Michigan quarterback battle destined to drag into fall practice
Forcier started every game last year as a true freshman, but Robinson played with the first team during Michigan’s spring game.
“It’s wide open, it’s not just coach speak,” Rodriguez said. “Denard and Tate are right there battling for it. Denard made a lot of steps in the spring and then Devin (Gardner) coming in for the first time did pretty well. He’s still behind the guys, which you would expect because it’s his first spring. But it’s going to be an interesting battle.”
Rodriguez said he and Forcier “had several talks” this spring about the ongoing competition.
“Not Dr. Phil talks or anything like that,” Rodriguez said. “About being challenged and being in the middle of a competition, and he knows this is what he’s got to do.
“And I think that’s the way he wants it to be. And I told him that, I said we recruited you because of the way you competed in high school and the challenge that you wanted to have. So that’s the way it’s going to be, not just this year but hopefully his whole career.”
Regardless of who wins the job, Rodriguez said Michigan needs more consistent play out of its quarterback.
Forcier threw for 2,050 yards and 13 touchdowns last season, but also had 10 interceptions and a complete meltdown against Ohio State. Robinson was almost exclusively a run option, throwing four interceptions in 31 pass attempts.
“I thought they did a pretty good job as true freshmen, but our expectation in their second year are a whole lot higher,” Rodriguez said.
So how does Rodriguez see the quarterback battle shaking out?
“I don’t,” he said. “What I hope it does is elevate all of those guys, and if all of them get elevated because of the competition within each other but still understand the team concept then it’s all win-win.”
Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.