Big Ten Preview: Who Will Be Starting for Michigan at QB?
There have been rumors that Denard Robinson has picked up the starting role for Rich Rodriguez in the 2010 season.
Recently, new reports have come out that the quarterback battle is far from over.
Last week, offensive coordinator Calvin Magee had this to say, "I really don't know. There's some good competition, and they're all rotating. ... We're excited about all three of the quarterbacks, (but) we're yet some days from figuring that out."
With Tate coming off a less-than-perfect off-season, the heat's on him to keep his starting job.
Denard has the speed, but not the arm for the job.
And incoming freshman Devin Gardner has the body, the arm, and the potential to be the best option at QB.
It's a hard decision, Gardner, Forcier, or Robinson, and one that will no doubt spark controversy among Michigan football fans.
Let's look at who should be starting during the first game at the Big House.
Photo credit to AnnArbor.com
Denard Robinson, Michigan's Lil Wayne look-a-like has been rumored to have the starting job for the first game against Connecticut. (Rumors that have been invalidated)
Denard, entering his sophomore year, has a lot more pressure to perform at the Big House on football Saturday.
What is the outlook for Robinson next year? Will he help Michigan relive the glory days that it's accustomed to?
Robinson is in the starting quarterback discussion because Rich Rod believes in his playmaking ability. Robinson runs a 40 time of 4.4 and has a good stature at 6'1.5" and 194 lbs.
But let's evaluate how good he is on the field.
Passing is Denard's weak spot. Denard didn't show much promise in this category last year as he only attempted 31 passes. Denard had some good passing games (3/4 for 85 yds and two TDs against Delaware State) against less-than-formidable foes, but also had some horrific outings against equally bad teams (0/4 and two INTs against Eastern Michigan).
Denard is valuable because of his quickness. Robinson reached pay-dirt three times in the first three games of the 2009 season. Reminiscent of Pat White's running ability, Robinson definitely brings some hope to the depleted Wolverines with this aspect of his game.
But is it enough to justify a starting role?
Tate Forcier, the former starting QB for Michigan, is doing a lot of work this summer. However, as he fumbled through the regular season, he seemingly fumbled through the off-season.
Forcier lost the "wings" on his Michigan helmet for missing off-season workouts. Although he regained them last week, it's still a sign that Rich Rod is hesitant to hand Forcier the keys to the offense.
Little Man Tate was highly criticized for his turnovers last year.
In the highly anticipated rivalry game against Ohio State, Forcier had five total turnovers, including an inopportune fumble in the Michigan end-zone.
Forcier, however, did show that he could be a legitimate passer for the Wolverines.
In the first four games with the Wolverines, Forcier only threw two INTs, with seven TDs and two rushing TDs. After the 4-0 start, Mich Football fans began to believe again.
However, game after game, Forcier showed that he really was a true freshman, fumbling his way to criticism.
Forcier believes that he's learned humility this offseason. If the rest of his team agrees is another story.
I believe that one year under Forcier's belt could help him this season, and that he may be the best player for the Michigan offense. However, with a team that doesn't believe in him and a coach that is reluctant to trust him completely, Forcier's got his work cut out for him.
Regardless, in the midst of this three-way QB battle, Forcier is willing to fight for his starting role. Hopefully winning the role will garner him more credit with his team on and off the field.
The five-star recruit. Gardner is young, but he has the best body of the three QBs.
Gardner is 6'4", 195 lbs, and is the tallest and heaviest of the three QBs. Rivals compares his build to a young Jason Campbell, when he first started for Auburn.
Gardner also has a strong arm, which makes him a deep-threat. Gardner can hurt you on the ground with his quickness (4.57/40) and running ability.
Definitely a talent and bright spot for the rebuilding Wolverines.
Gardner, however, needs to work on his five-step drop and timing after the snap. He also has to clean up his game to be a top-tier QB in the NCAA.
Gardner is a great option at QB for the next year, but looking at the future, a better option would be to redshirt Gardner for a year. After learning Rich Rod's offense, he'll definitely be a threat for years to come.
A great quarterback in the making, Gardner needs a year to learn the offense and get accustomed to Rich Rod's system. Afterward, he'll definitely be a two to three year starter, with all-conference and NFL potential.
As a Michigan football fan, I'd love to see Rich Rod unload his new recruit for a full year. Rich Rod also has the pressure to win immediately. But with Denard and Tate coming back as seasoned sophomores, I'd accept Rich Rod redshirting Gardner. The question is how Gardner will accept the year off.
Come September 4th, at 3:30 in the historic Big House, I believe Tate Forcier should be starting at quarterback.
I know he has turnover problems. I know he's not trusted by his team (currently), but he's still is the best option.
With a good arm and quick feet, Tate showed Michigan fans that he could lead the team to ranked status in his first four games of the 2009 campaign.
Tate can perform, and he showed that in clutch fashion against Notre Dame.
Tate knows the offense the best, and can throw the ball better than Denard with decent rushing ability, upping his stock.
Denard should reprise his role as the designated running QB because his ability to bust loose and make big plays is still valuable to the Michigan offense. I'm hesitant to hand the throwing obligations to Robinson however, especially based on some of his horrible throws in '09 (his INT that sealed Michigan's fate against Iowa).
Gardner, my bid as the best quarterback in the Michigan locker room, should take a year off to fully learn the offense before his inexperience causes his reputation to suffer the same fate as Forcier's.
Tate has my recommendation for now, but I believe Gardner will bring back the glory days of Michigan football in the near future.