From what I have gathered from the people I know....Forcier developed a big head after their hot start last year garnered a bunch of national attention and the hype around him began to build. Some think that's why we struggled in the latter half of the year, but I just look at it as us being fortunate to beat Notre Dame (and Indiana for that matter) and not being able to bring it week in and week out against Big Ten competition. Anyways, his lack of focus pretty much carried into the offseason (Lambskin's party theory) and when you combine that with Denard's abilities (if he puts it together he will
be unstoppable) and incredible work ethic you immediately see a quarterback controversy appear. A thread appeared on MGoBlog yesterday from a guy who knows the family and basically said that Forcier, whether it be through self realization or a kick in the pants from his dad, has taken responsibility for the poor offseason and is committed to winning the starting spot. His father apparently has had no complaints with the way Rodriguez has handled the situation and basically said he has done what a coach should, which is to make him earn it.
EDIT: Given what I wrote above, I'd still be surprised if Robinson wasn't the starter against UConn.....he has had an incredible spring.
Also, pertaining to the Woolfolk injury, there's been a lot of criticism thrown in Rodriguez's direction about a lack of depth in the defensive backfield that has left them pretty much helpless going into the season. However, in the last six months we have lost:
Demar Dorsey - Didn't qualify academically (rumor is that he won't even qualify at Louisville
Adrian Witty - Didn't qualify academically (now apparently will be starting at Cincinnati)
Troy Woolfolk - Injury; out for season
Justin Turner - Transferring (ironically to West Virginia I hear)
Boubacar Cissoko - Kicked off of team for breaking team rules, two months later got in trouble again and now faces jail time.....if I remember right he was convicted of something
Donovan Warren - Best d-back last year; goes into NFL draft and isn't drafted....will likely make the Jets roster, but should have stayed
I am not really sure how much of that can be put on the coach but take what you will out of that.
Anyways, the defensive backfield is in shambles now unless Cullen Christian steps up (I think he can, but expecting him to is another beast), and even then it will be the weak link of a potentially weak defense, so it's not really out of the question to say we are in huge trouble this season unless we get a couple unexpected surprises.
Most important games: UConn, MSU
Can't start off 0-1 going into South Bend and we cannot (repeat: CANNOT) lose to an inferior program like State three years in a row. If we lose to State again, it would take a huge upset of Ohio State for Rodriguez to keep his job unless we were 8-3 or 9-2 going into that game, which I don't expect to be the case. I think if he makes it through this year he will be our coach for a while. I just don't know if he will. I say we go 7-5 this year with a possible 8-4 because I think we either beat Penn State on the road or beat Iowa at home.
Off the cuff schedule prediction:
UConn - W
ND - L
UMass - W
Bowling Green - W
Indiana - W (not sure about this one....close game last year Indiana will be motivated and they really aren't a bad team at all)
MSU - W (They seriously HAVE to win this game)
Iowa - L
@ PSU - W
Illinois - W
@ Purdue - W (They have to win this game....lots of bad blood building between these programs)
Wisconsin - L
Ohio State - L
I guess that works out to 8-4 but wouldn't be shocked to see them drop the Indiana or MSU game. We'll see though. I suppose they could beat Notre Dame too....locals in Michigan really seem to be riding the Brian Kelly train, and I am to an extent (Fun fact: his wife was my high school science teacher) but I don't think they'll be a good team this year. Lots of tossup games on the schedule, but there always are. Not really used to guarded optimism as a Michigan fan
EDIT 2: This pretty much sums it up: