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Posted on Tue, Sep 8, 2009 : 12:27 p.m.

The running? Rich Rodriguez wants his quarterbacks to carry less

By Dave Birkett

Michigan quarterbacks Tate Forcier, Denard Robinson and Nick Sheridan combined for 23 rushing attempts in last week's season-opening win over Western Michigan. That's more than Terrelle Pryor, Juice Williams and Darryl Clark combined, and more than Wolverines coach Rich Rodriguez wants going forward.

"That’s probably more than we’re accustomed to," Rodriguez said. "We probably gave more, particularly to Denard in the first game, just so they would get the experience."

Robinson finished with a team-best 74 yards on 11 carries. Forcier also had 11 rushes for 37 yards. Carlos Brown led all Michigan running backs with 10 carries for 54 yards.

Quarterbacks carried the ball on 46 percent of Michigan's rushing plays (23 of 50). Illinois (42 percent) was the only other Big Ten team to use its quarterback on more than a quarter of its attempts.

Rodriguez said some of last week's runs came on broken passing plays, something he doesn't want to discourage in his young signal callers.

"By the time it gets after your third read, I’d rather you take off and your fourth read is running," Rodriguez said. "You want to keep your quarterback's eyes downfield, I think that’s important. But I think it’s important his eyes are downfield so he knows whether to run it or throw it. And if he can keep positive yards and get out of negative plays in the passing game if everybody’s covered, than that’s a good thing."



Wed, Sep 9, 2009 : 12:51 p.m.

When the offense is in high gear and the spread option takes off, look for the QB to run 10-15 times a game, and this offense to run the ball 65-70 percent of the time.


Tue, Sep 8, 2009 : 8:17 p.m.

If RR says he wants them to run less, then that sounds like the proper action to take. If this team continues to improve at the rate they did Saturday, I'll take his word for however he says his QB's should play.


Tue, Sep 8, 2009 : 6:07 p.m.

i agree they need to run less, and both tate and denard need to protect the ball by tucking it when they run. hopefully when brandon gets back, we'll see more run from tail backs in the mix. can't help but think they pulled the run playbook against wmu to break in the frosh qbs, and the nd game will have more of a (non-qb) run mix like the spring game did.


Tue, Sep 8, 2009 : 6:01 p.m.

My goodness. You guys are so pessimistic about UM and the QB situation that you'd almost think you were all the same person. Tate Forcier has been a great QB at every level he has played, and knows where to hold or throw the ball when it counts. As for DRob, when the passing game "slows down" for him like the running game already has, he will start seeing those first two reads. Since he is such a threat to run, it will open up the field for him in the passing game. All he has to do is get a little better at throwing the ball, and he will; that is one reason why UM spends so much money on a coaching staff. Anyway, have a little faith. The QB situation is light-years ahead of where it was last year.


Tue, Sep 8, 2009 : 4:01 p.m.

Agreed with both jmb and 81. Tate looks like the man. But he's small and wiry. It won't take long before he gets busted up, if he keeps running like that. Where's the option? Where are the backs?


Tue, Sep 8, 2009 : 3:52 p.m.

I think RR is right definitely. It's great when the QB takes off and gets a long gain. But over the long run, that will result in more injured QB's. As much as we need to take advantage of Denard's blazing speed, if he runs too much, A) the other team will start to expect it, and B) he'll get knocked out of the game eventually. And Tate just isn't physically big enough to continually take hits in the Big Ten. I agree with jimb about Tate. He'll learn when he gets the ball knocked out of his hand a couple of times. The other teams watch films, and it won't take them long to figure out he's carrying the ball like that. But, I like what I see so far. As these guys get experience, Michigan will continue to get better.


Tue, Sep 8, 2009 : 3:18 p.m.

I thought Tate looked super in his first game. However, a couple of photo shots showed him starting to run while holding the ball out in one hand far from his body. This concerned me but he did not fumble so all is well. Anyone else concerned? Jimb