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Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Forcier and Robinson imperfect options


It’s just three days before Rich Rodriguez kicks off his third season at Michigan and he still hasn’t said which speedy sophomore will start under center Saturday against Connecticut. Tate Forcier made plays with both his arm and legs for the Wolverines in 2009, but he struggled when defenses were able to keep him in the pocket. In 11 games against FBS opponents last year, Forcier completed more than half of his passes of 15 or more yards when outside the tackles. When Forcier threw the deep ball from inside the pocket, he hit on just under 28 percent of his throws.

While Forcier struggled to work the ball down the field from inside the pocket, Denard Robinson had trouble with nearly every type of throw in 2009. As a freshman, Robinson attempted just 27 passes against FBS competition, completing 11 for 103 yards with four interceptions. When you consider that more than half of Robinson’s completions came on passes within five yards of the line of scrimmage, it’s clear that he’ll need to be more effective on deep and intermediate passes as a sophomore if he’s going to unseat Forcier as the team’s primary signal caller.

With just eight wins in his first two seasons with the Wolverines, the pressure on Rodriguez is mounting. 96 FBS teams have won more games than Michigan since 2008 and another losing campaign would give the maize and blue three straight losing seasons for the first time in school history and could mean the end of Rodriguez’s tenure in Ann Arbor. As he debates which quarterback he’ll rely on to right the ship, he’s surely not comforted by the fact that with Steven Threet recently being named the starter at Arizona State, two QBs on the Wolverines roster when Rodriguez took the reins in December 2007 have now locked down starting jobs at big-time programs (in addition to Threet, Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett was a freshman at Michigan in 2007).