The beaten down quarterback sat all by his lonesome, a towel draped over his head, perhaps in shame. It was as if a force field was around him, because there wasn’t a teammate within 10 yards of him on either side.
On the sidelines, teammates of the beaten down quarterback laughed and smiled, whooped and hollered. Their football program needed a big win on opening weekend in the worst way, and they had gotten it.
After months of QB speculation and the bitter taste of 8-16 over the past two seasons and the pall of NCAA violations and the alleged uncertainty of the coach’s future, it’s likely that the jocularity on the sidelines was just plain relief.
The scoreboard read Michigan 30, Connecticut 10.
Plop, plop, fizz, fizz!
Had you tuned into the broadcast late, you would have thought that the beaten down quarterback had just thrown a boatload of interceptions and because of his ineffectiveness, the team had been let down.
But the beaten down quarterback hadn’t even played.
Instead of joining in the frivolity, instead of standing in front, on the sidelines, shouting encouragement and congratulating his fellow signal caller, Michigan quarterback Tate Forcier chose to make the Wolverines’ opening day win over UConn all about...Tate Forcier.
Maybe Forcier wasn’t pouting. Maybe he wasn’t feeling sorry for himself. Maybe he was silently happy and busting buttons over the Wolverines’ win and over QB Denard Robinson’s record-setting afternoon.
But it sure didn’t look like it.
The ABC cameras were all too eager to show us shot after shot of Forcier sitting on top of an aluminum bench, far away from his teammates, as commentators Sean McDonough and Matt Millen took notice.
The camera shots started coming at us well into the second half, when Michigan’s fate against the Huskies looked certain. Forcier, just weeks after his wings were stripped from his blue helmet for being less than a team player, appeared to be holding a private pity party.
Immediately after the game, the rumors began. Forcier would be leaving Michigan, transferring to a school that would, presumably, hand him a starting QB role on a silver platter.
Forcier’s dad tried to quell the transfer talk. Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez, at his Monday presser, downplayed Forcier’s body language. Rodriguez acknowledged Forcier’s disappointment at not starting Saturday’s game—a decision the coach supposedly made the day before the game—and said he expects such disappointment. Then the coach mocked the brouhaha made by the TV folks.
I have no idea what, if anything, was said to Forcier in the wake of his failure to join in the celebration on Saturday. Maybe the kid was indeed spoken to.
But here’s the thing: Robinson is clearly more of a Rodriguez-type quarterback for the offense RichRod wants the Wolverines to run. And I don’t believe for a second that Rodriguez made his decision as late as he says he did.
Rodriguez, it says here, knew for quite some time that he was going to start Robinson. I just don’t think he wanted Denard to have too much time to think about it. I think it was by design that Robinson got the short notice, and it worked out brilliantly.
Back to Forcier.
Tate Forcier isn’t the quarterback for Rodriguez’s offense, and there’s no crime in that—on the part of either party. But if Forcier is serious about transferring, then he’d better know that it’s one thing to want to transfer, and quite another for another school to want you.
You don’t think other programs might think twice about taking Forcier in after his towel-draped pouting jag last Saturday? You think they want a kid who, if he doesn’t get his way, runs to his room, locks the door, and plops onto his bed, sobbing?
Forcier needs to grow up.
This young man is going to encounter loads more of disappointments in his life. There can only be one quarterback on the football field—and as he starts his career in the work force after college, he’ll find that there can only be one candidate hired for the jobs he seeks.
And he won’t always be the guy who gets picked.
So Forcier is disappointed about not starting at quarterback for Michigan. I get it.
Rodriguez ought to kick him off the team. What use does the coach have for Forcier? The kid is clearly not in the plans; at least, that’s what appears to be the case.
Forcier told some media types after Saturday’s game that he’s as good as gone from Ann Arbor.
Fine. No hard feelings.
But if he thinks that his behavior was a good marketing tool for his admittance into another major college football program, then Tate Forcier has even more to learn than I thought.