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Posted on Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 6:51 p.m.

Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez: Too early to say which early enrollees will play in 2010

By Dave Birkett


Caption: Michigan football head coach Rich Rodriguez keeps watch during drills at spring practice last Tuesday afternoon.

Melanie Maxwell |

Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez offered some general thoughts on the Wolverines’ seven early enrollee freshmen before spring practice No. 4 on Tuesday:

“All those guys, their heads are spinning a little bit even though we’re trying to keep our installation simple, slow it down so everybody can concentrate on their fundamentals and techniques,” Rodriguez said. “But I like the seven guys that are in, I think they’re competing very well. But it’s too early to tell how many of those guys can helps us this fall.”

Devin Gardner, Michigan’s most high profile 2010 recruit, is running third-string at quarterback behind Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson. Rodriguez said that’s to be expected, though Gardner has improved his throwing the motion from the one he had when he caught Rodriguez’s eye at camp a few years ago.

“He did a lot of work and (the Inkster) coaching staff did a great job with him getting him to improve his fundamentals and his throwing motion,” Rodriguez said. “He still obviously has to learn all the offense and the techniques that we do in our system, but he’s gotten better in three days. But those other guys aren’t backing up. Tate and Denard aren’t backing up, so it’s going to give us a comfortable feeling if we can have three guys that can help us in certain situations.”

Robinson continues to work exclusively at quarterback for now, giving Michigan’s three receiver recruits (Jeremy Jackson, Ricardo Miller and Jerald Robinson) plenty of practice reps. At least one is expected to play next fall.

Rodriguez said he still thinks Denard Robinson “will be able to play a lot of different roles for our offense.”

“I actually met with Denard the other day and talked to him quite a bit about this: We want you to learn quarterback and learn it very well because once you learn quarterback you can play any position offensively,” Rodriguez said. “I think that’s the biggest thing with Denard is just understanding all the whys and wheres and hows of the quarterback position in this offense. And then as I mentioned to him, if he’s not the starting quarterback or he’s not playing extensively at quarterback, it doesn’t make a lot of sense if he’s one of our best skill guys to be standing next to me for 75 percent of the game.”

Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.


Sean T.

Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 11:16 p.m.

Kevin James may actually be right! I'm admittingly not a fan of RR but I hope he can turn it around for us but in the back of my mind I can't say Kevin James is flat-out wrong. What more credentials does he need? His opinions are based mostly on statistcal facts. Based on RR's recruits, I've only liked one player that has had some reps and that's Forcier. And theres 4 from this years class that I think will be good but they may never play this year.


Sat, Mar 27, 2010 : 12:29 p.m.

Kevin James, State your credentials to evaluate football talent.


Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 9:34 p.m.

Why does everyone think ND is soo good, yeah they have talent but i mean they r reallyoverratted. we dont know how brian Kelly is at a Big program against Strong competition, he doesnt have his players, i believe he'll go like RR. O yeah ND doesnt have Golden Tate, or Clausen. Who cares if it's at South Bend. Id take RR and the Wolverines any day. Ezeh might have a break out year and will hlp lead this defense. GO BLUE!!!!

Kevin James

Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 6:10 a.m.

They couldn't stop the run last year with a four man front and Brandon Graham drawing double team on every play. How are they going to do it with three D-linemen all well under 300 lbs, and three small linebackers (two of them are really safeties)? On top of that, the secondary can't cover anyone so it not like they are going to be able to throw eight in the box. Iowa, Penn State, Michigan State, Ohio State and UConn are going to run right at them all game long. They will be lucky if the can get two full possessions per quarter. Then there is Wisconsin who returns Clay, a legit starting QB and five linemen. Right there we are talking about six certain losses. Then there is a rapidly improving Purdue team. That's seven. A talented and now well coached Notre Dame team on the road is eight. In case you missed it, Michigan's offense is as bad as the defense. They got by on big plays resulting from defensive mistakes alone last year. They averaged less than 2 yards per play when the big plays are removed from the equation and you are only as good as your average, and your average makes you an average MAC team. Oh, and the turnovers, they are a feature of the offense. They will keep coming.


Thu, Mar 25, 2010 : 11:08 p.m.

Wow, sorry this guy Terry Star21, we gotta party. You are very informative, bet you are somehow on the inside or close, your so supportive of our team, so knowledgeable, then you pop a little bit of humor and bust me open. My wife came in a minute ago and said what are you laughing at so loud, I showed her your post, she didn't get it, but she said she liked to hear my laugh! Thank you Terry Star21!!!!!!!!!!!!

Terry Star21

Thu, Mar 25, 2010 : 5:02 p.m.

Just took my dog outside to do his business, whoops I stepped on a pile of Kevin James, real messy... yeck! My Dog 76.... Kevin James 0.

Kevin James

Thu, Mar 25, 2010 : 4:23 p.m.

I suggest you leave the crack in Flint where it belongs. 9 and 3? They were two biased calls from the home crew from a repeat 3 and 9 record, which is reflective of what the team actually was and what they will again be. Forcier stinks, period. Robinson can't throw, the D is terrible and getting worse year after year and now they are going to run the 3-3-5. Then will get less than ten possessions against Ohio State, Michigan State, Iowa, UConn, Penn State and Purdue and even less against Wisconsin. They suck.


Thu, Mar 25, 2010 : 3:13 p.m.

With Tate in his second season and HEALTHY we will have far less turnovers. That alone gets us 4 more wins. Examples would be rivals MSU and OSU. One less turnover in the MSU game and 2 less turnovers in the OSU game and we win both games. The other 2 examples would be Iowa at the end and Purdue. Right there we are 9 and 3 instead of 5 and 7. Everyone loves to hate, but people with real character know how to wait! My old basketball coach always used a saying which fits perfectly in most sports arenas. Good things come to those who work hard! RR and the boys are working hard and good things will happen. Some of us will be here to enjoy and others can a kite!

Kevin James

Thu, Mar 25, 2010 : 11:38 a.m.

This team is going to be lucky if they can win a Big Ten game this year. There are eight certain losses on the schedule to one certain win. That is no way to go into a year when the coach needs ten wins for the University to even consider retaining him. They were the worst team in the Big Ten last year, the defense is going to be worse this year and the offense is a joke. They could seriously go 1 and 11 this year and winless in the Big Ten. A 4 and 8 record is absolute best case.

Sean T.

Thu, Mar 25, 2010 : 2:04 a.m.

I want to see the spring game.


Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 9:23 p.m.

Wow, calling for Deborg to come back are we? Ask CMU about Deborg's coaching acumen. How about we back Gary Moeller while we're at it. The team is moving in the right direction, and anything other than football is irrelevant.

Terry Star21

Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 7:48 p.m.

Doesn't matter who he puts... we're so deep in talent....'Meeeeechigan Wins'... An all freshman team will dance through the Big Ten.... Heck, RR could put in the waterboys, seat ushers, and parking attendants.... Meeechigan Wins..... UM Freshman 310.......Big Ten 0 Gardner/Dorsey 235.....Big Ten 0 Waterboys,Ushers,Parking Att. 86.....Big Ten 0


Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 7:45 p.m.

We are definitely improving. Likely to go 4 - 4 in Big Ten play or even better.


Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 6:19 p.m.

rich you need to win now! and can you quit getting sued


Wed, Mar 24, 2010 : 6:11 p.m.

Good football story, the boys are going to tear it up this fall.