August 03, 2010
Every generic Michigan preview knows this is the do-or-die year for coach Rich Rodriguez in Ann Arbor, and no one will have more impact on the Wolverines' fate – and Rodriguez's ongoing employment – than the starting quarterback. Whoever that is. The spring ended with raw but electric sophomore Denard Robinson apparently pulling even with the incumbent, fellow sophomore Tate Forcier. Rodriguez picked up the torch Monday by saying a lot of nothing at Big Ten media days.
Senior cornerback Troy Woolfolk, on the other hand, wasn't so shy today in his assessment for assembled reporters, because he's been out there grindin', man, and he hasn't seen enough of Tate Forcier:
According to Woolfolk, what was once a neck-and-neck race between Forcier and Robinson for the starting quarterback job has begun to tip in Robinson's favor. And a big reason for that, Woolfolk said, is the team's perception of players who don't show up to voluntary workouts.
"I personally have a lack of respect for them," Woolfolk said. "The outlook on them is kind of diseased. Like you don't want to be hanging around those people because they have bad work ethic. But at the same time, it's my role to try to persuade them to come out more."
According to Woolfolk, Forcier hasn't shown up to as many workouts as him and the other seniors feel he should have, and Woolfolk said it's hurting his teammates' perception of their signal caller.
"The only reason he's not really labeled as diseased is because of the way he was able to carry the team last year before we started losing. People still trust him a little bit, but he's starting to lose that trust."
Once again, Michigan just cannot win when it comes to offseason workouts.
For the record, Woolfolk quickly backtracked via Twitter (private account): "A story was written about me putting Tate in a negative aspect. This was phrased wrongly and is not the truth. I think Tate is a great player." (A great player who, per Woolfolk's earlier statement, is "going to have to do a lot of work to catch back up to Denard in camp.") But word from Ann Arbor confirms this isn't the first time this offseason Forcier's work ethic has come up around town, or within the program.
It's not exactly the best way to kick off a crucial campaign, either, though in the big scheme of things, some minor intra-squad bulletin board material probably doesn't rate on the anxiety scale compared to trotting out a pair of quarterbacks who have never taken a college snap, as the Wolverines have each of the last two years. If either of the duo is separating himself in the offseason, Wolverine fans would probably prefer it be Robinson, who – Foricer's celebrated "moxie" notwithstanding – has the kind of upside that can finally put those seasons in the rearview. But that's only assuming he can figure out how to complete a downfield pass against teams better than Delaware State.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.