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Posted on Mon, Apr 12, 2010 : 2:48 p.m.

Quarterbacks shine in Michigan's second spring football scrimmage; plus more on 3-3-5 defense

By Dave Birkett


Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson, above, along with Devin Gardner, not pictured, had strong workouts on Saturday in what Rich Rodriguez called the most important practice of the spring.

Lon Horwedel |

All three Michigan quarterbacks put up impressive numbers in last Saturday’s scrimmage, a workout Wolverines coach Rich Rodriguez called the most important of the spring.

According to video posted on, Denard Robinson completed 15-of-20 passes for 82 yards and a touchdown, and ran 12 times for 105 yards and two more scores as the offense beat the defense in a controlled 115-play scrimmage.

Tate Forcier, last year’s starter, was 9-of-12 passing for 88 yards and ran for one 3-yard touchdown. True freshman Devin Gardner was 8-of-11 passing for 96 yards and had 96 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 10 carries.

All stats are unofficial.

Rodriguez said earlier this spring that Robinson was pushing Forcier for the starting job.

“The quarterback situation is an ongoing battle,” Rodriguez said last week. “I think Tate and Denard have gotten better, certainly Devin Gardner’s gotten better. He’s a true freshman learning for the first time. I think that race is going to continue throughout spring and probably through August camp as well. I think they all bring a little something to the table.”

Tackle box

Redshirt freshmen Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield continue to push for playing time at left and right tackle, respectively.

“We saw the talent last year when they were on scout team and it was going to be fun to watch them compete in our offense,” offensive coordinator Calvin Magee said last week. “They’re immature, they got a lot to learn, but they’re competitive. I know I keep using that word, but they’re competitive and it’s just been fun to have that competition there.”

Perry Dorrestein and Mark Huyge entered camp as the projected starters at tackle after splitting the right-tackle job last year. Left tackle Mark Ortmann graduated.

“They’ve been fine this spring and it’s Year 3 for them now so they just really understand what we want,” Magee said. “That’s going to make that whole position interesting.”

Rodriguez: Defense not exactly like West Virginia

Rodriguez downplayed Michigan’s switch to a 3-3-5 defense when asked about the change last week.

“I don‘t know what’s been written because I haven’t been out there, but more has been probably said about the changes than what’s actually happening,” he said. “I think spring is a time for us to look at several things - what we were doing in our 3-4 and 4-3 and did some 3-3 stuff last year, to add in some packages. I mean, to say we’re going to do exactly what we did in the past at West Virginia, that’s not true.

“(Defensive coordinator Greg) Robinson has a wealth of experience and he looks at everything as our defensive staff does and tries to fit it to our personnel. I think right now in the spring he’s looking at a wide variety of fronts and coverages, things that are simple enough for our guys to understand but gives us the multiplicity we felt we needed last year.”

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.



Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 8:59 a.m.

The haters are out in full force because they're scared. Michigan will shut down their opponents this year, and even if they don't, they'll score enough points to win the shootouts. People seem to forget the difference it makes when a team is nothing but freshman. These guys have more time in RR's system and will execute with precision.


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 7:36 a.m.

The 3-3-5 is designed to get more speed on the field, but what are you going to do once you get there? When you are 5-8, 160 not much.


Tue, Apr 13, 2010 : 7:23 a.m.

Wait and see on the 3-3-5, but, I don't think it will work against the typical Big 10 offense. When they tried to use it last year we got killed especially with the run.


Mon, Apr 12, 2010 : 8:21 p.m.

I like coach Rodriguez statement on, "offense not exactly like wvu's". I think this illustrates something I have been saying for 2 years here - Michigan is getting the great experience of Rodriguez and he'll adapt that experience to fit this team. The 3-3-5 is an effective tool and because it was used at wvu, doesn't mean 'he's bringing it with him. Coach Robinson has said all along, he is making some changes, and some will adapt to new and different personnel on the team. Incredible how a brand new article like this, 'Quarterbacks shine', brings out so many naysayers, that keep coming back and back and back. Anyway, go Michigan, look forward to Saturday. Be careful going to the Spring Game if you park on someone's lawn, my kid last year stepped in some dog poo with his brand new shoes, and we got most of them cleaned, but that awful rotten stink kept coming back and back and back.


Mon, Apr 12, 2010 : 7:05 p.m.

Oh, let the hype begin. I can see that first game in my mind. When our boys run out of that tunnel into a beautiful refurbished stadium into the sunlight amid one hundred thousand plus screaming fans. I'll be watching on my big screen, flying my Michigan flag from my house in the desert in southern Calif. Now that might sound lonely but trust me there are Michigan fans all over out here. A couple of simple hand offs for my man Tate just to get the butterflies under control and Michigan's season will be under way and what a season I think it's going to be. The 10 has had it's way for 2 yrs. and that's long enough for Mich. to be the sleeper team this yr. If RR can get that speed under control and his system is oiled I think this team could come out blazing and we know the ten is not a speed philosophy league. The key to a solid season are these QB's and I think it's absolutely a plus to have 3 QB's. Well, we shall see in four and a half months, right boys and girls?


Mon, Apr 12, 2010 : 4:36 p.m.

Richard and Denard are not BIG TEN QB's. Hell he can't even get his own name right. M will finish 7th in the BIG TEN,have fun.


Mon, Apr 12, 2010 : 3:42 p.m.

Again... everyone looked good against UM's defense last year....why should UM's offense be any different?

Terry Star21

Mon, Apr 12, 2010 : 3:18 p.m.

I must share with the great enthusiasm shown here by BowlForBlue. Last year at this time we were reading about Tate learning the play book, Denard preparing for his High School graduation, and Devin's commitment to UM as a Junior. What a difference a year makes (okay - I know its April), and it is exciting to see that picture of Tate and Denard smiling. But what is important here, in all respect to Threat/Sheridan/Feagin is, Tate didn't have a real challenge last spring. This year Denard is challanging Tate, and (look out now) Devin is challenging both. Catch the April 10 scrimage, and Devin highligts @ Tate, Denard, Devin. - Beware..............Big Ten Defenses - in a scare


Mon, Apr 12, 2010 : 2:48 p.m.

This is most certainly an exciting time to be a UM FB fan. I think the big deal here is everyone has been saying that another year is important for Tate and Denard, especially since Denard came in August. Good to see Devin hanging right there with them, not afraid. Rodrigeuz goes 10-2, losses to iowa and wisconsin, with a January 1st Bowl game, and we don't hear anymore comparisons to wvu - it will happen, oh yeeeeeeees!


Mon, Apr 12, 2010 : 2:27 p.m.

so does this mean the qb's are that good or the defense is that bad?


Mon, Apr 12, 2010 : 2:22 p.m.

One has to consider the defence the QB's are playing against. The fact the want some simple so the players understand says it all.