Observations from Tate Forcier's game tonight

Submitted by Michigan Gator on December 6th, 2008 at 3:24 AM

I just got back from watching Tate Forcier's high school playoff game against Oceanside High School tonight in California. It was truly one of the strangest football games I have ever seen. The game was delayed for about 1 1/2 hours because the local power grid went down and every light in the stadium went off right before Tate was ready to snap the ball. They only got half of the lights to work (later all of the lights eventually came back on), so they were only using one end of the field (where the lights were on) and both teams kept using the same side of field, swapping after each change of possession. A few observations:

- Tate throws a great ball. Unfortunately, his offensive line was horrible and never gave him any time to sit in the pocket and throw a deep ball. It would have been nice to see him attempt some down field stuff, but it was not to be. All of his passes looked sharp and accurate though. He also has a really quick release.

- He is a hell of a scrambler, but doesn't seem to have a lot of speed. He is much more nimble than Threet, but doesn't possess another gear to outrun his pursuers. He was able to escape a lot of tackles behind of the line of scrimmage, but he holds onto the ball a lot longer than he should and sometimes gets himself into trouble. I'm sure this will easily be fixed by coaching at the next level.

- Tate does not seem to be much of a leader on his team. During the warm-up drills before the game, every single player on his team was participating in the drills besides him. Tate was just off on the sideline by himself screwing around with the managers and cheerleaders. He also didn't appear to be very vocal. I guess I expect the stud of the team, especially the QB, to be the leader of every drill, to be the first one out of the locker room and onto the field after halftime, etc. and Tate just wasn't that guy. He was extremely fired up when he scored (he ran for two touchdowns), but just doesn't seem like a great leader at this point.

- His team worked out of a shotgun formation virtually every play. Much like our system, Tate would operate from a no huddle, get his line set, look over to the sidelines to get his play, and then take it from there. His team only scored 14 points, but he was able to move the ball up and down the field against probably the best defensive team in all of San Diego.

- Tate was also playing CB, which I hated to see but I understood that his team is trying to win a state title. Forcier was less than good at CB... as a matter of fact, I would say that he was terrible. Thankfully, tonight will be the last night he will ever line up on the defensive side of the ball.

- An additional note, his running back is Brennan Clay who is a junior with an offer from us (I think he's a verbal commit). Clay looked pretty good. He doesn't possess breakaway speed, but he's a hard runner with good hands. I definitely don't see him as a slot guy. He looks to be more in the mold of a Minor. He's young though so time will tell. I was impressed by him though.

- One final note worth mentioning, Forcier is super thin. Barwis will definitely need to work some magic on him to get him to fill out because the kid looks rail skinny.

That's all. I don't have the stats from the game, but Oceanside handled Forcier's team big time in the 2nd half. Although I like the way he throws the ball, I am hoping that Beaver is little more athletic even if he doesn't throw as nice as a ball as Forcier.



December 6th, 2008 at 7:25 AM ^

Two questions, I know you said he didn't have the chance to go downfield often, but how would you rate the zip on his passess that had to travel more than 20-25 yards in the air? Perhaps you got a better feel for this during his warmups. If there were any.

Also, when he was moving around in the pocket due to the line, was he keeping his eyes downfield or looking for a place to run as soon as it broke down? In the highlight reels, I've thought he's shown maturity in the way he's moved around with eyes downfield feeling the rush, then taking off. But of course those hightlights only show a handful of plays per game.

I'm hoping that Tate is Pat White in reverse. You don't need a huge arm in RR's system if you're accurate with the ball up to 20 yards downfield. When the guru's rate the best running qb, biggest arm, most accurate, etc in this class, Tate is often mentioned as the most accurate. If Tate's accuracy is to White's speed, the offense should hum by his second season, so long as Tate's speed is at least equal to White's accuracy.

If someone went back through the '08 UFRs, I would be willing to bet that for every time Sherdian/Threet properly took advantage of a crashing DE and kept the ball, there 4 or 5 instances when they should have kept but handed off. Of all the glaring shortcomings in our QBs, this prob ranks next to inability to throw an accurate bubble screen and ahead of lack of speed.

Virtually anytime Threet made the proper read and kept, it was at least 4 yards, with the occasional buffalo stampede. As we saw v Whiskey, Threet actually wasn't all that slow once he got up to top speed. Which took about 5 strides. Threet's first, second and third steps were worse than Johnny Naver.

From what I've seen on Tate's highlights, he's no speed merchant, but as you say he's got good feet. If he can make the proper read of that DE and keep in obvious situations, he's got enough foot speed to pick up 5-7 yards before he reaches a second defender. Not only is that run a part of the offense which was vastly underused, DEs will be forced to honor it, which is going to eliminate a significant percentage of running plays where our RB is meeting first contact at or before the LOS.

One thing I think everyone overlooks when projecting Tate or the Beav next season, which you point out, is their physical maturity. Look what happened to Threet with the hits he took this year. That's a big reason why I believe that RR's plan will be to develope Threet as the starter, and allow Tate and the Beav to fight it out for the role of primary back-up and player who gets a special package a la Tebow. I don't think he can afford to give a guy starters reps in practice when there's a chance that guy gets broken in half with the first good lick.

Blue Balls

December 6th, 2008 at 8:40 AM ^

and it can be very difficult to evaluate a player in the high school ranks. I also watched Pryor in high school and it's much easier to evaluate a true running qb vs a true passing qb. I see alot of quarterbacks that have the arm but most can't make the reads and many qb's at the hs level don't have good receivers to throw to. I look at the arm strength(quick out pass), ability to look down field when the primary receiver is covered and the ability to avoid the first pass rusher. Many hs qb's have what I call happy feet and have a tendency to run when the primary receiver is covered-from what I've seen of Tate, He has "happy feet". Tate most certainly has the D-1 arm and enough speed running the ball to be great. What Tate will have to work on the most is his progression of reading the receivers. The biggest asset Tate brings to the table is his ability to throw on the run-this skill will most likely earn him the starting spot as qb. I hope in Brian's new format-that he gets more video of our new recruits so this can be reviewed with Tom and discussions can follow the video highlights. Tate will do well at Michigan but fans will have to be patient and expect freshmen mistakes.


December 6th, 2008 at 8:42 AM ^

a leader. Your remarks about Tate not being a leader are most troubling. Hopefully it is not so. Leadership must come naturally but it can be developed if there is a spark there. I have watched many practices over the years and let me tell you this: Harbaugh, Griese and Brady were all exceptional leaders. It was clear at every practice. I remember when Brady was a frosh running with the demo squad and he got clocked because an OL wiffed his block. Brady was in his face screaming in the huddle. The coaches looked at each other, smiled and nodded approval.

We'll see.

blue edmore

December 6th, 2008 at 8:43 AM ^

His release sounds a LOT quicker than Threet's, which puts him ahead already. By the sound of your post, you seem to describe one of the Big 12 QB's, like Daniel, McCoy, or Bradford. If he's half that good, we're already in better shape next year. He doesn't have to be an explosive runner, just enough to get 6 yards on a 3rd-and-5, to keep drives going. Too many 3-and-outs this season, because we didn't have a QB that could keep the opponent's defense on the field.

DC Dave

December 6th, 2008 at 1:57 PM ^

I was unable to find Sheridan's weight as a HS senior on the internet but during the course of my search I discovered that Sheridan and Threet played against each other in high school, with Threet's Adrian team beating Sheridan's Saline team 10-7. Who would have thought that just 3 years and four days later those two would combine to put up 15-27-1-3 in a 10-13 loss to Toledo?


December 6th, 2008 at 12:06 PM ^

Great post and thanks for the info! The break away speed would be nice but in football that is not the most important thing. Like BlueBalls said, the firt few steps because of his quickness will get him out of a lot of bad situations. You are much more suited in football to have a good first step than to have top end speed. That is just a fact. Both of course help, but for the QB position and RB the first 3-5 steps need to be your best. WR are another story but even they need to get those one or two steps to get open. In Brians last post, he made a comment about Threets feet going one way and his body lagging behind getting smoked. From watching hilights, Tate does not have that issue. If any of that makes sense. I am not so much worried about the speed factor of Tate or Beav, but moreso the leadership.

It is concerning that he was not a leader out there vocally, but when I played, some of the best leaders only needed to show actions.(albeit(sp?) actions that did not alienate themselves...with the cheerleaders and others) The good thing is that Minor Rage will be the leader out there on the offense if Tate is in right off the bat. The first year(shoot, the first practice) he will be knocked down a notch or two and will not be King @#$% if you know what I mean, whether he starts or not. This is footballs way of making a leader. By his sophomore year, he will be more of a leader I would assume.

oc michigan fan

December 6th, 2008 at 12:44 PM ^

I saw Jimmy Clausen play his final high school game for Oaks Christian and was really surprised at how disengaged he was from the rest of the team. On the sideline, and warming up, he just didn't seem to have any friends on the squad, until he threw a TD pass. Clausen did lead them on to the field (and talk smack to the opposing sideline, nearly starting a scuffle). Tate and Jimmy are also the 3rd of their families to play DI qb, and both were anything but shy about their recruiting process. I'm just sayin'.


December 6th, 2008 at 1:35 PM ^

from the tapes that i've seen, i think a better comparison then the above mentioned (mccoy,white, etc...) would be South Florida's Matt Grothe, who would be perfect for our offense.

in my opinion, i don't think he has happy feet. i don't see him prematurely leaving the pocket and he seems to have the calm to keep his eyes down field when he is flushed from the pocket. but that's just from watching his highlights.

the leadership thing is sort of worrying (though premature) but I'd be curious to know even if he's detached from his team- is he a 1)goof around with cheerleaders type or 2)quiet, focused, in-his-own-zone kind of guy (henne)

not all Qb's are brady-like leaders, as long as they are confident and lead by example, i'm fine with not having the rah-rah in yo face personality. tate just seems like a confident, cali-cool kinda guy. and he'll learn.

and the only thing clausen and tate have in common is that they play some position where you throw the ball. i thought clausen looked like an arrogant scumbag when i saw him and i still do. i don't think you'll see tate calling up an entourage and a hoop-la'd press conference to announce stuff while rolling up in a stretch limo.

beat the dukies!! fear the crisler crazies


December 6th, 2008 at 4:14 PM ^

I have the same worries as the author. I noticed in his videos that he holds onto the ball WAY too long and often causes more problems for himself. He is also VERY slim. I dont see how he is possibly the 175-185 lbs that he claims.

I dont know, I just dont see this kid coming in and being all that great right away. I see Beaver as being more inclined ot start year 1 than Tate.


December 6th, 2008 at 6:12 PM ^

maybe tate is the leader, inside the lockeroom n all that. pushing players at practice. I know in high school its alot harder to upset a team inplayoffs, maybe tate was like our team has no chance so??. I dono im just sayin. Cant base it all on one game. It is his 13 game of the yr, so maybe he isnt as quick as he was in game 1 bc hes hhurt n all that.

I know a few games ago of his, there was a good article about him being hurt and he kept pushing himself, i think his leg was hurt and still made a big 60 yard run or somehthing. and led his team til victory.

Tate holds on to the ball ong bc fromm what i hear, tates o-line is horrible, so he tries to do it all himself.


December 6th, 2008 at 7:13 PM ^

Tate Forcier stopped, Scripps Ranch eliminated
Michigan-bound ESPNU 150 signal-caller Tate Forcier completed just nine of 23 pass attempts (39.1-percent) for 106 yards and two interceptions and was sacked seven times in Scripps Ranch's 49-14 loss to Oceanside, Calif., the Union-Tribune reports.
Forcier, who was averaging almost 400 yards of total offense coming into the game, did rush for both of his team's touchdowns in the loss.

Oceanside quarterback Jordan Wynn, committed to Utah, completed 16 of 21 passes (76.2-percent) for 226 yards and three touchdowns on the night.



December 6th, 2008 at 6:56 PM ^

I still believe that the most effective execution of the spread is a passing QB who can run. OSU wasn't great until Troy Smith learned to pass. Texas didn't win their title until Vince Young lead the nation in some passing categories.

My hope is that Rodriguez uses Michigan's recruiting abilities to attract passing QB's who can run and that's what I believe Forcier to be. I think he holds the ball longer because he's trying to scramble and complete a pass. Most running quarterbacks check their first one or two reads, tuck the ball, and hope to get something on the ground.

I compare Forcier to Jeff Garcia. More nible than fast, more accurate than strong, more scrappy than polished. And I'm totally fine with that. I think Threet starts the season as the #1, gets dinged up, and Forcier takes over.

Beaver is going to be a change of pace QB initially considering his lack of passing ability, his size, and his serious injury last season.

Go Blue Basketball!!! Is it okay to extrapolate Beilein's year #2 into the football season in 2009???


December 6th, 2008 at 8:41 PM ^

Remember that Tate is home schooled, and only plays for Scripps not hangs out in school...so perhaps he just doesnt know the guys as well and is more like a hired Gun QB then a vocal leader/bud with all of the guys from school...just a possibility

Blue Balls

December 6th, 2008 at 10:45 PM ^

to meet these cheerleaders while I have a chance. Tate's "happy feet" might be due to the fact there is no offensive line. The comparison made by allezbleu of Tate to Matt Grohe I find intresting as both qb's throw well on the run. When teams move on in state playoffs what I've always noticed the most is the size of the linemen get bigger and faster. I noticed the same today watching Alabama and Florida-great offensive and defensive lines.


December 6th, 2008 at 11:09 PM ^

Thanks for the great observations off the field as well as on. The leadership part concerns me too. Not participating in warm ups, distant from the team. Has all the attention gone to his head? That was my first impression anyhow.

Also, maybe he doesn't have a good relationship with his teammates, therefore the OL doesn't care to protect him? I've seen that before at our HS level.

Has anyone been able to observe Beav play? Or is his HS finished for the season? I really have higher hopes for him than Forcier. Again, great post! Thanks!


December 7th, 2008 at 1:08 AM ^

I'd echo all of the comments here. I saw Tate about a month ago against Mira Mesa and would say that everything here is accurate. I'd also parrot the fact that Tate seems to not be an integral leader on the team, as most of the time he's by himself on the sideline and not involved with the line/backs/wr's or even pumping up the defense. I would think that the home-schooling/hired-gun might have something to do with that, but I generally think high school kids want to win regardless of someone's educational background. Will be interesting to see what role he assumes at the next level.

My observation against MM was that Tate looked to scramble at the first sign of pressure in the pocket (i.e., happy feet). That being said, he's probably conditioned to do that since his line is pretty porous and defenders are on him all the time. Should be a good prep for his upcoming years at UM...

I have a feeling that if/when he plays at UM, he's going to try to do too much w/ his feet and scramble right away. Given the significant uptick in talent at the D-1 level, he's not going to have the great success he had in high school (see also: McGuffie). That being said, he seemed to have good down-field vision and was able to hit guys in stride, particularly a very small darty guy (like Odoms) that he hit repeatedly over the middle for 10-15 yds a clip. Balls thrown (footballs, that is) were crisp and on target for the most part, so hopefully the impending Barwis-ization won't impact that skill.

My feeling is that we can expect a "Sheridan vs. Minniesoda" type of performance out of him during the beginning of his career, but probably only after a few games of experience under his belt. My instinct tells me that if he's the #2, his introduction to D-1 football will be eerily similar to pryor's at osu in that a starter from the prior year (threet) will get the starts for the first 1/3 of the season and he'll see some time in games where we (hopefully) build a significant enough of a lead to get him some playing time. Then, as the season progresses, he ends up splitting time and eventually becomes "the dude."

Then again, we also have Shav Beav in the mix (presumably) and I haven't seen him play yet, so this might all be crap...

chitownblue (not verified)

December 7th, 2008 at 12:43 PM ^

First, there are many different kinds of leaders. Not all leaders run around screaming like Ray Lewish.

2nd, he doesn't go to school with his team mates. I'd imagine that this makes their relationship a little different.

3rd, not all QB's have to be huge leaders. Eli Manning is largely sulky and/or silent. He seems to succeed.


December 8th, 2008 at 12:30 AM ^

yeah... when you dont know all the kids on the team and u come in being a hot shot qb.. All the players r gonna think ur stuck up and cocky (jealous), so they dont give 2 shits for the guy. People prob dont like tate bc hes the incoming new hotshot qb.

Thats prob why hes not being very vocal leader, doesnt wanna be that loud mouth guy and doesnt know anyone. Coaches prob love date, and like i said above.. players get jealous and dont like tate.


December 8th, 2008 at 6:32 AM ^

Happy Feet or not...he has a history of tossing for 70% or so on the HS level...which is pretty accurate, regardless of the level he is at. What that means is he throws a ball that is catchable...

That is difficult to teach... you can teach mechanics and improve with reps, but consistant accuracy is sort of a God given skill...

Tom Brady had it... as evident by his 32-45 performance vs. Bama in the Orange Bowl, with a few on the money that were dropped...this is why he is one of the greats in the NFL...same with Peyton, Montana... accurate as hell....

Drew Breese is sort of like that now...he is the guy that we hope Tate models himself after.


December 10th, 2008 at 2:17 PM ^

went to a hoops game for Holland Christian, team that AJ Westendorp played for and won state champ, saw he had a boot on and was told he broke his foot a week before the game at Ford Field. Which would mean this kid set 4 records on a broken foot. Sounds a bit "TigeratTorreyPines-ish" to me. I also hear his family is season ticket holders, so chances are if we offer, he jumps, does anybody else think its worth a shot?