Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mr. President

During the Spring Game, you could not always tell the players without a program. Number 18 on your roster was Jack Kennedy (no, not that Jack Kennedy). Kennedy is apparently a 6 foot, 170 lb. freshman walk-on from Walled Lake Central H.S.. Kennedy is not listed on the spring roster on the team's website nor was a bio included in the Spring Football Media Guide. His name, however, was on the Roster handed out the day of the Spring Game and he took a fair number of reps during the scrimmage. Although he will never see game action in 2009, it was a nice chance for Kennedy to have a moment in the sun (literally and figuratively). Kennedy fared well while guiding the offense but that may speak as much to the lack of talent on defense as it does to the skill Kennedy exhibited. Nevertheless, Kennedy appeared poised and displayed a sense of confidence that seemed almost...well, Presidential. (sorry, I couldn't help myself). Go Blue!

NOTE: Photo of QB Jack ("the President") Kennedy (#18) by ERIC SEALS/Detroit Free Press.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Def. Coordinator Greg Robinson discusses Spring Game

Michigan Spring Football Game Highlights

Tate Forcier at the Spring Game

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Plans can change drastically

The Wolverines are in the throes of 2009 Spring Practice and true freshman QB Tate Forcier is taking snaps with the first-team while high school senior QB Devin Gardner (Inkster) just officially announced his committment to the Wolverines for 2010. The dream scenario already laid out by some excited Wolverine fans is that Forcier has a wonderful career as a four-year starter (a la Chad Henne) and Gardner red-shirts in 2010 and becomes the starter in 2013 as a redshirt Junior with two years left of eligiblity. The problem with that dream scenario is that even the best laid plans can go awry.

It was just two years ago at this time, while the Wolverines were in the midst of 2007 Spring Practice, that "the future" of Michigan Football had everyone abuzz: QB Ryan Mallett. Just two years ago, the plan was that Henne would finish out his senior year of 2007 as the starter and Mallett would assume the starting job in 2008 whereupon he would launch an extraordinarly successful three-year career. That plan was quickly scuttled when Coach Carr left after the 2007 season and Mallett announced his plans to transfer shortly after the bowl game was played.

Going back a few seasons, the plan in 2004 was for Matt Gutierrez to ascend to the #1 QB spot and be the starter until he graduated. An injury to Gutierrez prior to the first game of the 2004 season led Coach Carr to name true freshman Chad Henne as the starter in Gutierrez' place and Henne never relinquished the spot for the next four seasons.

Looking back a few seasons even further back, the plan for 2000 was that Drew Henson would return for his senior season as the starting QB. However, Henson left the program unexpectedly and John Navarre was suddenly thrust into the role of starter that year.

As is demonstrated by the above examples, injuries, transfers and departures can change the best laid plans of who is going to be Michigan's "quarterback of the future." In fact, if it was not for a transfer, a different Forcier might be the Wolverines starting QB right now. As everyone recalls, Tate Forcier's older brother Jason was a QB on the 2006 team behind Chad Henne. Jason announced during 2007 Spring Practice that he was transferring to Stanford as he did not want to be stuck behind Mallett on the depth chart. Ironically, with the change in coaches and the departure of Mallett, the job is open for Jason's brother Tate.

Tate Forcier is the leading candidate for the starting QB job for 2009. However, recent history teaches us that it is much too early to tell if he will be another short termer (like Mallett and Threet) or if he will be a four-year starter like Henne. It is interesting to note that both of Tate's QB brothers are transferring this year out of situations where that did not allow them to start. Jason is transferring from Stanford (his 2nd college transfer) and brother Chris just announced he is transferring from UCLA. That shows me the Forcier family is not shy about pulling out of what it deems to be an unfavorable situation. As for the excitement surrounding Devin Gardner's verbal commitment, we went down this road twice last year with highly regarded QB recruits Kevin Newsome and Shavodrick Beaver both of whom de-committed from Michigan before signing day. Let's get Gardner signed on the dotted line before assigning him a jersey number. History shows us that plans can change drastically and you can't count on things remaining static. Go Blue!

Developing a Michigan QB

Freshman phenom Robert "Tate" Forcier is poised to take the reins in 2009 of Coach Rodriguez' spread offense. Tate was a heavily groomed and highly recruited prospect. He comes from a line of quarterbacks including his brother Jason who was once a Wolverine during the Coach Carr regime. If, as expected, Tate is the 2009 opening game starting QB, it will mark only the 5th time in Michigan history that a true freshman has started a game at QB. (The others were Rick Leach '75; Rich Hewlett '79; Chad Henne '04; and Ryan Mallett '07). Tate would be only the third true freshman to start the opening game (Leach and Henne also performed the feat).

As is well known, the Forcier family has a website (QB Force) dedicated to following the athletic exploits of the boys. An interesting tidbit found on Tate's page is that his personal trainer/QB Coach was Marv Marinovich. As you may recall, Mr. Marinovich is the father of former USC quarterback Todd Marinovich who flamed out in the pros as a result of a drug addiction that many people attributed to forming as a result of Marv's overbearing actions. (For a good primer on the background of the Marv Marinovich/Todd Marinovich debacle read the SI cover article "The Minefield" from the September 3, 1990 issue). Marv Marinovich was a frequent visitor to his son's practices at USC. Hopefully, Coach Rodriguez will keep Marv Marinovich away from his new star pupil Forcier and the Michigan Football program. The Wolverines allegedly have a world class trainer in Mike Barwis and have a QB coach in Rod Smith who knows Coach Rodriguez' offense backwards and forward. Thus, there is no continued need for the services of outside consultant Marv Marinovich. If his track record with his troubled son Todd is any indication, Mr. Marinovich is not a good influence to have around Tate Forcier. Nevertheless, he may try and hang around and "stay involved" in some unofficial capacity much like Chad Henne's high school coach did during Henne's four years at Michigan. Henne's controversial high school coach Jim Cantafio hung around the program as an informal advisor to Henne and his family as Cantafio bided his time for Henne to turn pro possibly hoping he would be given some dough. Tate has already made it to Michigan. Coach Rodriguez can take his game to the next level. They don't need Marinovich. If the Forcier family hasn't already, they should drop him like a bad habit. Go Blue!

*Note: Photo of Tate Forcier (5) by JOHN T. GREILICK/The Detroit News

Saturday, April 04, 2009

2009 Michigan Football Spring Media Guide

» Table of Contents / Pages 1-2 / 856 KB•
» Part 1 / Pages 3-35: Quick Facts, Rosters, Anderson-Herron / 2.4 MB
» Part 2 / Pages 36-63: Huyge-Reilly / 1.78 MB
» Part 3 / Pages 64-96: Reyes-Wright + Recruits / 1.87 MB
» Part 1 Pages 97-101: Head coach Rich Rodriguez / 1.34 MB
» Part 2 Pages 102-111: Assistant coaches / 717 KB
» Part 3 Pages 112-132: GAs, Quality Control, Support Staff / 2.53 MB
» Part 1 Pages 133-157: Game recaps and stats / 2.6 MB
» Part 2 Pages 158-184: Season Statistics / 685 KB•
» Part 1 Pages 185-233: Individual Records / 3.8 MB
» Part 2 Pages 234-276: Game and season records, annual statistics / 574 KB
CONQU'RING HEROES Pages 277-308, Athletic and Academic Honors & Awards / 4.97 MB
» Part 1 Pages 309-351: Lettermen, Coaching History / 1.7 MB
» Part 2 Pages 352-398: All-time scores, series information, bowl history, championship teams / 1.12 MB
MICHIGAN STADIUM Pages 399-416 / 2.7 MB
WOLVERINES IN THE NFL Pages 417-447 / 2.39 MB
Go Blue!