsin's tight end play will kill us like Iowa & Penn State did. Denard will lose at lease one fumble, throw at least one interception, and make some great runs but it won't matter. We are going to finish at 5-7 and get thoroughly trounced by both Wisconsin and Ohio State. We are now trapped by poor decisions made in early '08. If we get rid of Rodriquez soon we need to hire someone who runs the same system or fall further behind. If we keep him we are going to fall farther and farther because obviously he can't coach in the big time. No adjustments that make any difference are made during the game and we keep giving up big plays. Rodriquez and his whole crony bunch of coaches need to go NOW. Before we are ruined for twenty years. All of our history and what we have built for the past thirty years is being destroyed. I can only imagine what Bo would say about all of this. I'm surprised we can't hear him bellowing down from above on Saturdays. This season can't end too soon.


Thu, Nov 12, 2009 : 9:53 p.m.

They need to put that fast offense stuff on the shelf until we get a few guys that can play defense. Can someone tell RRod that? Seems like common sense...

Dave Birkett

Thu, Nov 12, 2009 : 9:25 p.m.

My bad on Minor/Graham. Just typing too quick for my mind. It's been corrected. And ouch, Macabre.

Macabre Sunset

Thu, Nov 12, 2009 : 9:18 p.m.

More importantly, what about the rumor that Denard Robinson is a quarterback?


Thu, Nov 12, 2009 : 9:09 p.m.

what about the rumor that has bill martin resigning?


Thu, Nov 12, 2009 : 8:55 p.m.

"Michigan also released its official injury report Thursday, and neither Brandon Graham (ankle, shoulder) nor Carlos Brown (knee) was listed. Both have been hobbled by injuries much of the season." I think this should've read "Brandon Minor", not Brandon Graham. Thankfully, Brandon Graham has been healthy all season.