Mailbag! Comment Count

Brian September 15th, 2009 at 10:56 AM

Brian, when was the last time that Michigan won and all 3 of our traditional rivals lost (like on Saturday)? Has this ever happened?
Mike Hamberg

The answer to this can be found about 15 minutes deep into yesterday's podcast. Mwa ha ha.

Okay: Jamiemac did the research and the last time this happened was October 2nd, 2004.

  1. Michigan blew out Indiana 35-14.
  2. Ohio State lost in overtime to Northwestern 33-27.
  3. Michigan State got smoked by Iowa 38-16.
  4. And Notre Dame got annihilated by Purdue 41-16.

I'll take Saturday over those results easy. We also brought this up on the podcast: this sort of event needs a name so we can refer to [NAME] I, [NAME] II, and so on with Saturday marking the AFL-NFL merger, as it were. If we want we can count backwards from there and let the 2004 event be 0—it predates the blog—and any previous be negative. But we need a name. MGoMinions, you have your charge.

On that play at the end of the game when Clausen went deep on 2nd and 10 against Warren, I am pretty confident that the fly pattern was not called from the huddle. I think Weis probably had a much more conservative play called (like a hitch or quick out or comeback on the sideline) but as soon as Warren rolled up into press-man, the WR and the QB automatically know that the WR is going to run a jet.  So, while I agree 100% that Weis should have run the ball on second - or at least gone away from Warren, who was in his guy's shirt on all but two plays - I don't think he called for the Home Run. 

What a game for tons of recruits to attend, btw.  Perfect.

Nicholas Marietti

Whoah: I've been arguing that throwing the ball on second and ten is a good idea as long as it's not some crazy bomb. Just because Warren is in press coverage doesn't mean you can't get Rudolph open or slip Hughes out of the backfield or do any number of other things that don't involve a long sideline route against Donovan Warren. And you certainly don't let your QB check to a balls-to-the-wall call when going 35 is called for. Especially with timeouts you don't care about. Take one and get it right.

Aaaand now lets get to the emails that have flooded my mailbox about quarterbacks not named Tate Forcier:


I understand that we need to have two viable QBs b/c of the always possible (GOD-FORBID) chance of injury to the one, but what are the chances that we can utilize DR as a WR? If not this year, how about next year (When Gardner is here)? It seems that DR would burn almost everyone trying to cover him, if he has the ability to catch. Thanks!


This, or a variant of it, has been rampant speculation anywhere one Michigan fan can communicate to another: what do we do with a man who is made of dilithium now that we have all converted to the Church of Tate? In two words: I dunno.

This year you have to keep him at quarterback and work on his ability to play the position as extensively as possible. If Michigan's up 38 against Eastern all remaining offensive drives should be Robinson throwing every down. Establishing himself as a viable option at QB will make his cameos throughout the rest of the season more effective and provide Michigan some non-Sheridan depth at a position that really needs it. That's the rest of this year.

As for next year, and beyond… even that's tough. At this point I assume you dearly want to redshirt Devin Gardner (about whom more in a sec), which would be difficult if Robinson moved to another position. At the same time, you don't want Robinson wiling his time away on the bench; you probably want both Forcier and Robinson on the field.

How do you do that if Robinson's a quarterback? I think you play two quarterbacks. We saw a little bit of this in the last game when Forcier motioned out into the slot and Robinson basically became a wildcat QB; in the future, especially when Minor and Brown leave, I think you might see a good deal of both QBs in the same backfield, with Robinson acting as a sort of Percy Harvin jet ninja who actually throws several time a game. If it works really, really well it might be the base offense.

While we're on the topic, here's a prescient email from before the ND game:

After watching the Michigan-Western Michigan on Saturday, not only was I relieved by finally attending a win in the season-opener, but I was also intrigued by the possibilities of the two-quarterback system (not even going to say three-quarterback system, because that would mean DEATH). Tate and Denard reminded me of a very-poor man's version of Florida in 2006 with Chris Leak and Tim Tebow.  With Tate in the game the defense expects him to throw but he has a threat to run (Leak), and with Denard in the game the defense expects him to run with a smaller threat to throw (Tebow). This opens the door up for big plays with the defense cheating one way or the other. If Denard can get into the game around 20-25 plays per game, and can be semi-effective throwing the ball I think the ceiling for the offense is very high. Then again, we are talking about two freshmen, and it was only Western Michigan, but even the possibility that Michigan has two viable, complementary quarterbacks (that aren't last year's quarterbacks) got me excited for the rest of the season.

So, I was wondering what you think we can expect from the two-quarterback system for the rest of the year... and if this scheme is successful going forward, should we plan on this being the norm, or just a way to see which quarterback will separate himself from the other?
Dave Murray
BBA 2008

We all witness Forcier achieve separation last week but that does not mean Robinson, who should improve more rapidly than Forcier because he's farther away from his ceiling, won't get viable towards the end of the year. It's going to be very hard for opposing safeties to not come up when Robinson starts running around, and at some point this year he will pull up and hit someone running wide open. Against Notre Dame's blitz-mad offense in his second game, Robinson was not prepared. He'll be way more viable two months from now against mid-level Big Ten teams. Don't expect him to be as small a part of the offense going forward as he was against Notre Dame.

And now to Devin Gardner:


Has the success of Tate Forcier in the early going had any affect on the commitment of Devin Gardner?

U of M in TX

This is another question I've gotten a dozen times and can only really answer with "I don't know." But when Gardner committed he knew there were two freshman quarterbacks in front of him and that one of them would likely be an entrenched starter when he arrived. He's made several comments in the aftermath of his commitment to the effect of "I am a strong Michigan commitment," and yes everyone says that up until the point they don't but he can't say much else to reassure us and has made no motion that would indicate a soft commitment.

So I don't think so. And it's not like the situation anywhere local is much better. Ohio State snubbed him in favor of Montana's kid and with "Lebron in Cleats" looking decidedly un-Lebron he'd have to wait for two years behind Pryor anyway, and given the quarterback depth at Ohio State (virtually none) a redshirt might not be possible. And no other major local program is spread friendly except Penn State, which already has Kevin Newsome, Paul Jones, and Robert Bolden in the last two classes.



September 15th, 2009 at 11:11 AM ^

let's hope DG sees what tate has done and instead of thinking "i should go elsewhere" he thinks "wow, look what these coaches can do for my game."


September 15th, 2009 at 11:11 AM ^

I remember that Gardner played WR at several camp stops over the summer and acquitted himself quite well. What was the reason for that? I assume he will play quarterback exclusively here to develop there, but if he redshirts then still has two years to sit behind Forcier, could we see him out wide?

Eye of the Tiger

September 15th, 2009 at 11:11 AM ^

You are right that D Rob needs to work on his passing game before he's truly a viable QB, but there are things he can do on the field now that we haven't really tried yet. i.e. handing the ball off to Minor/Brown. That opens things up for the zone-read option, by creating mystery as to whether D Rob will keep the ball or give it to Minor/Brown. We saw Tate run this a few times against ND, but basically every time D Rob was in the game as QB, you knew he was going to get the carry, so Tenuta stacked the line.


September 15th, 2009 at 11:23 AM ^

I'd say give Denard enough reps to make him a serivceable thrower, give Gardner enough time next year to adjust and get his stuff together(a redshirt or not), and then in two years time we can line up with Tate behind center and Denard and Gardner on the flanks or as backs.
The possibilities here are beyond endless.

[email protected]

September 15th, 2009 at 11:38 AM ^

Lets venture into the world of horse betting:

Superfecta - a bet that you can pick the first four finishers in a race in the right order



= Schadenfecta

Ex. The students shouted together in jubilation after it was announced that Michigan hit the Schadenfecta on Saturday


September 15th, 2009 at 12:01 PM ^

Just wanted to give you some kudos for researching this too. I saw your forum thread yesterday and meant to comment, but got tied up with work.

Did you propose MGOBlueMoon, ro something like that? I actually like that. I like the sound of celebrating more frequent MGoBlueMoons.


September 15th, 2009 at 12:20 PM ^

I did propose GoBluemoon, as in "once in a GoBluemoon"; MGoBluemoon is a fine adaptation. And it is something we'd all like to see happen *much* more often.

While doing the research for the thread, I found five times in the 90's and early 2000's where OSU and MSU lost, but ND beat Navy(thrice) or Rutgers(twice). So close.


September 15th, 2009 at 12:30 PM ^

Those were some terrible Navy and Rutger teams back then. The MGoBlueMoon had no chance, but, hey a two-thirds moon aint all that bad.

Yeah, I saw the other instances and each one brought back a lot of memories.....i may have to break out my Diarist pen and write some tributes to past MGoBlueMoons......actually, maybe it should be GoBlueMoon, but since this is the first time its happened within the blog's history we are under MGoBlueMoon I.

Regardless, I thought the answer was going to be the day of the 2003 OSU win. I knew PSU smoked MSU that day and I thought the Orange beat ND. But, alas, that result was a week later and the Irish rolled somebody (stanford, i think) that day.

I spent the afternoon leading up to the podcast recording on Sunday looking for it and it pleases me to know I was not the only one curious about it.

Go Blue!!


September 15th, 2009 at 11:48 AM ^

of having Tate and Denard both in the game at once. Neither of the two are huge guys, so how would we be forced to change our blocking strategy since we would possibly have an empty backfield with the two of them in at the same time?


September 15th, 2009 at 11:51 AM ^

I vote for "Syzygy Saturday"

For the X-Files episode, see Syzygy (The X-Files).

In broadest terms, syzygy is a kind of unity, especially through coordination or alignment, most commonly used in the astronomical and/or astrological sense.[1] Syzygy is derived from the Late Latin syzygia, "conjunction," from the Greek (syzygos).

Syzygial, adjective of syzygy, describes the alignment of three or more celestial bodies in the same gravitational system along a plane.


September 15th, 2009 at 11:52 AM ^

With whatever phrase wins I think there have to be multiple iterations.

Using my favorite suggestion so far:

Rivalpocalypse - M wins and ND, OSU, MSU lose
Ultra Rivalpocalypse - M wins by beating OSU/ MSU or ND and other two rivals also lose.

For example: "Saturday's Rivalpocalypse is the first since the Ultra Rivalpocalypse of 2009."


September 15th, 2009 at 12:03 PM ^

Fitting, especially coming against Notre Dame.

(Sorry, don't have a name for when all the Rivalry Planets align any better than what's already been posted.)


September 15th, 2009 at 12:06 PM ^

I offer that such a weekend of four-cornered success be deemed "Super-MMON-fecta." M for UM, M for MSU, O for OSU and N for the Domers. I would also offer that we were one factor shy of not only having each of our 3 rivals lose, but lose to underdogs along with UM winning as a dog. CMU and UM were dogs that won. If USC had been an underdog, that would have been the Super-MMONDog-fecta....akin to a Royal Flush whereas the Super-MMON-fecta is a straight flush.


September 15th, 2009 at 12:08 PM ^

I think he will succeed wherever he decides to play. The idea of a two-headed QB beast(s) is pretty cool, and given RR ability to craft the O based on the talents, the sky is the limit. However, I can also see him looking at the depth at CB going forward and switch to that side of the ball. If I remember correctly, Florida wanted him as an ATH/CB. I think it would be AWESOME to see his speed on that side of the ball, paired with CB Turner, for a serious shut-down secondary. In addition, he could play some on O ala Charles "Heisman Trophy Winner" Woodson. That is all.

Sgt. Wolverine

September 15th, 2009 at 12:13 PM ^

I think it would be best if the name for this great occurrence didn't involve the word schadenfreude. It's getting to be a bit overused, and a day this special deserves something more creative.

I suggest The Tetralogy. Hey, it features three tragedies, so it works, right?


September 15th, 2009 at 12:17 PM ^

The "Grand Slam" idea is the best I think from the comments. 4 great things happen on a Saturday. We win and are rivals lose.
Also I think through are next two games D.Robinson should get more reps than he has been getting so he can get more practice in.


September 15th, 2009 at 12:35 PM ^

I haven't seen it mentioned much (perhaps because it's so obvious) but might Rodriguez's seeming fixation on the notion of playing multiple quarterbacks since he arrived at Michigan have something to do with the memory of his last game at West Virginia, during which a freak thumb sprain to Pat White almost certainly cost him the chance to play for the MNC? I'm not sure how many meaningful snaps White's backup took before that game, but, to hear Rodriguez talk now, he seems to be intent on developing Denard to the point where he is not merely a competent backup, but an interchangeable starter. I get the impression his experience in the Pittsburgh game, coupled perhaps with other examples such as Oregon's implosion after Dennis Dixon went down in 2007, has convinced him that the best way for a spread-option team to succeed is to have multiple starters at quarterback (not necessarily because option quarterbacks are more likely to be injured, but because the spread-option system requires a quarterback with certain skills and knowledge of the offense to function well).

DC Dave

September 15th, 2009 at 12:45 PM ^

himself at QB. It is becoming evident that Forcier is going to be Michigan's long-term starter but he has been on campus since January, whereas Robinson just got here. Even if it is unrealistic to expect Robinson to overtake Forcier for the starting QB spot, he needs to be given the chance to compete and that means more time to develop at the position.


September 15th, 2009 at 12:54 PM ^

I like these suggestions so far:

* Fourgasm
* Michigan Slam
* Schadenfecta (though I think this works best for when the three rivals lose, not requiring an M win)
* Super-MMON-fecta

Along the -fecta line, NOM-NOM-fecta works in these days of lolcat relevance.