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Posted on Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 10:05 a.m.

Tate Forcier will start Saturday against Western Michigan

By Dave Birkett

Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said on his radio show Thursday that true freshman Tate Forcier will start at quarterback in Saturday's season opener against Western Michigan.

"It was so close," Rodriguez said. "There was a lot of give and take and going back and forth, and really it was the performances maybe he did in the scrimmages. But really I'll tell you it was so, so close for us and we felt comfortable we could put any three of them in there."

Rodriguez said Forcier will take the first snap, but said down and distance will dictate who plays after that.

He said he considers all three quarterbacks - Forcier, fellow freshman Denard Robinson and junior Nick Sheridan - starters. All three are expected to play Saturday.

"I met with them after practice today ... and said, 'I've never been in this situation before, but I feel fortunate and all three of you have done various things to earn the right to go out there first, so I don't want you to think you're not a starting quarterback,'" Rodriguez said. "But somebody has to take the first play and so I told them that Tate will take the first play, but the second play may be Denard or Nick or whoever. Those guys are so competitive, but they're such team guys I feel very, very good about it."

Rodriguez said Sheridan has improved greatly since last fall, when he started four games, and Robinson is as fast as any quarterback he's ever coached. But Forcier won the job by showing "the ability to thrive under pressure" with "some outstanding scrimmages."

Also on the show, Rodriguez said running back Brandon Minor remains questionable for Saturday after limping through Thursday's practice.

"We're going to let him go through warm-ups and if he feels like it's OK, he can get through it, and he feels like he can play at 100 percent then fine," Rodriguez said. "But if he's anything less than that, he's not going to play."

Secondary coach Tony Gibson also defended Rodriguez against allegations Michigan violated NCAA rules by overworking its players.

"It's just hard to sit back and watch," Gibson said, his voice cracking with emotion. "I know (what) he does for his players, his coaches, his family, my family, the staff's families, and the work that he puts in and then ... Just false things have come up, we're not a family, we're not this. We've heard so many things and that's the furthest from the truth as anything I've heard."



Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 5:49 p.m.

jimtrashel, Thanks for the homage. I have followed you, tater, and willievrine (come back, will!) during my sabattical. You made me proud. The Circle of Honor is alive and strong. Trolls are now an afterthought. (Don't be shocked if Navy or Montana St. pull off a shocker tomorrow. WMU? No chance).


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 5:44 p.m.

Theo is now here. My friends, no need to fear. King Rich now begins A year of 12 wins. Let's have an Altes beer!! -Theo Ninthandvinewood '09 For you, Eddie. For you, Alex.


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 4:29 p.m.

Tate starts at the helm. We're going to see all of them, I hope a lot of Tate and DRob. Lefiest, patience, man! I forsee DRob doing some Pat White-esque stuff tomorrow, but remember Tate has a several month head start on him. I think there'll be a lot of romping through Western's secondary all afternoon, and although I have nothing against WMU, we need to make a statement tomorrow!! Theo, Thanks for the tip, I bought 1000 shares of Haagen-Daz before the close of business. By next Friday that stock will go through the roof. I'm going to be rich. GO BLUE


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 2:50 p.m.

What's funny (or dumb whatever you prefer) about people who don't like RR b/c he wasn't a "Michigan man" and didn't have ties to Michigan is that the greatest Michigan coach, Bo Schembechler, was the same. He was born in OH, a Miami (OH) grad and had coaching experience under Woody Hayes at OSU. These people need to open there minds History on Bo was he ran off plenty of players that did not fit his style or were soft. He earned the tag Michigan Man through longevity and loyalty to the school. Alums, take a step back and give RR some space and time.


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 12:59 p.m.

rreidannarbor (i know you!!!!) you said it my friend. its all about the long haul and when all is said and done rich rod and um will prevail. GO BLUE! from a true blue ann arbor fan!


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 11:58 a.m.

Regardless of the outcome of this Saturday and the Saturdays to follow, everyone needs to take the Long View of this whole new coaching regime, philosophy change and even cultural shift within the program. Our society is so wired towards "get me the results NOW" with little consideration for the long haul. This will be a fun season, regardless of wins and losses because there really isn't any heightened expectations. Charlie Weis has pressure. Rich will have his own prsssure in 2012 and 2013 if we are then looking at 5-7 or 4-8. For now, let the games begin and the wins and losses can shake out however they do (We can at least hope that there are more W's than L's).


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 11 a.m.

I think most people would be suprised at how few Michigan fans dislike Coach Rodriguez. By enlarge, most of us like him and support him, and the salineblue's of the world that come on here posing as UofM fans and spreading trash, are being mis-labled as "UofM fans that don't support him". Let's call these non-supporters what they really are...Sparty's, Mountaineers, Domers, and Buckeyes. Go Blue! Go RRod! Go Team! Football is finally here!


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 10:47 a.m.

When you die the two most important things you can take to your grave is your integrity and creditability. Go Glue!!!!!


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 10:37 a.m.

It has been disgusting to hear the comments against our coach from those that call themselves Michigan fans. I was not born in Michigan, I didnt go to U of M but I choose to cheer and make the Wolverines my team many years ago because of the passion for the game from one man our great Bo. To all those coach Rodriguez haters, look back and be honest to yourself. It is very clear as Txmaizenblue said our Bo was not a Michigan man but he became The Michigan Man. I see the same passion for the game and for our team in coach Rodriguez. Putting up with all this BS is showing us how much he loves his profession, his staff, his team and also has shown his commitment to the program and all of us. Give him a fair chance. He is a winner and has the tools to bring our team to BCS championship level. Every body needs to remember the words from Bo: THE TEAM, THE TEAM, THE TEAM. There is nothing or nobody more important than THE TEAM. Leave your personal agendas outside The Big House tomorrow and the rest of the season. Lets support OUR team (players and coaches) cheer harder the ever before. If we want Michigans glory back the only way to do it is ALL TOGETHER AS ONE AS A TEAM! GO BLUE!


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 10:33 a.m.

A decisive win against Western Michigan would go a long way toward uniting the U-M family around the current coaching staff. We need some good news for a change.


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 10:15 a.m.

RR knew all along that he was going to start Tater so why did he have to lie about it? This is typical of the man and that's one of he reasons why he is in trouble now. Tater will probably play well against Western and it will then be hard for a talented QB such as Shoelace to get any playing time because Michigan fans will dictate that Tater plays. I hope RR does not try to convert Shoelace to a running back or receiver. If he does, I hope that Shoelace will transfer to a historical black college where he can really put a school on the map. All they talk about is his speed. They don't give him any credit for his intelligience or his ability to throw the ball, or his ability to command or manage a game. I'm so tired of hearing about Tater being raised to be a QB. We'll see.


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 10:04 a.m.

Those who stay will be champions


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 9:54 a.m.

I have a funny feeling MICHIGAN is gonna HAIL TO THE VICTORS all season long! GO BLUE!


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 8:35 a.m.

Where is the investigation into Michael Rosenberg and the FreeP? More of a story there than this witch hunt. I'm with you Rich. Go Tate! Go Blue!


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 7:56 a.m.

I am so tired of hearing about this non-story by individuals who will not stand up and give their names. We as fans of UofM should stand up and cheer for Coach Rodriguez Saturday and let those watching on TV that we support the team and Coach. Dan Lord


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 7:23 a.m.

....Nothing pushes aside controversy like winning football games..ALL IN FOR MICHIGAN


Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 7:01 a.m.

Tate is great; DRob does the job. But when the chips are down, It'll be Carlos Brown. -Theo Gimjedzanowski '09 Chips won't be down, however, in this one. Michigan's speed and conditioning has little trouble with a more than capable MAC team. UM 42 WMU 10 Weiss sweats and grabs another couple gallons of butter pecan.


Thu, Sep 3, 2009 : 11:24 p.m.

What's funny (or dumb whatever you prefer) about people who don't like RR b/c he wasn't a "Michigan man" and didn't have ties to Michigan is that the greatest Michigan coach, Bo Schembechler, was the same. He was born in OH, a Miami (OH) grad and had coaching experience under Woody Hayes at OSU. These people need to open there minds.


Thu, Sep 3, 2009 : 10:34 p.m.

Tater, I saw the same was disgusting. A classic display of propaganda. - GO BLUE! This is Tate's job to lose - RR knew that day 1 of camp. He's been very wise to prepare two others at the same time - just in case he flames. Had not Tate come in the spring you would not have seen three QB's sharing snaps during fall camp. RR felt he had the luxury because Tate's was much further along than the typical freshman at this stage.


Thu, Sep 3, 2009 : 9:28 p.m.

"All in for Michigan" or shut up and hit the door. You just wait and see RichRod is the MAN! As someone with an "in" this has all been BS, truly a "Witch Hunt" they obviously can't report a good story so they rely on BS to make a name for themselves...Right Rosie?


Thu, Sep 3, 2009 : 8:54 p.m.

Maizeandblueinc wrote: "Yes, we need to support our coach, and our team!" Most UM fans DO support RR, but it doesn't get reported that way in most of the MSM. Check out what your local Fox affiliate did, for example: they found one disgruntled "fan" on either Sunday or Monday (I won't mention her name because I'll just get deleted) and gave more than half of their segment about UM to her whining and complaining. Then, of course, they acted as if she represented a majority of UM fans. So, even though she represents probably far less than ten percent of UM fans, she was made to look like a majority because of the way the segment was presented. I am becoming more and more suspiscious and distrusting of the MSM, both local and national, since the entire RR witch hunt started. Basically, there is a small cadre within the UM athletic "family" that doesn't like RR because they believe he "isn't one of us." So, they are doing whatever they can to undermine RR's tenure as coach in an attempt to get him fired. This includes "leaking" information that could be construed as negative about RR to "select" members of the press. Hopefully, though, the people at UM who undermine the team for their own selfish interests will not be successful, and RR will. A 9-3 season would go a long way toward shutting them up.


Thu, Sep 3, 2009 : 8:39 p.m.

As members of the UofM Nation we need to support 40+ years of top-25 football without a single major NCAA violation. If Rich Rod has to break rules to win, then he isn't now, nor ever will be, a Michigan man. I will withhold judgment and cheer for him this weekend, but if he is guilty he needs to be shown the door.


Thu, Sep 3, 2009 : 8:29 p.m.

Yes, we need to support our coach, and our team! Surprise, it's Tate!


Thu, Sep 3, 2009 : 7:24 p.m.

Rich Rod obviously has some doubters but as the UofM Nation we need to support OUR coach!