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Posted on Thu, Oct 29, 2009 : 6:35 p.m.

Michigan quarterbacks Tate Forcier, Denard Robinson deal with turnover woes

By Dave Birkett


Michigan quarterback Tate Forcier (5) and center David Moosman (60) talk with head coach Rich Rodriguez after a safety during the second quarter against Penn State.

AP photo

In three Big Ten games, Michigan has gone from having one of the most potent offenses in the country to one of the most unfortunate.

The Wolverines lead the Big Ten with 13 turnovers in four conference games and have committed nine miscues in their last two losses to Iowa and Penn State.

Compounding matters, Michigan (5-3, 1-3) is on pace to force fewer turnovers than it did last year. The Wolverines have just 11 takeaways this year - they had 20 a season ago - and rank last in the league with a minus-7 turnover margin.

“If you want to win a game, particularly against a very good football team, you’ve got to be on the plus side,” Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said. Against Penn State, “we were way on the minus side.”

Rodriguez said there’s no simple explanation for his team’s turnover problems.

Against Penn State, Denard Robinson lost a fumble on a good strip by a defender, but also threw an interception on a poor read. Tate Forcier threw an insignificant pick with the game out of reach in the fourth quarter, and Carlos Brown fumbled when he carried the ball too loose on a run.

It didn’t count as a turnover, but Michigan also took a safety on a bad snap out of the back of the end zone.

"Some of it’s inexperience, but some of it really is just trusting your reads and not panicking and letting it play out, and if it’s not there not force the thing," Rodriguez said. "Sometimes you can get by with forcing some things. Younger quarterbacks feel they can do it. In high school you can force it in there. In college it’s a little different."

True freshmen Robinson and Forcier have been Michigan’s biggest turnover culprits, combining for nine interceptions in 191 pass attempts and four fumbles on 126 rushes. Last year, quarterbacks Nick Sheridan and Steven Threet had 16 total turnovers (12 interceptions, four fumbles).

Robinson has been especially turnover-prone, throwing four interceptions in just 21 pass attempts. Still, Rodriguez said he hasn’t lost any confidence in Robinson as a quarterback.

“We’re not going to drop him in the grease, so to speak,” Rodriguez said. “We’ve got to coach him up. They’ve got a long way to go. I’ve said that all year, let’s not put too much on them and say they’re arrived because there’s a process at every position, but particularly at quarterback that you have to go through to truly have arrived.”

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.



Sat, Oct 31, 2009 : 2:30 p.m.

Theo212 is right on the money. Even as bad as Michigan has played at times two or three plays and Mich is 8-0 most likely 7-1. Not bad for a re-building team. GO BLUE!! Have Fun today like you did in the first four games and get you some! What ever happens, happens. We are still true Blue. Dan from Georgia


Fri, Oct 30, 2009 : 3:02 p.m.

I like shoelace but he cant handle the qb position that well yet. He rarely looks to pass yet whats the point when your recievers cant catch. I would love to see him catch the ball in space. No matter how you look at it every defense would have to account for him leaving other recievers open. Not to many corners are going to keep up with him. But for him trying to run behind that offensive line that can barely hold their own is pointless for him. He needs to be out there at all times so if he does say run the wildcat lets face it thats what it is. He wouldnt feel so overwhelmed.


Fri, Oct 30, 2009 : 1:04 p.m.

Playing Mich football like a fire fighter, 911Robinson is routinely asked to put out the crumbling Big House fires during the final minutes of a game. He performs in front of 109,000+ fans and millions watching nationally on TV and listening on their radios. Does Denard deliver? Let's see: DR is the 3rd leading rusher behind Carlos Brown and Brandon Minor. Robinson has 293 rushing yards from 51 carries and 5 Tds (the same as Brown - and the same as Minor, Tate and Shaw combined). He has thrown 2 touchdown passes (Tate 9). Note, I refuse to pit Denard against Tate; Denard and Tate are a robust and dynamic combination. My point is elementary, I do not know how Mich expects to win IN THE BIG TEN when the 2009 most all around Mich productive offensive player (911Robinson) sits on the bench collectively for over 95% of each game. Balance the attack RichRod. Come on defense. Go after the ball and who ever is carrying it like a PACK of nasty Wolverines. (All of us Wolverines are tougher than one of us!) Believe it!


Fri, Oct 30, 2009 : 10:55 a.m.

drob cant stay at qb cause he cant throw. do the drob supporters see what he is doing in games??? 2 series last week and he fumbled and threw a bad int....the kid doesnt have what it takes to be a qb in college. Gardner does. there's a big difference in the two....tate will find himself on the bench next year as the dg's backup at some point in the season.


Fri, Oct 30, 2009 : 9:02 a.m.

Dg is alot bigger then tate so that makes a big differnce,D-rob only came here cuz we told him he could play qb otherwise he would of went to the UF like he was offered,but its gonna take him awhile to learn the qb spot so by the time he does he will be stuck in the depth chart, so play wr and alittle rb or transfer i like d-rob but his qb skill are pretty for RR and excuses its simple fact hes got a depleaded team check the article about the desamated for pete u cant tell me the pac10 is that good outside usc,oregeon and orgst..and GTech man the acc is decent at best..Pete made USC a hype machine now they get so many top recurits that some are turned away, we need to get back to top recruting but the kids love the hype of pete and urban come on RR we need hype!!! All in for Michigan


Fri, Oct 30, 2009 : 9 a.m.

WHO OPERATES THE CLOCK IN THE BIG HOUSE?? What is the difference between the clock operator at the Big House and an SEC official, officiating a Florida Gator game?? NOTHING


Fri, Oct 30, 2009 : 8:37 a.m.

I don't understand why you guys are continuing to advocate that Shoelace become a wide receiver. I don't see you advocating for Forcier to be converted to a wide receiver position. Forcier, while playing against lesser talent was able to showcase his skills which are mostly suited to the MAC or some other Division AA conference. He suffer too much from the McGuffie syndrome. If I was Devon Gardner, I would be very leary about coming to M.


Fri, Oct 30, 2009 : 8:37 a.m.

I also don't recall Henne turning the ball over nearly this much as a true freshman. In fact, he led Michigan to the Rose Bowl. Excuses only go one way, I guess. ---azwolverine. Az, That is a completely unfair and unrealistic statement Brother! It was a totally different situation with Chad Henne as opposed to Tate Forcier. Lets look at that 2005 roster with just some of the names that were on that team when Henne came in as a freshman. Michael Hart, Braylon Edwards, Jason Avant, Steve Breaston, Leon Hall, Jake Long, Alan Branch, David Harris, Adrian Arrington, Shawn Crable, LaMarr Woodley, Tim Massaquoi. I can go on, but I made my point! Does Tate have near as much talent to work with, on both sides of the football? Hardly! I am sure that if Tate had these names with him on this present team it would not be out of the realm of possibility that he could have been in a Rose Bowl his freshman year also. It goes back to patience! Again, just like the impatience and Unrealistic expectations that people have thrown on the team and the coach, (this winning it all NOW) when we just are not deep enough or experienced enough YET, just shows that PERCEPTIONS GO DIFFERENT WAYS TOO! Lets GO BLUE!


Fri, Oct 30, 2009 : 8:34 a.m.

By the way, my point is simply this: RR backers need to stop making excuses. We as Michigan fans all want him to win, he's coaching our team. However, excuses are for losers, imo. He's getting paid 2.5 mil to win. Period. Great coaches find a way. Pete Carrol found a way with a rag tag crew in his second year at USC, Paul Johnson did it in his FIRST year at Ga. Tech. If we're all in for Michigan, bag the excuses and demand excellence. This is Michigan, not MSU. We shouldn't have to wait until all the pieces fit perfectly for the system. They didn't fit at USC or Ga Tech either. Find a way, RR. Great coaches always do.


Fri, Oct 30, 2009 : 8:11 a.m.

When a young and lumbering John Navarre came in and turned the ball over as a freshman, I don't recall any excuses for the old coach. I also don't recall Henne turning the ball over nearly this much as a true freshman. In fact, he lead Michigan to the Rose Bowl. Excuses only go one way, I guess.


Fri, Oct 30, 2009 : 7:06 a.m.

Spud, I agree with you, once DG gets here, if he comes after we are sanctioned by the NCAA Tate and DR will be the back up QB's unless they transfer.


Fri, Oct 30, 2009 : 4:39 a.m.

hey osuSUCKS dont you have some other msg board to be on everytime i see you, you spawn ignorance the QBs are young and they will eventually come around as far as osu poster i think your scared of what lies ahead in the comming years back to beating osu like a redheaded step child GO BLUE


Fri, Oct 30, 2009 : 4:37 a.m.

hey osuSUCKS dont you have some other msg board to be on everytime i see you, you spawn ignorance the QBs are young and they will eventually come around as far as osu poster i think your scared of what lies ahead in the comming years back to beating osu like a redheaded step child GO BLUE


Fri, Oct 30, 2009 : 1:45 a.m.

Tare Forcier has a ton of talent and drive, but his Teeny little girl hands cant even palm a football in warm dry weather.


Thu, Oct 29, 2009 : 10:29 p.m.

Once DG gets here D-Rob can play a percey harvin role in the offense like he needs to be.