The first Michigan football press conference started on Monday with four players speaking first followed by Coach Rodriguez. Wide Receiver Roy Roundtree started things off, and before you knew it the questions about quarterback started flying.
“Who is going to start at QB?”
“Who do you think has the slight advantage?”
“Who can throw the ball the hardest?
Every reporter in attendance was trying to find someway to get a hint to who would be under center to start the game on Saturday. Would it be last year’s starter Tate Forcier, fast running Denard Robinson, or freshmen sensation Devin Gardener? From players to coach, everyone seemed to be briefed on this subject and how to respond to it.
“It’s nice to have all three, Rich has rotated them around nice.”
“All three of them are great quarterbacks; we will have to see on Saturday.”
“We will tell the quarterbacks at the end of the week and they have all been receiving equal time, so it will be a comfortable transition. The team will be ready for whoever gets under center.”
Other players that spoke were Left Guard Stephen Schilling, Wide Receiver Darryl Stonum, and Nose Tackle Mike Martin. All of whom avoided the question of starting quarterback and steered the conversation in another direction. We knew it was a loss cause to try and get the players to slip up, so it was on to Coach.
Let me start off by saying this looked like a new coach, attitude and demeanor speaking. We sat around a big table and asked questions, I think this was in a way to loosen the coach up and make it a more relaxed atmosphere. It worked. Coach looked and acted like he was coming off a National Championship season and he had all of his starters back. You would’ve never guessed he was on the hot seat and NCAA infractions looming. Coach was cracking jokes, never raised his voice, and never once snapped back at a reporter. I’ve been covering him and his team for three years now and I have seen him on the bitter end of things more than the happier end. From a reporters perspective it felt more comforting to ask questions now this tough demeanor guy was not going to snap back at you.
So we got on the subject of quarterbacks. Every reporter kept plugging him and hoping he would give us a hint. Not knowing where he would go with it, I was in defense mode and ready for the backlash of too many questions about the quarterback situation. Instead we got this:
“I have an idea who my quarterback will be, but I don’t think the coaches even know right now. I don’t know when I will tell them, but it will be before Saturday. I don’t need a long Dr. Phil moment with the guys to talk about their feelings……all I need is to tell them and they will be ready.”
We were not expecting the Dr. Phil reference at all! It made the room a lot looser and made everyone laugh. If this is the demeanor of the coach and team this year, this could be a happy and fun year. Then again the demeanor could totally flip once Saturday comes to an end and Michigan has their first loss! The only hint that came out on Monday was Coach Rodriguez saying that Freshmen Quarterback Devin Gardener will probably not be redshirted. Take that for what it’s worth, but in my mind I think we will be seeing Gardener A LOT this year. Everyone will be glued to the televisions on Saturday to see who will be lining up under center, and what kind of coach will be on the sidelines!
About the Author
Written by Jason Pinter
My name is Jason Pinter and I'm a sports reporter/photographer for the Big Ten Network. I'm very familiar with the Big Ten but my specialty is the University of Michigan. In this column I will bring you updates, breaking news, and behind the scenes coverage of the Michigan Football team. Enjoy! If you have any questions or concerns please direct them to firstname.lastname@example.org