Quarterback Preferences, and the like

Submitted by chitownblue2 on August 24th, 2009 at 11:40 AM

For the past few weeks, I’ve been pretty vocal about my rooting interest in seeing Denard Robinson become Michigan’s starting quarterback, and have often gotten asked why. Scanning MGoBoard this morning, it appears as if the masses are suddenly all a-twitter about Mr. Robinson as well. Before the inevitable Denard-backlash strikes, I’d like to briefly explain my enthusiasm for the young man:

1. I enjoy rooting for the underdog. Unlike Tate, Denard wasn’t bred to be a quarterback, and hasn’t had the benefit of private lessons from the time he was weaned from breast-feeding. Tate was immediately tabbed the presumptive starter by many people on the internet – from commenters on this blog to Brian himself (check the tagline on the site). Obviously, I felt this was somewhat premature, given that Robinson had yet to set foot on campus. Tate has the benefit of years of additional training, and months of additional practice time in the offense – I think it’s a cool story that Denard is able to push him, and it says a lot about Denard’s competitiveness and overall talent-level that he’s able to do so.

2. Many here know me to be a contrarian. Would I derive a healthy amount of satisfaction seeing the legion of amateur-quarterback coaches on this site who write authoritative scouting reports based on 90 second highlight films to be proven wrong? I absolutely would. The gap between Robinson and Forcier, clearly, was oversold by these people from the jump, or the “competition” as it exists, wouldn’t be as intense as it apparently is.

3. Shoelace = Awesome.

4. By far, the most important factor, for me, is that Robinson is exciting. From the little we’ve seen, and the bit more we’ve heard, Robinson’s game is, for lack of a better word, sexy – he’s a touchdown waiting to happen. Forcier’s highest praise, really, is that he’s extremely fundamentally sound. To me, I know which one of those sounds more fun to watch – I’d prefer to watch a dynamic game-breaker than an effective game-manager. I was excited when Michigan hired Rodriguez, because, FINALLY, we had a coach that would find us a quarterback who would inflict as much running-QB trauma on the opposition as we’ve suffered at the hands of Dennis Dixon, Vince Young, Troy Smith, Donovan McNabb, Armanti Edwards, and even such luminaries as Jarious Jackson. Well – we’ve GOT one of those – Denard Robinson.

I want to be clear, however: I’m not a football coach. I know nothing about throwing mechanics. My opinion, really, is useless. What I’m laying out here is not “why Denard Robinson is better” – because I am thoroughly unqualified to say such a thing. What I’m saying is why I prefer Robinson.



August 24th, 2009 at 1:10 PM ^

But at least for now, we've got what seems like two good options and one possibly-not-DEATH option (Angry Michigan Quarterback Hating God willing).

Last year we all kinda suspected that we were in for some harsh times, and we only argued between quarterbacks because someone had to stand behind the center.


August 24th, 2009 at 11:56 AM ^

Here's to you, Mr. Robinson

Tate White Jesus loves you more than you will know

wo wo wo

Okay, now can we move on to the Furrha over-exuberating?


August 24th, 2009 at 11:53 AM ^

Great post! I agree with you for the most part. It is nice to have a game-breaker at QB on our team! I will be happy with either Tate or Denard as the starting QB, whoever Rich decides to go with. There is something to say about Denard's ability to break a big run at any given moment, but that factor alone won't trump Forcier's passing ability/fundamentals. I hope Denard continues to progress with his throwing mechanics and I am excited to see how good of a "manager" Tate can be. It is great to know that we may possibly be solid at QB for the next 5-6 yrs with these two and Devin coming in!!!!


August 24th, 2009 at 12:04 PM ^

Well said, well argued, straight forward but unfortunately, wrong. While a sexy game breaking playmaker may give us "Revenge of the Running QB: This Time Its Personal", I believe that Tate will have the edge simply because all around his game is more fundamentally sound. We won't really know anything until the 5th of September and we get to see 1, 2 or 3 of these guys play. But we should be excited, not so much because of one or the other will start; but that whether Forcier or Robinson starts, we will be markedly improved at QB this year.


August 24th, 2009 at 12:11 PM ^

And that is probably the most important point of all...how much have any of us seen of them? Who of us really has the creds to evaluate them properly?

My love for Forcier is more or less the mirror of your man crush on Robinson. You like game breaking "sexiness." I like the idea of football smart, fundamentally sound with enough athleticism to keep defences honest.

Until the 5th we will not know anything...I just pray that we will be good enough to put one up in the "W" column.

I Miss Bursley

August 24th, 2009 at 12:00 PM ^

I want to see Forcier take the field because he is "extremely fundamentally sound," but I have to admit part of me wants to see DR (im not cool enough to call him Shoelace just yet) win the job purely so we can get back at some of the teams that tore our defenses apart during the Carr years. It would be sweet revenge no?

In that sense point 4 is dead on.

I do wanna take issue with point 1, wouldn't you prefer the QB thats been trained to do the job since birth? Although I see where you're coming from and rooting for the underdog just comes naturally for most of us.

Nicely written post, I'm glad I took the time off from negging dicle's post to actually read this one.


August 24th, 2009 at 12:04 PM ^

Isn't it fair to assume that if Forcier is a more accurate passer that he would be the main guy? Until Robinson's mechanics are worked out to a degree where he is comparable to Forcier I would imagine that putting him in over Tate is a little suggestive of what approach the offense will be taking. Even if he has several options on each play, Robinson's presence may cause the opposing defense to focus on his running or his handoff to a back as opposed to his ability to throw a bubble screen.

I would also imagine that if Denard is so fast that he would have an opportunity to play in the slot while Tate is quarterbacking.

Steve in PA

August 24th, 2009 at 12:07 PM ^

I'm not a QB expert either, but I wonder about how much upside is available to both. If one has been "coached up" since the cradle and the other one is getting starting mentions just on raw mechanics and talent I wonder who is a better long-term qb?


August 24th, 2009 at 12:44 PM ^

but disagree on what type of qb I would like to see. In theory, given that I know fuck-all about what they will actually play like, I would rather have a qb who gets the ball to the receiver better and has the threat of a run, than a runner who can get the ball to a receiver every once in a while to keep the defense honest. I like a 60 yard run as much as the next guy, but I would rather it be our running backs or YAC from a receiver than our qb on a regular basis.

Now from what I have seen and read, which isn't much but is most of what the internet has to offer on our three qbs, I think Denard has the arm strength to be a good passer. If he can be an accurate passer and good reader of defenses, then his "threat to run" is probably greater than Tate's, and I would rather see him.

But I really would rather have a "Colt McCoy" than a "Pat White". (please don't give me a hard time about the white guy vs. black guy stereotype things. I just think these two players are good examples of my preference for a pass first offense. Also, I would obviously want 1/4 of Pat White compared to the absolute fail at the position last year)

Having a pass first qb would be better for recruiting elite wide receivers, which I really enjoy watching. And, I enjoy seeing a sweet bomb for a td just as much as a long run.

Durham Blue

August 24th, 2009 at 7:05 PM ^

amen, chitown. The kid has the word 'electric' written all over him. A dynamic game-breaker that also understands game management (takes care of the football, good at reading defenses, mature, etc) equals DEATH for opposing teams.

All that said, I still think Tate gets the majority of snaps through the first 6 games. DR and Sheridan will be sprinkled in for 10 to 15 snaps per game. But DR will end up the starter in the second half of the season.

Braylon 5 Hour…

August 24th, 2009 at 12:49 PM ^

Can we all at least agree on, whether it's Forcier or Robinson, that nobody wants to see Nick Sheridan on the field ever again? Everytime RR refers to 3 QBs or says that Sheridan "knows the offense", I am afraid. I think Sheridan's probably the worst football player Michigan has ever suited up, at least in the last 15-20 years. Anyone with a better nominee?


August 24th, 2009 at 1:03 PM ^

How about all the walk-ons who DIDN'T beat out 4-star recruits for the starting job at Michigan? You just think Sheridan's the worst player Michigan has suited up because he won the starting job at the highest profile position on the team.

I'm sick of people bashing Sheridan. He's not a great QB, but he's worked his ass off only to have people like you shit on him. Does it make you feel better to put him down, since you probably aren't/weren't good enough to play varsity sports at Michigan? Do you think we'll find you cooler because you're making fun of a guy who got to fulfill a dream many of us wish we could - to start at QB for Michigan in Michigan Stadium? If that was your goal, it didn't work.

Perhaps you should have listened to your mother when she said, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."


August 24th, 2009 at 1:08 PM ^

While I strongly speculate that Tate and Denard are better options, I prefer not to shit on someone that was able to walk onto the team, work his ass off, earn a scholarship, be placed in a near impossible situation, play quarterback on a team with one of the highest profiles in the nation, go through a 3-9 season and then deal with the unrelenting boos and criticisms of the fans and media. He’s already done more than the vast majority of us could ever hope to do. He’s lived the dream.

So is there a better nominee for the worst football player Michigan has ever suited up? Fuck that. I don't know. I'm not going to waste my time pondering something like that. I like Nick Sheridan. I don’t have to hope to see him start a game or on the field at a critical juncture. But I sure as hell am going to support him just like any other player that puts on that helmet.

Blue in Yarmouth

August 24th, 2009 at 12:52 PM ^

I have been a very big fan of DR and it may be due to my preference to cheer for the underdog,i'm not sure. All I know is I really want to see him get some serious playing time this year and would love it if he had the skills to take the starting job. Like you though, I am not an authority on throwing mechanics and fundamentals so this is purely based on my desire to see a true gamebreaker at QB playing for UM.


August 24th, 2009 at 12:55 PM ^

"I’d prefer to watch a dynamic game-breaker than an effective game-manager."

I don't understand why these two things have to be mutually exclusive. The comparison I've seen most often for Forcier is to Colt McCoy. Obviously, those comparisons are premature, but so are comparisons between Robinson and Vince Young, Dennis Dixon, Pat White, etc.

Forcier was something like 11-for-14 for 140 yards and 3 TDs in the spring game, along with zero interceptions. I know we shouldn't expect those kinds of numbers in the fall, but that production is both game-breaking AND game-managing.

Six Zero

August 24th, 2009 at 1:02 PM ^

This is one of those posts that make it extremely hard to focus at work. Or on anything not directly related to Michigan football. GAME DAY IN LESS THAN TWO WEEKS!!!!!


August 24th, 2009 at 1:05 PM ^

Look, I don't have to agree with you, but you aren't saying "Denard will be the starter." There is no prediction and no comparisons of yourself to Nostradamus. I'm going to agree with UMFootballCrazy when he says:

While a sexy game breaking playmaker may give us "Revenge of the Running QB: This Time Its Personal", I believe that Tate will have the edge simply because all around his game is more fundamentally sound. We won't really know anything until the 5th of September and we get to see 1, 2 or 3 of these guys play.

But I will also say this. Denard is simply too good of an athlete to keep off of the field. He'll play, even if it is in some sort of Wildcat formation. And he should even play when Tate is on the field (double pass anyone?). Michigan has so many weapons on offense, I hope they throw them out there and dare defenses to cover everyone.


August 24th, 2009 at 1:17 PM ^

I have now read about 30 threads and articles on the QB competition, and my little brain is officially saturated. Here's what is seeping out of my ears:
(1) All three QBs seemed like good guys. (2) RR probably has a favorite by now, but wants to keep the competition alive, WMU/ND guessing and to see what happens in a real game. (3) After 4 or 5 games a clear starter will surface. (4) I'm extremely thankful our QB play will be much better than 2008.


August 24th, 2009 at 1:22 PM ^

My only concern with Robinson is that Rodriguez may see a little too much Pat White in him. FWIW, I think Rich got away a bit with White/Slaton/Devine and their pure talent and speed. The reason I like Tate is because he has the ability to stretch the field with the vertical passing game; something that we need to see develop if Michigan wants to reach the top again. Now, like Chitown said, I don't know shit about football, so maybe Denard can pass well.

We'll see.

Foote Fetish

August 24th, 2009 at 1:23 PM ^

Would be whatever quarterback has the best chance to win the damned game.

I like all three of the quarterbacks - yes, there's even a sadomasochistic part of me that still likes Sheridan - and I'll always have a soft spot for Tate for giving us actual hope over the spring. But seriously, if Shoelaces gives us the best chance to win, then I say put in Shoelaces. If Tate gives us the best chance, then put in Tate. If we need to do some combination of the two and Rich Rod can make it work, then that's fine by me too.

All I know is we have at least two quarterbacks now who are capable of operating a spread offense. That's two more than last year.


August 24th, 2009 at 1:25 PM ^

personally, i hope forcier is so impressive that he easily wins the job. then gives way to gardner in a few years. that way, denard can go to another position of need (ie. WR or CB). i would love, however, for denard to get several plays at QB each game to get the ball in hands.


August 24th, 2009 at 1:28 PM ^

I am by no means qualified to gauge a QBs skill, just as you stated about yourself

But I do feel much more comfortable about the UM game with Sheridan or Forcier under center than Robinson. And as I posted before, I believe the majority of ND fans agree with that, at least the ones with opinions I respect.


August 24th, 2009 at 1:30 PM ^

I've been looking at this as a whole-is-greater-than-sum-of-parts deal. I'm probably taking it to absurd levels of optimism, so you've been warned. But just imagine how much fun this can be if Tate efficiently slow-plays the offense downfield for a couple of first downs and then Denard sprints on for a no-huddle to catch the defense with the wrong personnel. Or lining up both in the same backfield and nobody knows which of them gets the snap. I'm sure I'm being too fancy here. But the thing is, both of these guys are true freshmen, which is almost always a problem at quarterback - but I think getting them both in there can cover up a lot of the usual issues.


August 24th, 2009 at 1:31 PM ^

their talents at the same time. Why can't we line both of them up to take snaps and let the defense figure out who's going to get and what they will do once they take said snap. If both are running QBs and can both throw (one being better at this currently) it would seem our offense will be at great advantage by having both on the field at the same time.

Now being somewhat ignorant as to how you'd pull that off from the center position, I think it is entirely ridiculous to believe that just because Tate may be on the field, that Shoelace can't be.

The possibilities may be endless. This is going to be an exciting season!


August 24th, 2009 at 1:54 PM ^

that I just want whoever to start that gives us the best chance to win.

I didn't read every comment but I just wanted to say to Chi that as far as the "DR is sexier cuz he has a lot more big play-ability and TF isn't as sexy cuz he's just fundamentally sound". IME I would rather have someone who can make all of the throws, can run, won't make mistakes, bad reads, etc. Generally big play players will have more variance (hence why they make big plays) but with big positive plays will come more big negative plays (INT's, FL, etc).

From all accounts it would make sense that DR would be more exciting both for us and for the opposing team but maybe it's just the Lloyd Carr in me talking but I'd rather have the stability of someone who might not have as much of big-play-ability for a better game manager who won't throw stupid INT's.