Michigan Players Must Earn Their Wings

This is a story that has been getting a ton of traction around the Michigan bloggosphere and now starting to filter out to more traditional media outlets. We would have jumped on this sooner, but a recent trip out of town has kept me from my usual blogging schedule.

We all remember last week when Rodriguez mentioned during his presser after the opening practice that a small handful of Michigan players were not as conditioned as they should have been coming into fall camp. This comment sent many of us bloggers scrambling to figure out what exactly Rodriguez was talking about, and more importantly, who he was referring to.

As the fall camp has played out, it has become apparent that a few Wolverines have been singled out for not being "All In". Of course Justin Turner has been the only causality so far, but a few others are not rubbing the coaches the right way. The most notable player on this list is Tate Forcier.

Last week when the Big Ten Network was in town to do a broadcast from Michigan's camp, a few players had something very noticeable missing from their practice uniforms...their helmets were plain blue...missing the famous maize wings and stripes.

This photo popped last week on The Big Ten Network's website of Tate holding his plain blue helmet:

Draw one of many conclusions from this photo, I know you will. But just know that Tate wasn't the only player with a blue-only helmet. However, this may have been a stunt by Rodriguez to draw some attention to Forcier and hopefully light a fire under the sophomore QB. He was only photographed with the wing-less headgear during Big Ten Network day...and has been seen with the wings back on his helmet before and since. Rodriguez had this to say about wing-gate...
"There's usually more involved than, 'Is a guy out of shape?'" Rodriguez said. "It's more, 'Has he earned the wings?' Certainly we want everybody that runs down that tunnel on September 4 be wearing a winged helmet. 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."
What Rodriguez is trying to do here is use this as motivation. I can easily see Bo or Lloyd doing the same thing. And frankly, when it comes to Forcier...this can only help him. Clearly there's something going on with him and his lack of motivation. For a guy like him to be considered a 3rd string QB coming out of fall camp, there's something not right going on. It's not that Denard is not a viable option...clearly he's made huge strides this off-season, strides that Rodriguez had hoped Forcier would make as well...and obviously did not.

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