Rich Rod came in this season with three Quarterbacks fighting for a starting roll. Nick Sheridan, Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson. He ran a 3 QB lineup in the very first game, then narrowed it down to Tate Forcier, and Denard Robinson. From the second game, he saw Tate was more effective through the air, and Robinson with his quickness was more effective on the ground.
So throughout the year, the Wolverines occasionally went with a two QB lineup, Tate in most of the way trying to move down the field in the air, and Robinson when they were in need of a run game.
Ultimately we saw many ups and downs of these Freshman quarterbacks this season. Forcier struggled under pressure a lot not getting much protection from his line. Pretty much averaged an interception a game, and throwing 4 alone against Ohio State. He threw 10 interceptions on the season, had 13 touchdowns, and threw for over 2,000 yards as an up side.
Denard Robinson with his quickness, showed how affective he can be on the ground, but has trouble holding on to the ball, and throwing accurately. Denard threw 4 interceptions in the year, but also coughed the ball up quite a few times trying to run it. The bad thing about Robinson was, that when he was in, defenses knew what play was coming. Only being in there as a run threat, Rich Rod needs to find ways to use him in different ways as a QB, and putting him out there as a RB or a WR at times (like he did this season, but wish we would have seen it more often than we did.)
With these two talented Freshman coming back, you ask why there is going to be a fight for the starting roll between these two. Well as of right now, Michigan has committed a 5 star, 4th best ranked QB in his recruiting class from Inkster Michigan. That being Devin Gardner.
Starting off in 2007 at U of D Jesuit, he passed for 1,000 yards, and rushed for 475 yards before transferring to Inkster his Junior year. He lead them to a state championship, completing 98-170 pass attempts, throwing for 1,886 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions. He also showed his quickness on the ground rushing for 1,401 yards in 115 carries, and 22 touchdowns.
Gardner is an athletic, very mobile QB. He has quickness, and is able to throw the deep ball very well. He seems to play great under pressure and is able to make the right plays at the right time.
Gardner seems to be hoping to come to Michigan early, to be able to practice with Michigan to possibly fight for that starting roll.
With Forcier's quickness and ability to throw the ball, Robinsons quickness on the ground and able to blow you away with his speed, and Gardner who is quick, and great throwing the ball, this will be one heck of a competition for a starting roll.
If Gardner doesn't redshirt for his freshman year, you can expect Rich Rod to run another 3 QB lineup against UCONN in the season opener in 2010 to see which player suites best for this system.