Big Blue had its struggles in 2008, both running Rich Rodriguez's patented spread system and in general finishing 3-9.
One of the main defenses for such a poor season was the fact that this particular spread offense is predicated upon dual-threat quarterbacks. January 2009 saw the entrance of freshman Tate Forcier into the program.
Aside from being a very accurate passer, Forcier also has a reputation as an athlete 'tailor-made' for this offense with his ability to improvise and hurt opposing defenses with his legs and arm. Since joining the program, Forcier has participated in winter conditioning, led the first team in spring practices, also wooing the Michigan faithful with a stellar spring game.
Forcier, although a true freshman, has reportedly displayed excellent leadership skills and work ethic throughout summer workouts, and is carrying the momentum into fall camp. He is also carrying another 15 pounds of muscle into fall camp.
Tate Forcier isn't the only recruit that was reeled in by the staff, as the speedy Denard Robinson also committed in February.
Robinson, who delivered some impressive track numbers this spring (10.28 100 meters) arrived this summer and has participated in team workouts. Many of the upperclassmen have remarked about Robinson's impressive speed (4.32 40 yard dash) and elusiveness already, provoking excitement in an offense that relies on speed at quarterback.
Still, Rich Rod insists that Nick Sheridan is a factor in the race and claims that he doesn't plan on naming a starter until September 5th or later. One can only hope that this is coach speak, and that both Forcier and Robinson are the prime candidates by the end of fall camp.
An argument could be made that Nick Sheridan cost Michigan three games in 2008 (Utah, Toledo and Northwestern), and Steven Threet should have been the sole starter from day one.
Of course, nobody is rooting against Sheridan. If he is the best man we have then the best of luck to him. This Michigan fan, however, is leaning heavily toward talent over experience, particularly when that talent seems to fit the system so well.
Is Nick Sheridan really an option to start September 5th? The coaching staff is saying yes at this point, but only time will tell.