Theory on QB Comp

Submitted by Ziff72 on April 17th, 2010 at 7:32 PM

All Spring I have listened to RR kind of tweak Tate in his interviews, hinting that he may not be as focused as he needs to be. Now Tate is given an uphill battle playing with the frosh WR's against the #1 D in the Spring Game.

Tate has indicated all along even as far back as his recruitment that he thrives on competition, the coaches know he has command of the playbook and solid mechanics so most of his improvement will come on the mental side. The Spring is more for fundamentals and individual work which Tate does not need as much of.

I think the coaches have taken this opportunity to showcase Denard and apply pressure to Tate. Thankfully, Denard has seemingly thrived with this opening.

This tact of putting Denard in against the 2's to increase his confidence and "demoting" Tate is a savvy move that I think will pay dividends for both come the fall.

I think the coaches know what they have in Tate and they plan on playing both in the fall depending on the circumstances with a 65/35 Tate split for the most part, so they used the Spring to make sure both guys were 100% focused the next 4 months....looks like mission accomplished.



April 17th, 2010 at 7:37 PM ^

an in season competition. Denard looked awesome, with the ones, against the twos. Tate looked okay, with the twos, against the ones. Denard = edge, but not necessarily #1 starter.

It will all play out in the season, and the one that gives Michigan the best chance to win will get the most time.

And then we will resume killing Buckeyes like John Cooper came back.

Zone Left

April 17th, 2010 at 7:47 PM ^

I think there will be an in season competition, but I also think people are trying a little to hard to parse hidden messages here. I've yet to see the game, but Robinson probably started for the obvious reason--he's drastically improved and has a ceiling Forcier probably can't match.


April 17th, 2010 at 7:50 PM ^

Watch the game. Tate is out there with a bunch of names you don't know, trying to make plays against RVB, Campbell, Roh, and Cam Gordon. Denard is out there with Roundtree, Odoms, and the starting OL, making plays against a bunch of names you don't know.

There was a HUGE disparity in what they had to work with and against. Which speaks as much to how much our two deep scares me as it does to how the QB's performed. There is a massive drop off from #1 to #2 on both sides of the ball almost everywhere BUT QB.


April 17th, 2010 at 10:47 PM ^

Of course Occam's Razor assumes the body of information you are working with is complete, comprehensive, and true. If you haven't watched the spring game and aren't considering the broad picture and context then your razor may be guiding you to the incorrect conclusion.

Anyway, watch the game and think it over. Whatever the truth is I think we're in good shape at QB either way, as I'm sure you agree.


April 18th, 2010 at 10:10 AM ^

The QB duel over the summer should bear fruit in the fall I would think. It is great to see Denard develop though I am still rooting for Tate to impress enough to start. I just think that if Tate can earn the start, our offense will benefit from having both Tate and Denard on the field at the same time (obviously with DRob in a different position). It would also be nice to see a Forcier stick it out in the Maize n' Blue.

I realize this is a topic that most everyone here has a strong opinion about, and I respect any and all views on this topic.

Captain Obvious

April 17th, 2010 at 7:38 PM ^

Denard has looked better all Spring and earned the start, meaning he played against the 2s.

That's not to say Tate can't regain control and earn the start when it counts, but there's nothing (right now) to suggest that it's Tate's to lose.


April 17th, 2010 at 7:39 PM ^

Tate is definitely still in the hunt for the QB battle. I still expect him to be the starter against UCONN. The kid has the skill and really the play in this game is meaningless. When we go to OSU and 100000+ fans will be yelling at the top of their lungs, will see which QB will handle the pressure!!!
Still expect a 8-9 win season and watch out in 2011. GOBLUE!!


April 17th, 2010 at 7:42 PM ^

but we have to remember that the best player will play and start. There is no #1 until the UCONN kickoff.

However, I think that Denard does a lot of the "core" offensive functions better than Tate. He has the athleticism necessary to make the zone read work, and that is a huge and pivotal function of this offense.

Good luck to both, may the best man win the job.

PS. Go Shoelace!


April 17th, 2010 at 10:55 PM ^

However, I think that Denard does a lot of the "core" offensive functions better than Tate. He has the athleticism necessary to make the zone read work, and that is a huge and pivotal function of this offense.

I agree that's huge and important. But what is also important is being able to read the defense and make the correct throw. I think DRob has yet to show he can do that - not the can't, but just that from what limited info we have to go by it seems that Tate is ahead in that category (from seeing him vs Drob play against actual defenses last season, and not having seen that yet this year). Perhaps that's a good thing though and we'll just play both every game and no one will be able to stop us. Now if only the passing D can get functional I'll be happy.


April 17th, 2010 at 7:59 PM ^

Tate's job to lose in my opinion. The fact that the staff has talked about moving Denard around in the offense is an indication of that. I do not see the staff starting a 4th different QB in 3 years.

In our big scrimmage before my senior year our coaches put myself, our starting QB, and the #2's against the starting defense to see how we would respond. Guys that know they're going to start tend to become complacent and lack the motivation to improve. Let's face it, the harder you work and compete during the week the more it pays off on Saturday.

I think RR is doing no different than what my football coaches did to us. It's up to Tate to respond and get better. Denard is good enough to take snaps and maybe more with another year of learning under his belt.

Gustavo Fring

April 17th, 2010 at 8:30 PM ^

I really liked Tate at the beginning of the year (and even the osu game, minus the turnovers) but I was waiting for him to take a leap...that he didn't take. Has he reached his ceiling? Physically, probably.

But mentally, the mistakes are still there. Robinson actually took better care of the ball.

At first, I definitely thought along the same lines as you, that the coaching staff just wanted to keep Forcier from getting complacent. But after today I don't think we can say that anymore. Robinson is a legitimate threat to start.

Now, can Forcier still start? Definitely, he might still even have the inside track. But he's going to have to earn it. I wouldn't say it's his to lose


April 17th, 2010 at 9:08 PM ^

I honestly cannot believe you guys just think their performances should be based on who they played against. The Spring Game helps to look at things like mechanics, control of the offense, decision making.... From being there Denard improved DRASTICALLY on the things that he could not do last year....

Tate made the SAME mistakes that he did last year...

1. Holds the ball at his waist...did fumble once... would have two more times if he could get hit

2. Telegraphs his passes HORRIBLY

3. Has little pocket presence if you ask me... he either throws a short pass, or he's "making plays" (running around with the ball at his waist)

I am not saying that Tate is terrible or that Denard is amazing,.... But the things that aggrivated me about Tate last year.. I saw the same things today... and the things that Denard could not do last year, he looked completely different....

Gustavo Fring

April 17th, 2010 at 9:39 PM ^

We need to temper the excitement over Denard a bit, but it's troubling that Tate is making the same mistakes.

Now, he was playing behind a second-string offensive line that was trying to block RVB, Will Campbell, and Roh, but still...that's the kind of defense he's going to face this season in the Big Ten. He made some very iffy decisions too.

So, yeah, while Denard did not have to face a great defense (so maybe the praise for him should be curtailed a bit) there were lots of reasons to be concerned with Forcier.

That said, Tate also made some great plays (albeit ones that we expect him to make) and I expect him to be fired up.

Monocle Smile

April 17th, 2010 at 10:04 PM ^

judge players based on who they play against? Isn't that how every player in every sport is judged? Isn't that what separates good from great? Remember how we looked nasty those first four games last year and looked lost without a map after that? (D State doesn't count). Same players, same talent.

Tate was eating linemen constantly and had a bunch of freshman trying to get open against experienced cover guys. He still managed to finagle a touchdown. Sorry if I find that more impressive than stomping the second stringers with the best weapons on the field.


April 17th, 2010 at 9:27 PM ^

If the plan is to never throw the ball beyond ten yards, because he can't...He couldn't last year and couldn't today. On short throws it's still a crapshoot if he is going to throw a catchable ball or a Nolan Ryan heater anywhere in a three yard radius around the reciever. Tate may not have the strongest arm, but can make accurate downfield throws and consistently delivers within the short passing game. I expect that, if Gardner has a strong showing this fall that Denard won't finish this season as a qb. The sooner, the better, because he could turn into McCluster. Does not matter because if this squad doesn't find a way to win 8 games and a bowl, expect a new coach, new system, transfers, another year of regression and back to a prostyle offense.


April 18th, 2010 at 9:54 AM ^

Denard played great and that was a nice touchdown pass, but that post is not too far from the truth. He threw that ball 35 yards in the air and it was the longest completion I have ever seen him make. Everyone is excited by possibilities for next year, and I am too, but we still need to take a few breaths. Tate looked unbeatable last year, too. Denard still needs to show me he can throw the ball downfield before I get too excited about his chances. Also, there is a big difference between spring games, early season non conference and Ohio State. Just ask Tate about that.

Trust the Process

April 18th, 2010 at 2:08 AM ^

So many things wrong about this post I wouldn't know where to begin...

Principal: Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Billy Madison: Okay, a simple "wrong" would've done just fine.


April 17th, 2010 at 10:26 PM ^

i think denard gives us the best chance to long as he can routinely make the short throws we should be able to move the ball...we run, run, run and throw in a few quick throws


April 17th, 2010 at 10:34 PM ^

Kid looked great out there today. It is amazing how much Denard has improved. In all due respect, I think anyone who thinks something else is going on besides Denard simply being good enough to ascend to the #1 spot based purely on his ability as a quarterback.... has simply not been willing to believe what they have seen or heard about.

I wasn't either.... not until today. After seeing Denard today, I am a believer.

Fresh Meat

April 17th, 2010 at 10:56 PM ^

I don't know what will happen, I'm not convinced just from today with the very simple play calling that Denard has caught up on his passing and ability to read the field is he nasty on that read option.


April 17th, 2010 at 11:59 PM ^

In my view Denard doesn't have to be as good passing the ball as Tate in light of his incredible ability running with the ball. He just needs to not be the disaster/turnover machine he was last year. If he can occasionally complete a pass down field to keep the defense honest and doesn't give the football away, I think his skills as a runner give us the better chance to win games with a run first offense. The fact that he actually looked like a competent passer today (even in light of the competition) is grounds for super excitement because if he can do anything close to that in-game this offense will be unstoppable.


April 17th, 2010 at 11:01 PM ^

The thing that is/was so impressive about Denard today is that virtually all of his passes would have been completed if it was the first D. Passes on the numbers don't change. Passes hitting the player in stride are not necessarily predicated upon the D. Those passes, I believe, being so good.... are completed, regardless of the D that was out there.

Denard also had 4 touchdown passes if TRob rob doesn't go down at the 1 yard line.

Oddly enough it was Tate who benefitted from poor defensive play. That pass to Mike Jones went right through his hands and should have been intercepted. Against a better D, that is a definite pick.

Denard didn't have any of those today.


April 18th, 2010 at 10:00 AM ^

What?! If receivers don't get open, don't run the right routes, and if there is a defender in your face, it becomes a LOT easier to throw the ball. I am looking foward to these two pushing each other and am thrilled by Robinson's game today, but some people are going overboard. I was driving home from the game and heard a caller to a radio station tell everyone that Denard threw the ball 55 yards in the air on that touchdown pass. The spring game was just that, and there is a long time until UCONN. We should all be excited, but he is no more ready to be annointed than Tate was after four games last year when people were talking heisman.


April 17th, 2010 at 11:01 PM ^

Last year Tate and Denard would chest bump and encourage one another, today I didn't see that. There's definitely QB competition, just not sure how healthy the relations ship is? I wish I could have seen a better attitude, you know The Team, The Team, The Team.


April 17th, 2010 at 11:13 PM ^

This is kind of unrelated.

I don't know if anyone was watching Tate on the sideline, but he was definitely frustrated and unhappy most of the game (Throwing his helmet, getting really animated). Obviously it was related to his play, but I'm sure he is feeling the heat from Denard. It's also a good sign, because it shows that even though it's a practice, he hates making mistakes and not performing up to the level that he is capable of reaching.


April 17th, 2010 at 11:48 PM ^

I looked at is as more of a positive thing.

It's good that he is always looking to perform at a high level, but also I think that Tate tends to have a bit of a (for lack of a better term) savior complex, when he plays. That is to say, that he has to make every play, even if it kills him, and I think by putting him out there with the 2s against the 1s, where you know he doesn't stand a chance, it teaches him to take what the D gives him, and to not always be looking to force a miraculous play when nothing's there.


April 17th, 2010 at 11:26 PM ^

The QB competition is much closer than we think--too close to decisively land upon a "starter" for the spring game even. RR, then, might have put Denard in the pilot seat for the day hoping he'd shine and that he'd hear less backlash and more "well, that's sorta expected" should Denard find himself starting (and *maybe* struggling) against UConn.

I don't really buy it (I thought Denard looked legit; I just won't bother comparing him to Tate as that isn't fair is all). But it does make for an interesting and possible thought.


April 17th, 2010 at 11:29 PM ^

Denard looked impressive today, but the fact that he was playing with the 1's versus the 2's has to be considered. Also, Tate was playing on an ankle that isn't 100% against the 1st string defense. I don't think today's performance tells us much about who will be the starter this fall except that Denard is a legitimate option, which we've heard from several sources already. It wouldn't surprise me to see either of them start against UCONN. The QB battle will not be decided until fall camp, and probably won't be announced before game time. I'm pretty confident that QB play will be improved after seeing today's scrimmage, regardless of who the starter is.


April 17th, 2010 at 11:40 PM ^

A thing that has to be frustrating for the coaches though is how Tate continues to make the same mental mistakes that plagued him last year. I think, in the mind of the coaches, Tate had 2 turnovers today.

That ball that went straight through the defender's hands.... which should have been an easy pick.... and that ill advised pitchout that he tossed up for grabs (fumble).

When the coaches go over film.... they will count it as turning the ball over twice. And last year, turnovers killed us.


April 18th, 2010 at 12:10 AM ^

They will also see that the defense crashed down hard on that option play. They read that from the start. No one on the 2s defense could ever hope to do that. So, Denard never had to face a situation like that today.

I don't think we should read too much into one scrimmage. Denard could have been doing the same type of turnovery things in practice all spring. We don't know.