A case for Tate to start at QB

Submitted by TIMBLUE on July 26th, 2010 at 12:08 PM

I was just surfing the net looing for michigan articles and i found an article on Maizenbrew.com about reasons Tate should get the nod to start. The reasons he points out ar exactly what i have been saying about this situation all off season, about his stats his injurys and his toughness.  There is also a bit about the reasons against starting him, but majorty of the article is for him.


 I really like how he points out that after the 4-0 start we were scraming for the heismen to go to tate and making predictions about him and anoiting him another qb to join the ranks of Henne, Griese, Navarre ect.  Look i think we win with either QB but i feel safer with Tate.


willis j

July 26th, 2010 at 12:13 PM ^

a very good qb in my eyes but he need to get better when the play breaks down. For every time he does a great job of improvising there are the times where he loses the ball due to insecurity and the times where he throws it up for grabs. I think Tate plays a majority of the snaps this year and for the next two after that. Barring injury.

willis j

July 26th, 2010 at 12:25 PM ^

is at his best when he rolls out of the pocket. I'm not going to go back and find all the examples of him throwing the ball up for grabs or fumbling when he is scrambling around.

He is good at it no doubt. But I don't think you can say he has great ball security. This is not high school anymore, he has to take care of the ball when running around behind the line. Watch his High School highlight videos, he scrambles around a lot, holds the ball the same as he did last year, but you can get away with it when the talent level is lower and your opponent has 1 or 2 guys that will play D1 ball. You cant at Michigan.

I have faith that he will improve greatly on this in the upcoming season.


July 26th, 2010 at 4:18 PM ^

Although he was doing the exact same running around with the ball exposed away from his body in the spring game.  If Tate ends up starting, I hope this is a major, major coaching point leading up to the season, because it certainly hasn't been corrected yet..


July 26th, 2010 at 2:54 PM ^

under his belt almost guarantees he'll be improved in, as they say, all facets of the game. That ball security thing, I saw that as an issue in his highlight reel; hopefully that is addressed in the off season. As for Tate playing the majority of the snaps, I can see that, but it's dependent on how Shoelace improves as well; it's a good problem to have though, if it's nip and tuck for who deserves to start.


July 26th, 2010 at 12:14 PM ^

I think the case for Tate is that he could throw the ball last year, and Denard, well, couldn't. I won't be really surprised if Denard starts, but I think a lot of people are looking too much into his performance against our 2nd team D in a spring game.


July 26th, 2010 at 12:54 PM ^

In all fairness, Denard did play against the 1s and Tate played against the 2s at least once.

I've been saying this since for over a year now. The first to run the read option to (near) perfection is going to win the starting job. Tate was able to get 4 yards when he wasn't making the correct reads; I think he can get 7 when he does. If Denard isn't making those reads, you can bet your ass that Tate will be the starter. If they are equal in that aspect, I think it goes to Tate. He's got more experience, a more accurate arm, and reads the defense better.


July 26th, 2010 at 2:58 PM ^

"If they are equal in that aspect, I think it goes to Tate."

Dude, we're talking about Dilithium here; anything Tate runs for 7 to 10, Denard goes into warp drive for double that, if not the house. I think if they are equal in the read, then Denard has to be poor as a thrower not for him to start.


July 26th, 2010 at 3:26 PM ^

First, I said I think he CAN, that doesn't mean that he will on every play. Second, the QB is only supposed to keep the ball on an option read maybe 3-4 times per game. The chances of Denard breaking off a touchdown run from that is going to be slim. Third, people act like Forcier is slow. He might not be blazing fast, but put some field in front of him and he's got a good chance to take it to the house as well (see ND 2009).

In terms of passing, I doubt that Denard will ever be a better passer than Forcier. Whether he is good enough to keep our passing game going is another story, though.


July 26th, 2010 at 4:03 PM ^

In 2007, Pat White ran the ball 15 times a game. RR may have evolved the offense a little more considering Tate is a better passer and Denard likely will be as well, but 3 to 4 is a bit low, IMO, especially if Denard is QBing. I think 5-6 for Tate, and 10-12 for Denard is more likely.


July 26th, 2010 at 4:21 PM ^

RR after one game said that the QB(s) were running 10-12 times and he'd like them to get down to 6-7. I assumed that meant total, which would include scrambles on passing downs as well. I suppose that could be the number of keeps he's expecting while running the read option. 10-12 keeps on a read option is going to be high, even for Denard.


July 26th, 2010 at 4:28 PM ^

As pointed out already, at WVU Rod's QB's, whether Pat White or Rasheed Marshall, averaged about 15 rushes per game, with the high being 2007 and an average of 19 QB rushes per game.  Whether that's on read option play, straight keepers, scrambles, whatever, doesn't matter (though I realize your point was directed toward the read option comment above).

The QB is supposed to keep the ball on an option read as many times as the DE crahes, simple as that.  While passing is of course an important element of this offense, the ability for a QB to consistently pick up good yardage on the ground, and more importantly, the ability to beat his man one on one the majority of those 15+ runs per game, is crucial.


July 26th, 2010 at 4:36 PM ^

How many of those are read options? How many are designed QB runs? How many are scrambles for positive yards on passing downs? 5-5-5? 7-4-4? I don't know but he's not keeping the ball on a zone read 15 times per game.

To bring the conversation back to my original point, on those 6-7 read option keepers, if Tate is better at running them, Tate will be the starter. If they are equal (both making reads, both getting 5-7 yards), the better passer is going to be the starter (that would be Tate at this point). If Denard is doing the read option better than Tate, he will be the starter regardless of negligible passing differences.


July 26th, 2010 at 2:14 PM ^

People forget that the spring game wasn't the only thing the team did all spring.  It sounds like Denard was consistently better, even when he played against the ones.  I don't think you can put much emphasis on a spring game, but consistently strong performances are another matter.

PS:  His fake on that zone read for a touchdown was sexy as hell.


July 26th, 2010 at 12:14 PM ^

every single year. And every single year, people remember that the spring is not the season. Tate does not need to make a case to start. It is Denard that needs to make a case to start (which he could very well do, but none the less).

I don't think anyone should have to feel like they need to defend Tate as the starter.


July 26th, 2010 at 2:16 PM ^

It seems every year there's a handful of players that get rave reviews.  Unfortunately, that doesn't always seem to carry over to the fall.  In the fall there's usually one or two players who have me scratching my head wondering why they were getting so much hype in the spring. 


July 26th, 2010 at 3:04 PM ^

and knowing how about competition Coach Rodriguez is, Tate very well needs to make a case to start, if Denard has shown that much improvement. Yes, I agree Denard needs to make the case to start, but if he does present such a case, I would suspect Tate probably needs to show a little something in the spring himself; I don't think Coach Rod is an 'incumbent' kind of guy.


July 26th, 2010 at 12:17 PM ^

I could see him start if he can go through his receiver progressions , it seems like once his first receiver is covered he
is ready to scramble. And it worked a few times really well to scramble right away so he goes to it too early, stick in there little man Tate.


July 26th, 2010 at 12:20 PM ^

I just finished watching the OSU game from last season, and that doesn't give me a good feeling about Tate. If he can improve on decision making, then I have no problem with him starting. If he can't improve a lot in that category, then there is no reason to start him over Robinson. Denard didn't show great decisions throwing the ball either, but at least he is wicked fast. It is also looking like both of them have comparable throwing accuracy now, but I guess we will see come fall.


July 26th, 2010 at 12:54 PM ^

Go Back and watch the ND game Henne's freshman year.  That should help.  Henne single handedly lost us that game (as a true freshman).  I think he turned out OK.  Don't judge a QB entirely on his freshan year.   


July 26th, 2010 at 2:44 PM ^

Regarding the OSU game, keep in mind a few things:

1.  OSU ranked #5 in the country in pass efficiency defense last year.  They were easily the toughest defense we faced all season.

2.  Tate only threw six interceptions in the first 11 games of the season.  He had one multi-INT game.  It happens to everybody at some point or another.  (Remember Griese's three picks in the first half of the '97 Iowa game?  He was a 5th-year senior.)

3.  While everyone remembers the four picks, don't forget that Tate also completed 23 of 38 passes (60.5%).  He made a lot of good plays.  His passing kept us in the game on a day when our OL struggled and our running game did nothing.  In fact, I'd go so far as to say that he was having a very good game until the fourth quarter. 

4.  Not all of the INTs were that bad.  Let's go over them:

The first INT was a deep ball into double coverage that was underthrown.  It was a risky throw, but a deep INT like that is functionally a punt. 

The second INT was a deep ball into single coverage inside the OSU five-yard line.  It was a fine decision and throw; the OSU defender just made a great leaping catch.  Sometimes the defense just makes a good play.  Regardless, it was functionally another punt.

The third pick was a bad decision and bad throw - no question there.  He should have thrown it away instead of trying to zip one into tight coverage.  Freshman QBs will do these things.

The fourth pick was a good decision - Hemingway was wide open - but just a very bad throw.  If he'd just put more air under it, it would have been a 15+ yard gain.


July 27th, 2010 at 1:22 PM ^

I was with you right up until #4.  I think Tate had a very good freshman year, and I really don't care who starts as long as they give us the best chance to win.  But let's not rewrite history here.  The first INT was thrown on 1st and 10.  That's into double coverage to a receiver (Denard) that didn't catch a ball all year, and is unlikely to go up and take one away.  If that was on 3rd down, I don't have a huge problem with it, as I agree with the functional punt.  But on first down?  You just gave away two downs.  No, that's a bad decision.

The second one really wasn't into single coverage.  That one was on 3rd down, so I have no problem with it, but you could see both safeties sliding over/under on Greg before he even got 10 yards upfield.  That was straight into double coverage/over/under bracket coverage (nice touch on the pass though).  The first one was closer to single coverage than the second one, since the safety got there a little late.

The last two I agree with.  Look,  they were all either bad throws, bad decisions, or both.  The 2nd one was fine situationally. it was 3rd down, it was basically a punt (although it was 3rd and 5 from the OSU 36 and if he'd waited a half second longer the running back was coming wide open in the right flat with nothing in front of him). 

I'm not killing the kid here.  He was a freshman, playing hurt, with no run game against a superior pass defense.  But let's also not gloss over the mistakes he made in that game.  I'm sure he's not, and I'm sure he's learning from them.  Hopefully he can take those lessons and be even better this year. 


July 26th, 2010 at 12:23 PM ^

I've said this before and I'll say it again; I have no favorite to win the job right now. Whoever wins it is going to have to beat out two other extremely talented players, leading me to believe that they're even BETTER. The best player will win. I'm managing to find optimism in every outcome. If Denard wins the job, it means that he's SIGNIFICANTLY improved his throwing mechanics. If Tate wins the job, it means that Denard will see spot duty, only this year defenses won't be able to stack eight in the box whenever he gets on the field. Also, it would probably mean that he's gotten over his poor streak at the end of last year. If Devin wins, then holy crap he must be an elite quarterback.

El Jeffe

July 26th, 2010 at 12:28 PM ^

What I'm hoping for is a synergy (Yeah, I said it. So what's up? Thought so...) between Tate's physical development (going from 18/19 to 19/20 + Eeeeeeee Barwis + healed shoulder), mental development, and offensive line development.

If he can (1) have an extra second or two in the pocket, and (2) read the D a little better, and (3) scramble a little quicker, fend off one more defender, and put some zip on his throws, then we might see a lot of improvement, certainly over the last half of last season.


July 26th, 2010 at 12:38 PM ^

Isn't it pretty much impossible to argue for the superiority of Tate over Denard without seeing how they do in fall practice? It's just great that there's competition now -- and I suppose also great that they both bring different packages, so it's hard to settle in on just one defensive scheme. I just hope one or the other doesn't become bitter if he's not the starter.


July 26th, 2010 at 12:58 PM ^

I am a huge Tate Forcier fan. He is not the biggest guy in the world but he is very competitive kid who really likes to win but absolutely hates to lose. He has what it takes to lead the Wolverines to a championship.

That being said, D-Rob is the most explosive runner in the big ten and possibly the country. Even though it was just a spring scrimmage, he looked 10 times calmer in his role at qb ( he didn't hop around like a rabbit after every play like last year.) and he has in my opinion the stronger arm of the two.

When it comes down to it, D-Rob is a star in the making who will play extensive minutes. It is up to Tate to determine (through his play in training camp) at which position.


July 26th, 2010 at 2:57 PM ^

That being said, D-Rob is the most explosive runner in the big ten and possibly the country.

I love Denard, but I think we're getting a little carried away regarding his running ability.  He is very fast; there's no doubt about that.  But most defenses held him in check on the ground.  He gained almost all his rushing yards against three cupcakes (WMU, EMU, DSU) and an Iowa D playing nickel.  I think Denard has the potential to be an absolutely lethal rusher, but I need to see more of it against good defenses before I start talking him up over everyone else in the conference.


July 26th, 2010 at 3:22 PM ^

Denard knows about 3 running plays and a variation of the three plays.  Everybody knows that he's going to run the ball which makes it harder for Denard to have success on the ground.  Which makes it all the more impressive in yards that he was able to get despite the circumstances.


As for starting QB job, if both QBs are even in passing, you have to give the edge to Denard because of his ability to make big plays with his feet.  Tate is no slouch in that department but he just doesn't scare defenders with his feet.


July 26th, 2010 at 3:39 PM ^

Iowa:  5.4 YPC

Penn State:  5 YPC

Wisconsin: 7.2 YPC

Ohio State:  3.1 YPC

Those are probably the best defenses we played all year, and by those numbers only OSU really seemed to stop him, even when they knew exactly what was coming.  The 50 yard dilithium dashes may have only happened against the crappy teams, but he was still effective on the ground.


July 26th, 2010 at 8:03 PM ^

True indeed. Defenses held him in check for the most part during his FRESHMAN year but you and I where not the only ones holding our breath when he took off with the ball. I am willing to bet you that there are d. cordinators in the big ten that have lost sleep because of this guy already. He is a difference maker that could be the deciding factor between a mediocre season with 6 wins or double digits in the victory column and a prelude to a NC in 2011.

I watched the spring games in Columbus, Happy Valley and East Lansing and I didn't see anyone, on any of those teams, that has the God given natural talent that he has. I know that those where just "spring games" and that the players where not going all out but the the game at the Big House was also just a scrimage. Please name one player in the big ten, at any position, that you think is more explosive than D-Rob.

I know that he still has a lot to prove but as far as talent and explosiveness goes, he is second to none in the big ten. 


July 26th, 2010 at 1:07 PM ^

This first time I've seen a matter-of-fact description of the shoulder injury

Tate will be great, no question.  DRob has awesome potential.  Both will play and we will all smile.  Zone read practice for both, please

No More Mr. Buckeye

July 26th, 2010 at 1:02 PM ^

It's been Tate's job to lose, and he may lose it.
If D-Rob is faster, more powerful, and just as accurate (which seems to be a consensus) he should get the job as long as he is more comfortable playing this year. Last year I was uneasy whenever Denard went in but they'll make the best decision. Just from what I've heard Tate has been stagnating and Denard has been improving.


July 26th, 2010 at 1:20 PM ^

An incumbent starter doesn't lose the job in the spring, and doesn't lose it in practice unless there are grossly negative extenuating circumstances.  If Forcier is fully healed, that doesn't apply here. 

AFAIC, the opening series goes to Forcier, and the job is his until it is proven in games that Denard or even DG deserves it.   That being said, I do expect to see some sharing going on.  I don't, however, expect to see Denard become a "slash" to get more time on the field this year, because I don't think DG is experienced enough to take over for him at QB if he gets injured trying to, for example, catch a pass over the middle.

I could see Denard starting a game or two, but I still think Forcier deserves the job until his performance says otherwise.  We'll know soon enough.