Tate Forcier Missing His Wings at UM
Last week, a Big Ten Network reporter who was permitted to watch the Wolverines practice tweeted that Forcier's helmet lacked the distinctive wings (which can also be found on the helmets of Delaware's and Princeton's football squads). The same reporter also tweeted that "as far as big names go, he (Forcier) was the only one that I noticed." This photo appears to confirm it.
While Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez did not mention Forcier by name, he did acknowledge that "it's a team thing" and that "It's more than 'Is a guy out of shape?' It's more, 'Has he earned the wings?'"
Starting as a true freshman last season, and leading Michigan to a win over Notre Dame in just his second game, Forcier appeared to have earned his wings. In fact, it was thought that 2010 might just be the season in which the 6-foot-1, 194-pound southern Californian spread his wings. However, at Big Ten media days earlier this month, cornerback Troy Woolfolk said that Forcier had missed a few voluntary workouts over the summer (calling into question, of course, the definition of "voluntary").
Thus far in fall camp, Forcier has failed to separate himself from classmate Denard Robinson (above left) or freshman Devin Gardner (above middle, in the background).
"I hope we have enough confidence to play all three," Rodriguez told the Detroit News after Monday's practice. "Can I see that? Not right now because all three aren't playing to the level I want, but I think we'll get there before we play UConn, at least I'm hoping they can."
It is Michigan's hated rival to the south that is more known for adorning its players helmets with decals based upon their performance. At Ohio State, players earn buckeye decals based on their play, so that as the season progresses a plain gray helmet becomes festooned with stickers. In Ann Arbor, however, every Wolverine runs through the tunnel and taps the "M GO BLUE" sign at midfield for the home opener wearing a winged helmet.
"Certainly we want everybody that runs down that tunnel on September 4 ... to be wearing a winged helmet," said Rodriguez, now in his third season at Michigan. "In order to be running down that tunnel, you've got to appreciate that privilege that you have to play here, and I think all of them will. But if they don't, they won't wear the helmet."
Rodriguez may be prodding his leader in passing and total offense of a year ago to step up his play, but in the meantime Forcier sits in decal purgatory -- just like Clarence the angel in Frank Capra's classic 1947 film "It's A Wonderful Life" famously endured a wingless limbo of another sort. Should anyone happen to hear bells ringing within the vicinity of Michigan's athletic complex this week, it may just mean that Forcier finally has a properly adorned helmet.