Wednesday, August 19, 2009
It's a no brainer
I know I'm all alone in the belief that freshman Tate Forcier is going to end up being the starting quarterback for Michigan in the 2009 season opener versus Western Michigan on September 5. Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez has been careful to publicly praise all three of the lead players at quarterback, Nick Sheridan, Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson on their progress so far in fall camp. That's the right thing to do when they're picking things up, showcasing their skills and taking postive steps forward in the learning process.
But you really don't have to be a 5-star restaurant chef to figure out what key ingredients were missing in the Michigan offense last year. Just by simple Watsonian deduction, we already know exactly who is going to be taking the snaps versus Bill Cubit's Broncos defense. It's going to be Tate Forcier because he possesses in abundance virtually all of the key components that were missing from Michigan's quarterback position last year:
It's true. He's a true freshman. But Michigan has started true freshman quarterbacks before. It's important to note just how at home Forcier is in this offense. He loves the game of football and running this offense. And not just a little bit. He can make all the throws, scrambles, option pitches and quarterback draw plays you want as a coach. And he's not afraid to get hit. He played cornerback in high school and frequently made key, open field tackles in the secondary as well as on special teams (Tate was the punter).
2.) Quarterback Speed and Mobility
I've said before that opposing defenses essentially ignored Steven Threet and Nick Sheridan as run threats last year. They did not worry about them as passing threats either. This frequently paid off for Michigan opponents, because:
a.)Michigan's 3rd down success rate was less than 30%,
b.) Michigan's main and only legitimate offensive weapon was the superback McGuffie or Minor or punter Zoltan Mesko,
c.) Sometimes it just paid to do nothing and simply wait for the interception or fumble to fall into your mittens.
Well, it's not probably going to be so easy anymore if the eleven guys on defense have to fully account for a quarterback that can run and throw equally well, and who can make big plays when needed most.
3.) Throwing accuracy
Forcier has a stronger arm and greater throwing accuracy than Sheridan. Forcier might appear to be making decisions more slowly than Sheridan right now, but in terms of footspeed, vision, field presence, throwing mechanics and football talent, Forcier has it. The decision speed will come along with more playing time.
None of these key ingredients were present in 2008.
However, the main reason why I believe Forcier will be starting quarterback is this:
Rodriguez can't wait.
The future is now as far as the quarterback position goes, and he has to start turning the ship and winning some football games.
Over his long coaching career Rodriguez has coached the full spectrum of talent and ability at quarterback, from Jed Drenning at Glenville State to Shaun King at Tulane, from Steven Threet at Michigan to Pat White at West Virginia. By now we know what Rich Rodriguez wants in a quarterback. He wants a Turner Gill, a Terrelle Pryor or a Vince Young. He'd take a Tim Tebow, a Zak Kustok, or a Shaun King too.
So I ask you who on the UM roster at quarterback even comes remotely close to resembling such players??
Only Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson bring what's required to the table.
But sure, we could go ahead and torture ourselves again about the 2008 Northwestern game, where the Michigan quarterback connected on just 8 of 29 passes for 61 yards, or the game after that where he threw 8 completions out of 24 attempts for 87 yards in a 35 point shellacking.
There's just no way Rich Rodriguez is going to fool around with that kind of performance again in 2009.