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Evaluating the Mechanics of Big Ten Quarterbacks - Tate Forcier

At last year's University of Michigan season opener, I felt like I was at the epicenter of the college football world. Although this was a bit of football ethnocentrism, I did know that all eyes were watching Rich Rodriguez's offense, wondering how his run based shotgun spread would look in the Big House. We quickly knew the answer - not good. But Rodriguez was saddled with players unfit for his scheme, especially at quarterback. In 2009, barring any miracles from now until August, it looks like the quarterback of this intriguing offense is freshman Tate Forcier, a 4 star recruit from California, who already looks like a major upgrade from 2008. Let's look at his throwing mechanics, using mostly Spring Game tape (thats about 14 throws worth so...) and some high school tape.

Tate Forcier (Michigan)


Snap (B):

  • Security/Ball Placement (B-): Comfortable taking snap in the shotgun probably because high school ran shotty too. Holds the ball too low , allowing for more things to go wrong as he cocks the ball back.
  • Retreat Speed (n/a): Not retreating a whole lot in the shotgun.
  • Footwork (A-): Slippery was the MGo word regarding Forcier's movement in the pocket. He carries out the read fakes and misdirection spin moves (catching snap, fake hand off right, rollout left) easily.
  • The Fake (n/a): Not enough tape here to judge his pump fakes.
  • Adaptation (B-): Obviously can throw on the run, otherwise he wouldn't be playing for RichRod's scheme. His mechanics disintegrated a bit when scrambling though. Dropped arms too quickly and allowed his hands to get away from his body instead of keeping two hands on the ball. That's typical of a scrambling quarterback.

Release (B-):

  • Survey (B+): I think it's relevant that surveying the field is not an important part of the Spread. Does keep his eyes up field though.
  • Stance (A- / Incomplete): Stood in the Spring Game pocket comfortably and showed good poise when rolling out to throw, setting his feet nicely before throwing.
  • Step (B): Some throws, follows textbook form in keeping weight on back foot and following through. Other throws, Forcier remembers he has less than great arm strength and puts his entire body into the throws, even kicking up both feet.
  • Wrist/Throw (C-): This is where he gets in trouble. Instead of flicking, pushes some short throws. Doesn't generate large amount of spin. He leaves his left hand on the ball too long to help him grip the ball better.

Overall: B-