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Posted on Mon, Sep 20, 2010 : 5:42 p.m.

Left tackle job up for grabs on Michigan football team, Tate Forcier still in this year's plans and more

By Pete Bigelow


Michigan offensive lineman Taylor Lewan (77) gives quarterback Denard Robinson a lift prior to kickoff of Saturday's game against UMass. Lewan gave his team a lift at the end of the game, too, playing the last 20 offensive snaps. He is challenging Mark Huyge for the starting left tackle spot.

Melanie Maxwell |

As a long-time friend, Craig Roh is happy to see teammate Taylor Lewan climbing up the depth chart of the Michigan football team. As his practice opponent, it means some frustration.

“He’s finding a happy medium between being aggressive and holding a lot,” said Roh, who attended Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Ariz., with Lewan.

Coaches like that aggressiveness.

Lewan, 6-foot-8 and 294 pounds, played the last 20 offensive snaps of the UMass game at left tackle, and he could unseat Mark Huyge as the starter there.

“He’s played well, to the point that it’s Huyge or Lewan,” coach Rich Rodriguez said Monday. “That’s definitely to be determined later in the week.” In summer camp, Lewan, a redshirt freshman, saw action at both right and left tackle. But since the start of the season, he’s exclusively worked in practice on the left side of the offensive line.

He debuted against Notre Dame, playing all of one play. Against UMass on Saturday, he got his first significant playing time -- and taste of the Big House crowd.

“It felt great,” Lewan said. “You never realize what it’s like until you’re in front of 100,000 fans. … I’m excited to keep playing.”

Bowling Green QB doubtful

When Bowling Green comes to Ann Arbor on Saturday, it will likely be without one of its most productive players.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Matt Schilz, who started the first three games of the season, suffered a sprained shoulder in the Falcons' 44-28 win over Marshall and is unlikely to play against Michigan.

“It’s a little bit of a fluid situation,” Bowling Green head coach Dave Clawson said. “It depends on where Matt is. My guess is that he’s not going to be available this week.”

Schilz has completed 70 of 108 passes for 664 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions this season. His replacement, 6-foot-6 redshirt sophomore Aaron Pankratz, went 5 of 8 with a touchdown and an interception against Marshall.


Tate Forcier

Forcier remains part of plan

Despite the fact one quarter of the season is gone and Devin Gardner is the only backup quarterback to see action this season, Rich Rodriguez says Tate Forcier remains part of his 2010 plans.

Asked Monday if he would consider red-shirting the sophomore who started all 12 games last season, Rodriguez said, “No, Tate is probably in the mix still to play. I’ve been pleased with his attitude, and he’s still getting better, as is Devin.”

Rodriguez anticipates there will be situations where the Wolverines use multiple quarterbacks in a game. He just hasn’t had the chance yet, given the way the first three games have transpired.

Injury report

Rodriguez expects freshman safety Marvin Robinson will play against Bowling Green. Hybrid safety-linebacker Carvin Johnson is questionable. Linebacker Brandon Herron remains doubtful.

Running back Fitzgerald Toussaint didn’t play against UMass, but is probable for the Bowling Green game. Rodriguez hopes to add Toussaint, Michael Cox and/or freshman Stephen Hopkins to his running back rotation.

A matter of personal preference

Doug Rogan replaced Drew Dileo as the Wolverines’ holder on field-goal attempts and extra points Saturday. Rodriguez said the change was a matter of personal preference.

Brendan Gibbons, who kicked for Michigan for much of the first two games, likes working with Dileo, while redshirt freshman Seth Broekhuizen prefers Rogan.

Pete Bigelow can be reached at (734) 623-2556, via email at and followed on Twitter @PeterCBigelow.



Wed, Sep 22, 2010 : 7 p.m.

No Skipit, I'm not Dave Brandon. If I were, RR would already be gone. I am, however, an alum who is very disappointed with the poor quality of play from the football team and the NCAA violations that have hit MY school.


Wed, Sep 22, 2010 : 8:28 a.m.

GoblueinNE_PA I guess you must be Dave Brandon. It sounds like you have already made your decision to fire RR if he doesn't have a winning record this season. Way to go, Dave!


Wed, Sep 22, 2010 : 6:54 a.m.

HK That's the same line we've been hearing about RR since he got here, "wait till next year, then we'll compete for...". That excuse is just that, an excuse. He win's this year, and frankly wins big, or he's gone. It's year 3 and what's on the field is on him. RichRod owns this team and the product that it is putting forth, him and only him.

Sean T.

Tue, Sep 21, 2010 : 11:12 p.m.

Trueblue, I can agree that Robinson may be better for this offense because against average athletes he can beat them by his legs alone. He's not wowing anyone with his passing and he hasn't faced a defensive front that can bring pressure without blitzing. Tate unfortunately, has not had the blocking that Robinson's had but still garnered heisman attention(at least by the fans)also. The only thing Robinson has over Tate is the "legs" and Tate ain't no slouch in the running department either. But Robinson's speed has hidden his flaws until the weather gets cold and the heart of the Big Ten season has set in. What will prove his true worth is when we're behind, can he throw us back in the game because for pete's sake.....he is a QB! We will soon see, I guess?


Tue, Sep 21, 2010 : 6:52 p.m.

"If he has any common sense at all, he'll transfer because being Denard Robinson's back-up for his whole collegiate career would be ridiculous, especially when he's a better all-around QB!" I believe Denard will prove to be the better all around QB for this offense. Comparing the first three games from last year and this year, it's Denard, and it's not even close. If we get a sizeable lead on BGSU in the second half, I think Devin and Tate are going to play.

Sean T.

Tue, Sep 21, 2010 : 4:51 p.m.

This is complete nonsense, to say Tate Forcier is going to play some time this year. He will not touch the field without injury, trickplay or blow-out. Then you have to factor in that he's still behind Devin Gardner who's yet to throw a collegiate pass. What sense would it make to place Gardner,Robinson and Forcier in the backfield at the same time? I have been a Tate supporter since he arrived but I know in my heart he will not play for the Wolverines again. If he has any common sense at all, he'll transfer because being Denard Robinson's back-up for his whole collegiate career would be ridiculous, especially when he's a better all-around QB!


Tue, Sep 21, 2010 : 12:23 p.m.

Yeah tate is in the plans, as a back-up QB.


Tue, Sep 21, 2010 : 10:55 a.m.

The defense can't pressure opposing quarterbacks (or won't blitz.. probably a bit of both). The secondary is every bit as decimated as we all expected. UMass was blowing holes in our three-man line and form tackling was spotty at best (Mouton, Roh and Martin the exceptions)...add to that the total absence of a field-goal threat and you've got a formula for problems come Big-Ten games. The offense will have to hang 50-plus on some opponents to win. Sad that the University of Michigan football program has put out a call to the student body for a kicker. Honestly? Nobody over the past couple seasons EVER looked at special teams and said "Hey, we should probably have a quality kicker on this team."?


Tue, Sep 21, 2010 : 9:55 a.m.

you fire-hire folks crack me up. You're the same people that are always chanting for the back-up quarterback to come in and save the day.


Tue, Sep 21, 2010 : 9:14 a.m.

THIS IS TO EVERYONE WHO WANTS TO FIRE RICH ROD. what do we know after his two seasons? and three games. 1. RR can take a traditional pro style offense and insert his spread attack offense which everyone can see that it looks like its going well. Also yes it took three years but he had to recruit the players he neeeded that doesnt happen over night. 2. He has what he needs now on offense(DROB) now it will take a little time to progress into something great. 3. Its looking hopefully like a 8-4 season, if rich rod starts 6-0 then we should give him a two year extention. REASON WHY: bringing Harbaugh in would only set us back because he would have to install his offense. And 6 wins means a bowl game...! and we should have 8 wins. Recruits who are wondering if RR will be fired will be reassured that he will still be there. There are BIG recruits waiting to see if we will start winning and if we will have the same coach. so the extension would be great. 4.The defense will only get better were so young and troy will be back next year. We need to give it just two more years next year we should be contending for a big bowl and a big ten chamionship next year. Getting rid of RR this year would be the worst decision The University of Michigan could ever make..GO BLUE!!!


Tue, Sep 21, 2010 : 8:25 a.m.

Fire Rich-Rod at the end of the season and HIRE HARBAUGH! Don't let another program (or NFL team) snatch him up first. He has Stanford playing like a top 10 team and he does it the right way. BRING HARBAUGH HOME in 2011!!!


Tue, Sep 21, 2010 : 7:59 a.m.

U-M should set up a recruiting office across the street from Chaparral High. They have another national top 100 team this year and seem to crank out division 1 prospects like McDonalds puts out hamburgers. Lewan and Roh are two really good players who will both probably be All Big 10 before they're done. I wonder if Chaparral has any good linebackers this year?


Tue, Sep 21, 2010 : 7:55 a.m.

As everyone knows, U-M has a very good offense but a poor defense. Defense appears to be an afterthought with this coaching staff. Until they can play some defense, the following is inevitable at the end of the season: Very good offense + poor defense = mediocre team

Thomas Jones

Tue, Sep 21, 2010 : 7:27 a.m.

Pete, what about the Defense?


Tue, Sep 21, 2010 : 5:21 a.m.

IU's going to be a LOT tougher than most people think. They have a very good offense and it will come down to who wins the ToP. If IU can get a decent running game going, it's going to be a VERY long afternoon.

Macabre Sunset

Tue, Sep 21, 2010 : 12:17 a.m.

Bowling Green should be easier than UMass, especially if their quarterback is out. Indiana's the test. I'm still projecting a loss there and a 5-7 finish. But I'd love a pleasant surprise.


Mon, Sep 20, 2010 : 9:06 p.m.

Regardless of what happens this season, fire Rick Rod and hire Jim Harbaugh!


Mon, Sep 20, 2010 : 7:55 p.m.

How many times are the reporters going to hear how RR is going to work in the other backs before you pull out the BS card and play it? I mean, c'mon man, this is just a bunch of crap he keeps feeding you and us. Unless it becomes a complete blow out, like last year's D State game, or Shaw/Smith get seriously injured, you won't see Toussant, Cox, or anyone else.


Mon, Sep 20, 2010 : 7:29 p.m.

HK, yes, UM will be 5-0 at the end of the IU Game and IU will be 3-1


Mon, Sep 20, 2010 : 7:22 p.m.

Can Tate Kick? UM will start 6-0, and coast to an 8-4 finish.


Mon, Sep 20, 2010 : 6:52 p.m.

3 and out..overall when the clocks hit zero down in indiana will michigan be 5-0?


Mon, Sep 20, 2010 : 6:47 p.m.

Can Tate play defense? Lot's of opportunities there.

3 And Out

Mon, Sep 20, 2010 : 6:39 p.m.

HK...should be a shootout at IU...Chappell is pretty good and has a host of weapons like Doss and a good running game...IU is not very good on defense however and they will probably struggle with our finesse offense lead by the great D Rob. If D Rob goes down though, well theyd better put Tate in there vs. IU. No predictions yet but it will be close and a shootout.


Mon, Sep 20, 2010 : 6:26 p.m.

If all players are in for this weeks game, Michigan should be okay,Get better Matt Schilz, playing as a freshman against a really big school and over 110,000 people is nervousness and PRETTY cool. GO BLUE!!!!!


Mon, Sep 20, 2010 : 6:16 p.m.

Does anyone know how are poor defense will match up against ben chappel and indiana? Also are run defense was terrible against umass and i think umass's run game resembles michigan states as in of play calling and design. now knowing michigan state is way better at what they do then umass how will we stop themm??!!


Mon, Sep 20, 2010 : 5:55 p.m.

I like Pete's work! He sticks to the facts and details, and when he does an opinion piece, or a specualtive piece, he keeps it real and highlights the good and bad, not just the least that seems to be the case from my perspective. When I click the links I always look to see who's stuff I'm reading, and Pete always seems spot in, even if the subject is a negative one. Keeps me coming back!


Mon, Sep 20, 2010 : 5:35 p.m.

Pete Bigelow, good job with the notes, those are the kind of notes anyone would love to use. I bet you loaned your notes out alot in school.