Michigan vs. Iowa Awards

Michigan vs. Iowa Awards

October 20, 2010

Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Tate Forcier.  I’m not advocating for Forcier to be the starter or take away Denard Robinson’s playing time.  Robinson has been excellent for the most part.  But this issue popped up in the Michigan State loss, and again this week against Iowa: Forcier is the better overall passer.  If and when Michigan is down by a few scores late, I think Forcier offers a better chance of leading a comeback via the pass.  He’s better at reading defenses and understands the passing concepts better.  And to be completely honest, he looks more comfortable dropping back to pass than Robinson.  Forcier is like a solid long reliever.  If the starter isn’t getting it done, #5 might be able to give you a few innings of good pitching and a chance to get back in it.  The Wolverines only had 7 points up until the point in the middle of the third quarter when Robinson got hurt.  In about 1.5 quarters, the Forcier-led Michigan squad put up 21 points (1 rushing TD by Stephen Hopkins, 1 passing TD from Forcier to Junior Hemingway, and 1 rushing TD by Forcier himself).

Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . Vincent Smith.  Please.  He averaged 3.9 yards a carry and had a key fumble on Iowa’s 14-yard line.  There are better options, and Smith can see some time in passing situations or at slot receiver.

Let’s see more of this guy on defense . . . Kenny Demens.  Demens seems to be an upgrade at the middle linebacker position, at least against a power running team like Iowa.  He plays downhill more than Ezeh and offers more pop.  At this point in the season, Michigan is #82 in scoring defense and #105 in total defense.  Any change at all just might be worth it.

Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . Adam Patterson.  It’s not because I have anything against Patterson himself.  It’s just that Mike Martin, the starting nose tackle, is perhaps the most valuable player on the defense right now.  Michigan’s pass rush was virtually non-existent in the Iowa game, and the penetration up the middle that has at least slowed down running games this season was absent with Martin out of the game.  Hopefully the ankle injury caused by MSU’s illegal chop block will heal quickly, because Patterson isn’t a nose tackle.  I’m not quite sure why the coaches wouldn’t put Renaldo Sagesse at NT instead of Patterson, but regardless, a 275 lb. nose tackle is begging for trouble.

MVP of the Iowa game . . . Tate Forcier.  He gave Michigan a spark when they needed it most.  He still showed some of the poor ballhandling and decision-making immaturity that he had last year, but he still finished 17/26 for 239 yards and 2 touchdowns (1 rushing, 1 passing) and led another scoring drive.  He needs to tuck the ball away when scrambling and make better decisions throwing the ball, but 21 points in 1.5 quarters is pretty productive.


  1. Comments: 21384
    Oct 20, 2010 at 3:58 PM

    You say that Forcier understands the passing concepts better. I believe you based on his experience, but was that really what made the difference? Most of Tate's passes went to the number one option (usually a Stonum slant) and when he did goto option number two it was generally very late (underthrown pass that Jr. made a great catch on) or a bad decision (first interception). These passes were all ones that Robinson has made against tough coverage throughout the first 5 games. I'm just wondering bc the passes looked simple, but Robinson wasn't hitting them and Tate was. Robinson has shown he can make those passes, but something's been off the past two weeks. Are things moving slower for Robinson now that we're playing some better defenses? It's hard for me to think it's just a "better understanding of the passing game" when it's all slants, curls and go routes that Robinson has shown he can hit.

    That said, are you confident that Robinson will be better passing the ball the next 3 weeks? Clearly the defenses he will face aren't on par with Iowa's.

  2. Comments: 21384
    Oct 20, 2010 at 5:02 PM

    Hopefully people stop giving you crap about V. Smith. Please dear God less Smith and more Shaw and/or Hopkins.

  3. Comments: 21384
    Oct 20, 2010 at 5:55 PM

    @ Anonymous 11:58 a.m.

    I think one should take into account the fact that Iowa's defense is Iowa's defense. Robinson wasn't extremely effective as a passer against the Hawkeyes, and even some of his completed passes were somewhat off target. The only good defense Robinson faced in the first five games was Notre Dame's, and that's using the term "good" pretty loosely. Robinson and his receivers beat a lot of Cover 0 defenses in those games, and Iowa rarely, if ever, runs Cover 0.

    When I say that Forcier has a better understanding of the passing game, I mean he has a better understanding of how all the routes work in concert with each other. Is the slant going to be open in the first window or the second? If my WR beats the CB downfield, will the skinny post hold the safety long enough to hit the fly route on the outside? Etc.

    Due to Forcier's experience and QB coaching, I think he's a little more in tune with how the entire play develops.

    I am not entirely confident that Robinson will be better passing the ball. Now, he might be successful and put up some points. But will those numbers be the result of HIM being better or the DEFENSES being worse? I don't know…

  4. Comments: 21384
    Oct 20, 2010 at 5:57 PM

    @ MEZMAN

    Well…from the beginning, I advocated for Vincent Smith to redshirt this year in order to recover from his knee injury. Even if he's the best guy on the team, he's not right now. Hopefully the coaches can get some more production out of the position in the coming weeks.

  5. Comments: 21384
    Oct 20, 2010 at 6:00 PM

    I don't think Michigan has to wait to be behind to bring in Forcier. Tate simply brings a different element to the offense – the deep threat. We can keep defenses (coaches and players) on the um… defensive, if they don't know whats coming.

    Creating indecisiveness in the defense has a lot of value. I wouldn't be opposed to bringing in Tate for a scripted series to start the game. Put the D on its heals and then go back to Denard.

    Against good competition, Im not sure theres a significant difference between Tate and Denard's effectiveness. Denards longest run was 16 yards against MSU and 12 against Iowa. (13 and 11 for the much maligned Vincent Smith). His longest pass (besides the end of the half hail mary to Odoms against MSU) is 27 yards. Tate looks like as much of a big play threat as Denard right now.

    Both guys need to work on avoiding turnovers, but I don't see a problem with rotating them the same way RBs get commonly rotated. Pull them when they turn the ball over and try the next guy.

  6. Comments: 21384
    Oct 21, 2010 at 2:32 AM

    You know, I actually don't even care if Vincent Smith gets a decent amount of carries. BUT NOT SHORT YARDAGE! How many times do you have to bash your head against the wall and not get that one yard for a first down or a TD before you realize it might not work?

    I have to say, that's my main problem with RR. He seems very stubborn, which can be a good quality in a coach. But not in this case.

  7. Comments: 21384
    Oct 21, 2010 at 2:59 PM

    Do you think Michigan would've put up the points they did if Denard hadn't gotten injured? They were moving the ball fine while he was in, they just shot themselves in the foot with penalties early in the game.

    Also what do you think about Honorable mention for MVP: Rocko Khoury? Valient effort filling in for Molk against a tough D Line

  8. Comments: 21384
    Oct 21, 2010 at 3:21 PM

    @ Alex

    Well, I chose Tate Forcier for MVP because I think he provided the team with a spark they didn't have prior to Denard's injury. And in Denard's 2+ quarters, they only had 7 points. And Michigan needed to pass the ball to get on the board, something Forcier is more adept at than Denard.

    So…no, I don't think Michigan would have put up 21 points in the last 1.5 quarters if Denard had remained in the game.

    Rocko Khoury did play pretty well for it being his first significant game experience. He's probably deserving of an Honorbal Mention for MVP, too. Good for him.

  9. Comments: 21384
    Oct 21, 2010 at 5:31 PM

    Tate & Denard in the backfield are much more talent and more threat to the defense than Denard & (some running back) are.

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