I’ll have much more coming this week on yesterday’s game, but I first want to say that the entire game experience yesterday was one of the best I’ve ever had — the pre-game ceremony (especially Brock Mealer touching the banner) was incredible, and it goes without saying that the game was great as well. Two sets of highlights are up from the game. WolverineHistorian’s are linked in the sidebar, and YouTube user parkinggod’s HD highlights are below:
Now, on to this Tate Forcier thing. AnnArbor.com’s Michael Rothstein quoted Forcier, who didn’t see a snap Saturday and spent much of the game sitting alone on the bench with a towel over his head, as saying the following as he left the field: “All you need to know is I’m out.” Rothstein goes on to essentially write a eulogy to Tate’s Michigan career, and boom — the transfer rumors that were debunked leading into the season are back, right?
Well, not exactly. MGoBlog’s TomVH, doing his due diligence as a reporter (yes, a reporter, and one who apparently has more inside connects than many who cover the team full-time), got on the phone with Mike Forcier, Tate’s father, who was adamant that his son got caught up in the heat of the moment and wasn’t going anywhere:
“As Tate’s father, and someone who would advise him, a transfer isn’t something I want to be a part of. Sometimes you think, man, do they want him there, but we don’t think that’s the situation. Rich Rodriguez has also been straight with us.”
“Tate knows Michigan is the biggest and best stage out there. I know he has mixed emotions, but this is in his blood.”
“He was feeling a little like a caged animal on the sidelines. He knew the cameras were on him, and that they were looking for an emotional reaction, so he was trying to hide his face with the towel. He was not pouting. The cameras kept prodding, and egging him on, so he got upset about it.”
“I talked to him after the game briefly, and I think we’re ok. All I want to do is think positive of this. Tomorrow is a new day for him.”
The AP’s Larry Lage also talked to the Mike Forcier, who added that it was a “150-percent fact” that Tate would say in Ann Arbor. Even though this clearly is a tough position for Forcier to be in, it sounds like he’ll at least stick it out this year, especially if his father has any say in the matter (and I’d be shocked if he didn’t).
Unfortunately, there’s still the issue of Tate’s sideline demeanor. I understand that he’s very disappointed at being the third quarterback (apparently) on the depth chart, but he has no one to blame but himself — Denard Robinson and Devin Gardner outworked him this summer, and that clearly made a big difference in the quarterback race. During the game, Michigan was firing on all cylinders and the rest of the team was standing and cheering for their teammates; Forcier, meanwhile, seemed more preoccupied with how he would be portrayed on TV.
Tate Forcier is a tremendously talented quarterback, and I’m 100% certain he could help this team out this year — there’s no way Denard Robinson plays close to all of the snaps this season if he’s carrying the ball 29 times a game (not that I expect that will continue, but he’ll still need a breather every once in a while). But Rich Rodriguez wants more than talent, he wants a leader, and I haven’t seen or heard much in the past few months to suggest that Tate is the type of leader Rodriguez wants from his quarterback, first-, second-, or third-string. Yesterday’s display only added to that notion.
I don’t want to pile onto a college kid who is still working very hard to see the field — Forcier would never have been that frustrated and disappointed had he not felt he had put in a lot of time and effort to get playing time this fall. All I will say is this: During the game, I saw Tate Forcier, who assumed all summer that he would start this fall at quarterback, let his emotions get the best of him and, in the process, become a big part of the story in a game in which he did not participate. As I said, I understand the frustration he must be feeling, but at some point these acts grow tiresome and take away from the team. For Tate, it’s time to make every effort to show he’s really a part of this team, and he didn’t do that yesterday. There’s still 11 games to go in the regular season, and we may all look back on this as another overblown distraction, but it appears Tate Foricer’s Michigan career is at a crossroads, and only he can choose which path he wants to take.