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Posted on Mon, Aug 2, 2010 : 2:56 p.m.

Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez declares quarterback competition 'wide open'

By Michael Rothstein


Michigan quarterbacks Devin Gardner, left, Denard Robinson, center, and Tate Forcier will compete for the starting job at Michigan when practice begins.

Lon Horwedel |

CHICAGO - Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez stood in the Hyatt Regency at the Big Ten Conference media days a year ago, declaring he didn’t know who was his starting quarterback.

A year later and a couple of miles south at McCormick Place, the theme continues. Sophomore quarterbacks Denard Robinson and Tate Forcier are still competing for the job Forcier won a year ago.

“Really, it’s a wide-open competition,” Rodriguez said Monday. “It was in spring. Certainly Tate and Denard both got a lot of experience last year as true freshmen.”

Forcier started every game in 2009, but Robinson played and appeared to emerge in the spring at least as Forcier’s equal.

Forcier began the season strong, winning his first four games. He finished the season completing 165 of 281 passes for 2,050 yards, 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Robinson, in spot duty, completed 14 of 31 passes for 188 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions.

Going into the spring, knowing Robinson would challenge Forcier for the starting job, Rodriguez pushed Forcier verbally. Robinson kept up and in some ways surpassed Forcier physically.

And unlike last year, when Rodriguez played coy throughout the preseason with his quarterback situation, he said he hopes Forcier, Robinson or freshman Devin Gardner takes control of the position in time for the Sept. 4 season opener against Connecticut.

“I think that competition is going to be healthy,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve said it several times. Our goal is to have at least two guys at every position that we feel we can win with.

“I think we can have that at quarterback.”

One thing is certain. Whether Forcier or Robinson wins the job, Robinson will play - somewhere.

“We fully prepared (Robinson) that if you’re not the starting quarterback, I don’t want you standing next to me 70 percent of the time on the sidelines,” Rodriguez said. “You learn quarterback and you learn other skill positions, but he’s battling for the starting quarterback job.”

Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan basketball for He can be reached at (734) 623-2558, by e-mail at or follow along on Twitter @mikerothstein.


Sean T.

Tue, Aug 3, 2010 : 10:55 a.m.

If Tate doesn't win the job after the third game I'll be disappointed. I'd bet he'd transfer back to the west coast, maybe Washington? If Denard doesn't win the job maybe he will switch positions since he surely is athletic enough to do so. Tate has won clutch games for us and Denard has had one great play in which he fumbled first!


Tue, Aug 3, 2010 : 10:34 a.m.

Isn't there an old football saying that goes along the line... if you have two QB's, you really don't have one. Swapping back and forth won't work. Rarely ever has. I don't recall many programs that have done that, and had big success. The QB has to have the belief that even if he screws up and makes a bad play, he is right back in the game. And after all the playing time that Tate had last year, if he isn't better prepared than the other two... that doesn't sound good for him. To be pulled for another QB, after playing the majority of time last year has to be bad for the ego. (of course, with Tate's ego... that might not be bad).

Sean T.

Tue, Aug 3, 2010 : 1:26 a.m.

Denard Robinson starting is a joke! Tate has his bad moments but he is a gamer, who can make plays with his arm and his feet. Denard is an athlete without poise for the QB position. Unless Denard has grown quite a bit over the summer he will not beat out Tate. Fall camp will tell the tale. Gardner will redshirt hopefully because that would hurt the team with another freshman starting at QB.


Mon, Aug 2, 2010 : 7:45 p.m.

Maybe Rich Rod should play all three of them at once? With his "Point a Minute" defense, he'll need every opportunity to score as many points as possible just to give his team a chance to win games when they give up nearly 40 points per game.


Mon, Aug 2, 2010 : 4:31 p.m.

It feels like "Shoelace"Robinson will win the battle.I really want to see what "Sholace"can bring as far as ultimate speed to the QB spot.Whomever they go with the others must be ready.Win and no one will care who the coach starts. GoBlue!!!

Jaxon Boyfriend

Mon, Aug 2, 2010 : 2:52 p.m.

Coach Mr. Rodrigeuz isn't going to come out this early and name a quarterback, are you kidding - what would this do to the others? Look for Coach to announce the starter on friday september 3rd, and if needed Tate will be ready to fill in at spots - but I don't think Tate will get much play time.