Presser Notebook: Robinson to start against ND, Rodriguez not concerned with Forcier's demeanor

Daily Sports Writer
Published September 6, 2010

Sophomore quarterback Denard Robinson is going to start in Saturday’s game against Notre Dame, Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said on Monday.

Finally, no waiting until the night before to name a starter.

“Do the same thing you did last week,” Rodriguez joked with the media at his weekly press conference Monday. “Ask me if he’s going to play, who’s going to be the starter.

“You think it would be a surprise if (Robinson) doesn’t start? He’s earned the start for sure.”

Rodriguez said he would still give other quarterbacks reps in practice this week, even after Robinson set a school rushing record (197 yards in one game) for a quarterback and was 19-for-22 through the air.

Since the end of Saturday’s game, Robinson’s performance has garnered quite a bit of attention from local and national media outlets. Robinson was named the Walter Camp player of the week and the Big Ten offensive player of the week.

Still, Rodriguez didn’t seem concerned with those accolades going to Robinson’s head.

"He's a pretty humble guy anyway," Rodriguez said. "I'll talk to him about staying humble and staying hungry, but that's in his nature anyway. He'll be able to handle the pats on the back.

“That's the same thing I told the team: ‘You're just one bad day away from everybody else saying what they were saying about you last week.’ It's that old thing: It's like poison — it's OK as long as you don't swallow it."

Rodriguez not concerned about Forcier’s mood on Saturday: Rodriguez didn’t want to answer questions about the only quarterback not to take any snaps in Saturday’s win — sophomore Tate Forcier.

Each time questions arose about Forcier’s behavior — he sat on the sidelines with a towel over his shoulders during the game — Rodriguez got worked up. He said he would prefer to answer questions about Robinson’s performance rather than Forcier’s game-day demeanor.

“Is the coach making a big issue out of it? No,” Rodriguez said. “Any time somebody doesn’t play, whether it is Tate or somebody else, they are probably going to be disappointed. 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 and all that, then we’ll have a conversation. If we need to do that, I’ll do that.”

Rodriguez said he would probably have a conversation with his three quarterbacks (Robinson, Forcier and true freshman Devin Gardner) soon, and he reiterated that he wasn’t worried about Forcier's demeanor.

"Am I concerned it will affect the team?” Rodriguez said. “I want all my players to be happy all the time. Inevitably, all 110 won't be. But if you win, you would expect most of them to be happy — or fake it."

Injury update: Rodriguez announced Monday that redshirt sophomore wide receiver Roy Roundtree is doubtful for Saturday's game at Notre Dame with internal bruises. Roundtree has been coughing up blood.

Defensive back Carvin Johnson, who sprained his knee against Connecticut, is “very doubtful,” according to Rodriguez. Redshirt freshman Thomas Gordon will likely start in Johnson’s place against Notre Dame, with Floyd Simmons serving as the backup.

Rodriguez also discussed the status of three players besides senior cornerback Troy Woolfolk who didn’t play in Saturday’s game.

Running back Fitz Toussaint (knee) and WR Junior Hemingway (hamstring) are uncertain for Saturday's game until the staff sees how they look this week, but Rodriguez hopes they will be able to play at Notre Dame.

Reserve defensive back Jared Van Slyke, who has a clavicle injury, is out for the season.