Rich Rodriguez; Denard Robinson; Tate Forcier
I haven't seen this discussed around these parts, possibly because it is not 100% new to RR's offense at Michigan, but they showed quite a bit of I-Formation (I believe typically with 3 WRs) during the Spring Game with Tate under center.
I like seeing this for several reasons:
1) Maybe you don't like it but I love the old school feel of the I-Formation. As much as I think the spread can have success, I don't believe in the death of any "traditional" offense. If only they threw in an off-set FB in there it would be like watching the good ol' days, which is always nice.
2) I think it can really effect a defenses mentality. The I-Formation can have significantly different reads than the typical shotgun spread look. It also allows for different plays because of the RBs position in relation to the QB, allowing him to be heading down hill at the point he receives the ball. This will be great in goal line and short yardage, as well as several first down plays and when we are trying to run the clock out (that's assuming we execute better than last year at Illinois).
3) I think it allows us to use the play action to much greater affect. This should increase TE production if they are on the field when it's being run. This play action feel with boots is run out of the shotgun as well, but the motion of the QB in the I-formation is another thing that changes for the defense, possibly slowing their reaction times.
4) If we do it successfully it is another element opposing defenses must account for.
5) If we continue to run it, it can dispell any rumor that RR doesn't create players for the next level, or never puts QBs under center, so on and so forth.
That being said, I only saw Tate run this, and don't believe Denard ever did. It's probably because the shotgun plays more toward Denard's strengths than the I-form, but I found it interesting and wonder if Denard is getting many reps with it.
I would also like to know how much and to what success RR has ran this previously, if anyone has any know in the situation.
RR is saying he will run the same game plan regardless of who is the QB. I don't see that so far this season or most importantly in the Iowa game. If Denard is really going to step up he needs to show he can make some passes and some reads on zone plays. More importantly, RR needs to call the plays that allow our WRs and RBs to contribute and give Denard opportunity to execute.
Up to this point Denard has been running a package very different than Tate. We have been a different beast with Denard in the backfield not because he is making different decisions, but because the plays are predominantly called QB keepers (that is what I saw in Iowa). It would be interesting to see if Denard can be in the backfield and distribute the ball when called for.
It will be great to see him break a few big runs as well - don't get me wrong.
At the beginning of the season there was the spring game experience gap issue TF vs. DR- it's at the half way point now - time for DR to show he can go - regardless of whether he starts or not. I would like to see him make the entire O work, or else we may see Sheridan in certain situations if Forcier goes down.