Tate Forcier will start Saturday against Western Michigan
Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said on his radio show Thursday that true freshman Tate Forcier will start at quarterback in Saturday's season opener against Western Michigan.
"It was so close," Rodriguez said. "There was a lot of give and take and going back and forth, and really it was the performances maybe he did in the scrimmages. But really I'll tell you it was so, so close for us and we felt comfortable we could put any three of them in there."
Rodriguez said Forcier will take the first snap, but said down and distance will dictate who plays after that.
He said he considers all three quarterbacks - Forcier, fellow freshman Denard Robinson and junior Nick Sheridan - starters. All three are expected to play Saturday.
"I met with them after practice today ... and said, 'I've never been in this situation before, but I feel fortunate and all three of you have done various things to earn the right to go out there first, so I don't want you to think you're not a starting quarterback,'" Rodriguez said. "But somebody has to take the first play and so I told them that Tate will take the first play, but the second play may be Denard or Nick or whoever. Those guys are so competitive, but they're such team guys I feel very, very good about it."
Rodriguez said Sheridan has improved greatly since last fall, when he started four games, and Robinson is as fast as any quarterback he's ever coached. But Forcier won the job by showing "the ability to thrive under pressure" with "some outstanding scrimmages."
Also on the show, Rodriguez said running back Brandon Minor remains questionable for Saturday after limping through Thursday's practice.
"We're going to let him go through warm-ups and if he feels like it's OK, he can get through it, and he feels like he can play at 100 percent then fine," Rodriguez said. "But if he's anything less than that, he's not going to play."
Secondary coach Tony Gibson also defended Rodriguez against allegations Michigan violated NCAA rules by overworking its players.
"It's just hard to sit back and watch," Gibson said, his voice cracking with emotion. "I know (what) he does for his players, his coaches, his family, my family, the staff's families, and the work that he puts in and then ... Just false things have come up, we're not a family, we're not this. We've heard so many things and that's the furthest from the truth as anything I've heard."