They may be freshmen, but Michigan quarterbacks Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson have made a name for themselves two games into their collegiate careers.
Forcier, the starter, has thrown for five touchdowns, is the team’s leading rusher with 107 yards and has committed one turnover.
Robinson hasn’t been much of a threat to throw, but he has 95 rushing yards, including a 43-yard scoring dash that left Western Michigan defenders in the dust.
Eastern Michigan defensive coordinator Eric Lewis said it’s going to be difficult to defend U-M’s spread-option offense because both quarterbacks present “unique challenges.”
“They’re very well coached,” Lewis said at Tuesday’s practice. “Those guys have been running that system for a long time, and they have all the answers for the defenses.
Lewis said the scout-team offense has been doing a good job on giving the starting defense a good look at what it’s going to see at noon on Saturday at Michigan Stadium.
Alex Gillett and Marcel Rose have been given the job of standing in for Forcier and Robinson on the scout team.
“There’s nothing you can really do to simulate those guys at Michigan,” Lewis said. “It’s just a matter of staying ahead of the game a little bit and preparing everyone mentally and physically. We don’t have anyone who can quite compare to their quarterbacks so we do the best we can.”
First-year coach Ron English gave Forcier some high praise Monday in his weekly teleconference.
“He makes great decisions,” English said. “He’s quick. He looks like he’s very, very poised and impressive.”
Forcier led U-M to a winning drive on its final possession Saturday against Notre Dame.
He was 6-of-7 passing in that drive, which was capped by a 5-yard touchdown pass with 16 seconds left to give his team a 38-34 win.
“The spread is really dynamic,” said EMU corner back Johnny Sears, who used to play for U-M and knows Forcier. “[Forcier and Robinson] are both fast. They both do what they do, and they do it well. You can’t just game plan one differently because they both can hurt you.”