February 17, 2009 at 1:00 am

Angelique S. Chengelis: Michigan football

Stay calm about Michigan's freshman QBs

Forcier and Robinson could be the real deals, but they'll have to learn ... and that takes time.

Just remember -- they are freshmen.

With Steven Threet's departure from Michigan, the Wolverines are -- my apologies to Nick Sheridan -- destined to start a freshman quarterback this fall. Maybe not in the opener against Western Michigan, but then again, why not? What exactly would be the gamble?

Tate Forcier is enrolled at U-M, will get a dose of spring ball under his belt and was raised in the spread offense. Denard Robinson, a speedy Floridian, will be here in the summer to begin preseason conditioning and unofficial workouts with his teammates.

At the risk of mastering the obvious here, let's not forget one important thing -- these two young men are freshmen, freshmen with tremendous upside, but they are F-R-E-S-H-M-E-N.

Remember how excited everyone seemed to be about freshman quarterback Justin Feagin last summer? Could he be a contender for the starting job, people wondered. Oh! He's the perfect fit! He can run this offense, no problem! Feagin is now a slot receiver.

This is not to suggest Forcier and Robinson won't succeed. This is not to say they shouldn't be given a chance. But why is the fact they are freshmen playing the most important position on the field getting glossed over? This is the time for a serious reality check.

Sure, sure, point to Chad Henne and remind he was a freshman when he started. Yeah, well, Henne had an unbelievable receiver in Braylon Edwards who could go up and grab pretty much anything thrown in his direction, and Henne had a pretty solid line and a tailback -- yes, a freshman -- in Mike Hart, who shouldered some of the pressure in the backfield.

Michigan was 3-9 last season and endured some serious growing pains, and Threet and Sheridan were challenged to quarterback an offense for which they were not ideally suited. While it's in Threet's best interest to move on and find a program where he can succeed, there's no doubt in my mind U-M would have been better off having him return with his eight starts behind him.

So maybe Forcier and Robinson are the real deals.

And maybe the fact Forcier and Robinson are dual-threat quarterbacks gives Michigan an edge it didn't have last fall. But they are freshmen and freshmen, being freshmen, make mistakes. Sometimes, a lot of them.

They probably are the best fits for this offense and the competition could be fun to watch, but they are young and getting all these offensive pieces to fit is going to take time. Yes, probably more than a season or two.

When you're a team coming off a 3-9 season, it sure looks like hope springs eternally youthful. But just remember -- they are F-R-E-S-H-M-E-N.