Tate Forcier fine, will make road debut Saturday against Michigan State
Tate Forcier winced in pain when a teammate gave him a congratulatory slap on the right shoulder after Michigan’s game-winning touchdown drive Saturday against Indiana.But Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said Monday that Forcier did not suffer a serious injury and will be under center for this week’s showdown with rival Michigan State.
“The trainers feel pretty confident he’ll be fine in a couple of days,” Rodriguez said.
Forcier was expected to take part in Monday’s practice on a limited basis. Rodriguez described the injury as “a bruise or just a little sore shoulder,” and said Forcier would practice “handoffs and maybe some of the shorter throws, but probably won’t do any of the deep throws.”
The true freshman has led two game-winning, fourth-quarter touchdown drives this year and has 23rd-ranked Michigan off to its first 4-0 start since 2006.
Injured or not, coaches and teammates insist they’re not worried about Forcier’s well-being heading into his first road game at MSU (1-3).
“If he can play in front of 100,000, I think he’ll be all right at Spartan Stadium,” fullback Kevin Grady said. “I think Tate will be fine. He’ll do what he’s been doing week in and week out.”
Said quarterbacks coach Rod Smith, “I don’t want to sound brash, because I’m not, just the kid, that doesn’t bother him. That doesn’t bother him at all.
“I’m more concerned about him than I am what the road has in store for him. I’m more concerned about him playing well and doing what he needs to do to make it successful than what is in store for us in Lansing.”
Still, Michigan will simulate crowd noise in practice this week to help replicate the road experience.
The Wolverines have not played outside Michigan Stadium this year after going 1-4 on the road last season, and Rodriguez said he’s concerned about his team’s ability to communicate in a hostile environment.
“Maybe if you went to a stadium that wasn’t going to be packed and intense or something, it would be easier to ease the young guys into it,” Rodriguez said. “But that’s not the situation we’re in. When you get in an environment like that, whether you’re home or on the road, it gets those competitive juices flowing. It’s a very, very intense rivalry, so I think both teams will be fired up.”
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 email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.