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Published: Tuesday, 9/7/2010

Forcier not happy as third wheel

BY RYAN AUTULLO
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

ANN ARBOR - Two days after Denard Robinson set one University of Michigan quarterbacking record, Tate Forcier may have set another - the level of attention being paid to a third-string quarterback.

In the wake of his team's opening season win over Connecticut, UM coach Rich Rodriguez was more eager Monday to discuss his new quarterback, Robinson, than the one who has been relegated to No. 3 on the depth chart and who has hinted at an imminent transfer.

Forcier clearly was not pleased with his nonrole in UM's win, sitting alone on the sideline for much of the afternoon with a towel draped over his head. After the game, while on his way to the locker room, Forcier reportedly told an AnnArbor.com columnist, "All you need to know is I'm out." Later that evening, Forcier's father, Mike, told a blog that his son was merely frustrated and will not transfer.

Rodriguez said Monday he hadn't spoken with Forcier but indicated that the two may sit down soon.

"Anytime somebody doesn't play, whether it's Tate or somebody else, they're probably going to be disappointed,"

Rodriguez said. "I don't see a problem with guys being disappointed if they don't play. Now if it crosses the line as far as not being a team player, then we'll have a conversation. If we need to do that, we'll do that."

Forcier may have been particularly upset that it was true freshman Devin Gardner who entered the game for two plays in the third quarter when Robinson was hurt. At that point it appeared Forcier, a 12-game starter in 2009, had been relegated to third string. Rodriguez said it was a coach's decision to play Gardner instead of Forcier.

Should Forcier transfer, he would become the third Forcier brother to do so. Chris, who is now at Furman, began his career at UCLA. Jason, the oldest of the three, started at Michigan before transferring to Stanford.

Rodriguez said Monday he is not concerned with the most recent rift, even downplaying it as a sensationalized story.

"I'm concerned with every one of our players all the time, both what they do on the field and off the field," Rodriguez said. "Am I concerned that it will affect the team? No."

As for Robinson, who racked up 197 on the ground and 186 through the air, he was named the Big Ten offensive player of the week, and the Walter Camp national player of the week as well.

"He played well Saturday and got everybody excited, but it was just one game," Rodriguez said. "I think his future is very, very bright."

Rodriguez said starters Carvin Johnson (sprained knee) and Roy Roundtree (internal bleeding) are doubtful for Saturday's game but that he's more optimistic that Fitzgerald Toussaint and Junior Hemingway will play after missing the Connecticut game with injuries. Jared Van Slyke, who suffered a shoulder injury in camp, has been ruled out for the season.

Despite Robinson's special day, Rodriguez was not overjoyed with the play of the offensive line. Running backs Michael Shaw and Vincent Smith each rushed for fewer than four yards per carry.

"It wasn't their best game across the board," Rodriguez said. "We had a couple of guys that didn't play nearly as well as we thought they would."

Contact Ryan Autullo at:

rautullo@theblade.com

or 419-724-6160.



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