Michigan freshman quarterback Tate Forcier surprised both coaches and teammates alike with his rapid…
Tate Forcier: "It's a little different. You definitely get a lot more reps. You're going with the ones, which is different than the twos obviously. As for how many practices we've had and the amount of reps that I'm getting, I feel like I'm getting a lot more comfortable with it. I have Nick right there after every play telling me what I need to do or what I can do to be better. Even if it is a successful play, what else can make it even better than that. I have to give a lot of credit to the coaches and Nick for bringing me along as far as they did so far."
Question: Is it kind of a humbling experience the first time you go with the ones, because the game is somewhat fast?
Tate Forcier: "It is. You think about it a little bit and it's kind of like, it's almost the same… it's just that they are not going to make as many mistakes. So it kind of brings your game to the A game rather than you can mess up here and there. It's not like that, you got to be at the level that they're at. As far as that goes, I feel like that is making me better."
Question: What's the biggest thing that you're doing now that maybe you weren't at the start of camp? The biggest thing that you're doing better?
Tate Forcier: "Just I think relaxing and just playing my game. Before that was something that Coach Rodriguez and Coach Smith were saying that they can tell that I'm thinking too much. When they can tell that I'm thinking too much, I probably am. They are doing a great job of making me more comfortable with it and again, that is just with the amount of reps you get. You get more experience with it and again, you feel more relaxed when you're out there. I would have to say that's it."
Question: Coach Rod had mentioned turnovers being a problem early in camp. Have you guys kind of gotten better in that respect?
Tate Forcier: "Yeah. That's kind of just the center and quarterback exchange thing. I'm going to take a lot of blame for that because that's on my part, I should be working with him a little bit more. As regards to that, it is just getting comfortable with him and how he's going to snap it to you. In high school, you get the slow shotgun snaps. These (college snaps) come back like rockets. So it is a little bit different but it's something that we're addressing and trying to eliminate the turnovers."
Question: What was your experience in the scrimmage? How do you feel like you did and how do you feel the offense did?
Tate Forcier: "I heard what Obi (Ezeh) said about the defense. I'd have to disagree with that. I feel like we did real well. I think both defense and offense were successful with things, but there is always room for improvement and as you could tell, if anybody saw the film, there is a lot of stuff that we can do to be better. With regards to our first scrimmage, I felt like everybody did real well."
Question: How much looking at the playbook did you do between when you got to Ann Arbor and when you actually got to take a snap on the field?
Tate Forcier: "I met with the coaches every day for multiple hours."
Question: At what point when you're actually playing does that stuff start to make sense?
Tate Forcier: "You know actually that's something…because I've always been more of a visual learner so it hasn't been as hard for me, but Coach Smith and Coach Rodriguez, they did a great job of really explaining it and they made it as easy as they possibly can make it for me. Getting out there is just getting out there and doing it. Once you do it more and more, it just comes more natural and right now it is getting to that point."
Question: How many moments are there when you are thinking back to those meetings and you are on the field and you are like, that's what they were talking about?
Tate Forcier: "That's something they are really trying to get…it is pretty much…they want their quarterbacks to think just like their thinking because you're the coach on the field. You got to manage the game and that is what they are kind of trying to get us too and obviously I'm not there yet. I'm obviously not there yet. That's going to take probably a year or so, but it is a little bit different and when you go through the plays and when you go back and watch film you understand why they made that play call or why they want to do something specific to see how the defense reacts to it."
Question: Talk a little bit about the physical aspects; you have to throw over taller guys, to running and scrambling away from faster guys than in high school.
Tate Forcier: "It's a little bit different, but I was throwing over taller guys…you can look at Drew Brees; how he's doing in the NFL; he's a top quarterback in the NFL. I actually worked out with him during the summer. He said that you're not going throw over guys, you're going to throw in windows, in between guys. As regards to speed wise, I'm still moving the same speed. It's like I'm changing anything, but something I've noticed is that you can't split the safeties as fast as you can in high school; they close in a lot faster. That's something that you got to deal with and make the best of it."
Question: Are you off limits as far as hits go or you still taking a hit or two here or there?
Tate Forcier: "I'm still taking hits here and there, but they try to…because with Nick getting hurt, they need a quarterback for this spring. I wanted to get hit a little bit more but there is a reason why Coach Rodriguez is doing it and I can't argue with it."
Question: Do you feel like if you continue your progress that you've made so far that you will be ready to play or perhaps start for game one?
Tate Forcier: "I mean it's possible, because of open competition. Coach Rodriguez already made it clear that nobody is going to win the job throughout spring. It's going to come in the fall. With Nick, I've seen so much improvement with Nick since last year. You can tell that he's a lot more comfortable with the offense. I feel like right now, I'm kind of at the point where he was last year. Kind of understanding why coaches are doing this and why they are doing that. He knows why they are calling this and that and so that is kind of just as time goes, you will get more comfortable with it. Just kind of got to see how it plays out."
Question: How much lifting did you do in high school and how has that adjustment been for you?
Tate Forcier: "I didn't do too much. I was more speed training. My dad, I mean I never lifted and he didn't want me to lift on my own because he didn't want me to…I didn't want to do it the wrong way. Coach Barwis has definitely showed me a little bit of a different life. He's doing a great job with it and I got to give a lot of credit to him. He's trying to bring me along as fast as he can."
Question: How much strength have you gained?
Tate Forcier: "A lot. Coming here, your lifting a 45 plate on each side, it's kind of pathetic. He's got me a lot stronger and you can just tell, when you run your 40 and everything. You feel different and that's kind of the biggest thing right now, I feel like a different person and a different player."
Question: So could you lift a 45 on each side?
Tate Forcier: "Oh yeah. I could but I'm struggling. I definitely I couldn't do too many reps. When you lift and when you get more like adjusted to it, you come along a lot faster than you think you would. It is kind of at the point I am right now. I'm getting a lot stronger, so that's a good thing."
Question: How has it helped to have guys like Brandon Minor and Greg Matthews, some of the veteran skill position players surrounding you this spring?
Tate Forcier: "Oh it helps a lot. They have the most experience and experience is everything. Any time I have a question and Nick isn't there or Coach Rod isn't there, I go up to them and I ask them. What do you think I could do to be better at that play or what do you think I should've done. They are always right there. They know right away, they'll give you an answer and that is something that I got to give them credit for and their helping me as much as they can."
Question: Do you sense an urgency from the…?
Tate Forcier: "Yeah definitely a sense of urgency. It's different. In high school it's kind of just like your more relaxed, just going through the motions and that's something that Coach Rodriguez is really trying to emphasis is we always got to have a sense of urgency and them being through the program that whole last year and getting use to it. They are bringing me along pretty good."
Question: How often do you and Nick talk?
Tate Forcier: "We actually talk a lot, because he's friends with my older brother. So we get along, because me and my brother have the same personality and I actually hang out with Nick all the time on the weekend. I go eat with him here and you find yourself more as…rather than competing with him, you're kind of like buddies with him. The competing and the friendship, it is kind of like, when you are the field you are going to compete with him, but when you're off the field, it is like we are good friends."
Question: How is the adjustment to class gone?
Tate Forcier: "It's going good. It's a little different because I was home schooled. So far, it takes a week or two to get used to it, but they didn't overload my classes or anything, so I got to…the academic part like Shari (Acho) and our academic advisors, they are doing a great job of bringing us along with that."
Question: How many credits are you taking?
Tate Forcier: "I'm only taking 12 right now. I'm going to take more next year. I don't want to overload myself. I wanted to get used to it before. I didn't want to set myself up to fail. I'm taking the least amount that you can take. I'm not going to blame myself for anything of that. I got to get used to it."
Question: Some of the older guys maybe know what their looking for, but have there been guys that have impressed you already that you've noticed some of the older players or older players?
Tate Forcier: "I'd have to say Brandin Hawthorne….you know we're all doing good. I've watched practices but there is only so much that you can watch, because you got a lot to do yourself. Brandin Hawthorne, I've seen a big improvement from and Vince…Vince Smith, man he can move. He can run. Like Brandon says, it's a little bit different. You see a running back going at the college level, usually they'll be a little bit nervous and stuff, but he's out there running like the wind. He makes a lot of guys miss and I think we'll be able to use him this year."
Question: What has been the biggest surprise for you since you've been here; anything stand out?
Tate Forcier: "The speed. Just the sense of urgency, the speed of the defense, the speed of the offense, a lot of timing with the routes and everything. You can overthrow a guy a little bit and they will go up and grab it. In high school, they can't do that. But definitely just the athletes that are around you."
Question: What was your reaction when you heard that Steve Threet was leaving and how did you hear about it?
Tate Forcier: "It really didn't phase me. I knew I was going to compete regardless. Me and Nick talked about it and it was just like, more reps for us. That's kind of the way we're looking at it. It's helping us in a way because the more reps, the more of a rhythm you get in to."
Question: You have been commenting on the sense of urgency; how much of that is the upperclassman saying, we don't want what happened last year to happen or we need to improve from last year; how much do you hear about last season?
Tate Forcier: "Last season was last season and this season is this season. We try not to talk about it. That's in the past, let's move on. Like the upperclassman, Brandon Minor, Greg Matthews, they understand why we need a sense of urgency and that's kind of what they are trying to tell the younger guys and they are doing a great job with that and just being in practice and just watching practice when I'm not in and taking reps, you can just tell how much faster we're moving and so far that is pretty good."
Question: You said that you have a friendly relationship with Nick, do you talk to Denard (Robinson) at all and try to give him some tips on things to expect when he gets here?
Tate Forcier: "I've never met him before. I've never talked to him. We are all going to have to coach each other up. We got to make each other the best we can make each other. It's about winning for Michigan. You want make yourself better, but you want the program to succeed and that's kind of what me and Nick are doing. Whoever wins the job, let the best man win and right now we are just at that point where it is just like we need to win before we get a little rivalry going against each other."
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