Question: Rich Rodriguez talked a lot today about the quarterback position obviously not settled; the old adage is that if you have two quarterbacks, you don't have any. Do you feel that way that you really want one guy to separate themselves or are you okay going into the season with three guys?
Rod Smith: "Well obviously you want depth at every position, especially at quarterback. You can't have enough of them. Sometimes it is a little bit more difficult at our position because you can only play one at one time. Sometimes you can do different things to get them both on the field, you'd like some guy to separate, completely be the guy, but at the same time, if you got two or three guys that are equally the same but can still perform at a high level, that's the most important part. Are we moving the chains, are we taking care of the ball, making the right decisions and putting points on the board. If three of them can do it and we got three than I'm happy as hell. If we have two than we'll play with two. Coach Rod always said, if you're good enough to win with you'll play."
Question: How does that work? Is it a situational type thing where different guys bring different elements to the field are going to playing different situations or are each going to get a little taste of everything?
Rod Smith: "I think each of our guys right now that are battling bring a little bit something different to the table than the other guys. All of them have to operate what we do offensively to some extent. Some guys may do a little bit more. For the most part, they are all running the same base packages. We may throw a couple of tweaks to what Denard (Robinson) does strong or Tate (Forcier) or even Nick (Sheridan). That's our job as coaches to kind of adjust it around to what they do, play to their strengths sort of speak, but they all of them have to be able to play within the system."
Question: Tate Forcier from an outsiders perspective looked to have a very strong spring game. I'm sure as the position coach, you were able to pick out a few things there, but since then where has he come in the summer, has he continued to grow, has he continued to progress or as you throw more at him is it difficult to really move forward at that position?
Rod Smith: "He's a worker. He's a guy that likes to get in and study film. He tries to sponge up whatever you give him. I was pleased with Tate's progress in the spring and I've been pleased with him so far through the summer and he's doing a good job right now in camp. He's competing and doing a good job. Obviously, there are things that we got to get cleaned up. He is a freshman, so sometimes I have got to remind my self that. I kind of treat him like he is a junior or senior because he was here for spring, but at the same time that's the urgency we've got to have, we've got to be ready to play here in a couple of weeks."
Question: You got Denard Robinson who was recruited by a lot of schools as an athlete. You guys were very adamant on signing day that he is a quarterback in his system; what you've seen out of him this summer, you expected it or has it been a little bit of a surprise?
Rod Smith: "No we expected it. We saw it when we recruited him. He kind of reminds me of a guy named Pat White, who everybody recruited as an athlete. We saw what he does, his skill set fits perfectly with what we try to do offensively. Denard is going to be a special talent. He's learning right now, but he's making plays all over the field and that has been very, very pleasing, not surprising, but pleasing that he's doing it this early. We knew it would happen, just a matter of when. That's all these guys. All of them are making plays. I think we are better as a unit today than what we were last year. So that hopefully carries like coach says onto Saturday with whoever we decide to put out there."
Question: Obviously Tate has had a couple more months to learn the offense, what has Denard done in the last couple of weeks to maybe close that gap?
Rod Smith: "I just think let your plays speak for themselves. Like we said, one guy is not ahead of the other right now. We're trying to keep it open and keep all three guys as sharp as can be. Our philosophy is that iron sharpens iron. So when you go good against good then it is going to raise his game sort of speak. Closing the gap, I don't know if anybody has closed the gap as much as just they can only control what they can control. Denard has done some good things."
Question: If you were to name the thing that each of three does well right now individually; what would you say about Nick, Denard and Tate; areas where they are strong.
Rod Smith: "Nick is probably mentally the sharpest right now. That's due to him being here longer than the others. He's been entrenched here so he understands maybe a little bit more. The little nuisances sort of speak. Tate has had the spring. He has a chance to really get in depth in to it. He brings an elusive factor. He brings a feel. He's got a little bit of a swagger to him that you don't teach and sometimes he carries himself that way and he finds a way to make plays. Denard is the exact same way. Denard has got swagger. He's got confidence. Both of those guys are extremely confident. They are not fearful of anything or anyone. Both of them have extreme confident. The quicker we can keep getting them advanced with what we do and let them do what they do the best with their athletic ability to operate the system they are going to play."
Question: Rich said the first game all three guys would play and who knows, maybe we'll have three starting quarterbacks; have you ever had even two as a position coach; have you had three?
Rod Smith: "Yeah. At West Virginia we had three. Pat White, Jarrett Brown, who'll be the starter this year and a kid named Adam Bednarik, who was the starter before Pat White. So my last year at West Virginia, we had all three of them and all three of them had started games. So they were actually more experienced than what we have right now."
Question: Could you have that possibility this year where it is just an ongoing competition and you have packages for each guy and they run the crap out of that?
Rod Smith: "It could be."
Full Transcript: QB Coach Rod Smith
The Michigan Insider Top Stories
WATCH: Godin recalls last trip to MSUWatch as Michigan defensive lineman Matt Godin discusses the last trip he made to East Lansing and the impact it has made on him to this day.
The Michigan Insider3:00 PM
Lewis, Michigan looking to 'handle business'Michigan senior cornerback Jourdan Lewis says Michigan State's record doesn't matter heading into Saturday.
The Michigan Insider2:18 PM
WATCH: Kelly-Powell Updates RecruitmentDetroit (Mich.) Cass Tech's Jaylen Kelly-Powell updates his recruitment, the latest with Michigan, his decision timeline and more.
The Michigan Insider8:37 AM
Wheatley Jr. “Excited” For Big Test At MSUMichigan tight end Tyrone Wheatley Jr. discusses his first career catch and touchdown vs. Illinois, thoughts on the rivalry against the Spartans, and more.
The Michigan Insider8:19 AM