Tate Forcier a punter, too? Don't count on it
There's a reason Tate Forcier looked so comfortable on his first career punt in Saturday's 38-34 win over Notre Dame - he's done it before.
Forcier, Michigan's true freshman quarterback, doubled as a punter (and defensive back) for his high school team in California, and Wolverines coach Rich Rodriguez said Forcier worked occasionally on the skill during fall camp.
"He's very good at it," Rodriguez said.
For that reason, Rodriguez didn't hesitate to call a quick kick on a crucial fourth-and-2 near midfield late in Saturday's third quarter.
After Kelvin Grady was stopped for a 3-yard gain on third down, Michigan's offense lined up as it normally would, without a huddle, for an offensive play. Forcier took the snap, rolled a few steps to his right and, with Notre Dame's regular defense still on the field, pooched the ball with his right foot.
The punt traveled 49 yards in the air, landed at the Irish 12-yard line, and was touched dead at the 4 by Greg Mathews for a net 50-yard kick that both caught Notre Dame off-guard and changed the field-position battle.
“I don’t want to give you all the reasons why (we quick kicked), just the situation was fourth down, you don’t really want to go for it and sometimes you can try and quick kick it before they’re ready," Rodriguez said. "If we do it on third down, you better check my pulse. We’ll never do it on third down, but on fourth down, that’s something that’s in our package."
Though he's the unofficial Big Ten leader in punting, Forcier said he's not angling for teammate and preseason All-American Zoltan Mesko's job.
"I might have got lucky on that one punt," Forcier joked Monday. "But better to be lucky than good."