|Erick Lehman/Maize and Blue Nation|
Maize and Blue Nation Football Writer Erick Lehman will be writing multiple Spring Game previews, and releasing new position group previews each day leading into the game. The Spring Game is scheduled for Friday April 1, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. and will be held at Michigan Stadium. The previews are looking into the Spring Game and will not account for incoming recruits who have not yet joined the team.
The most intriguing position battle for the Michigan Wolverines is undoubtedly the quarterback situation.
For the second year in a row we have no idea who will start for the Wolverines, but we can take a fairly good guess at the situation.
What is different from last year is that all three quarterbacks who are battling for the position are all on the roster this year, unlike last year when we had to wait until summer camp for Jake Rudock to arrive on campus.
John O’Korn, Wilton Speight, and Shane Morris are all battling for a starting spot this season.
Meanwhile, Alex Mazlone will likely be playing a quiet reserve role, and Brandon Peters is expected to be redshirted.
O’Korn has the most experience, and has more experience than Speight and Morris combined. He has thrown for over 4,000 yards in his career, his two years at Houston proved he can move the football.
He was named the American Athletic Conference Rookie of The Year in the 2013 season after throwing for 3,117 yards and 28 touchdowns as a freshman.
However, he lost his starting job his sophomore year after starting the season 2-3 with six touchdowns and eight interceptions. He had only thrown 10 interceptions his entire freshman year.
The one knock on John O’Korn has got to be the system he came from. Houston runs an interesting and strong passing game that makes middle of the pack quarterbacks look great with stats. But one year under Harbaugh, even though he didn’t play, could mean a lot for O’Korn. On top of that, O’Korn roomed with Jake Rudock, and likely learned as much from him as he possibly could.
Speight has only attempted 25 passes in his career, and only completed nine of them. He was one touchdown, the game winning touchdown against Minnesota.
But reports say that he could be the front runner for the starter position as he took most of the first team reps at the open practice held at Ford Field last week.
I don’t see it but Harbaugh might have something up his sleeve.
Shane Morris is the interesting one here.
Morris must either really love the university, or thinks he has a legitimate shot at playing time, or he knows something we all don’t know because many speculated, and firmly believed he would transfer for his final season.
He probably should have.
Shadowed by the concussion game, Morris hasn’t really done much. The gunslinger has a strong arm, but struggled with hitting his receivers.
I don’t think Morris will have much of a chance at playing time.
So what does all of this mean for the Spring Game?
Well last year the Wolverines had two healthy quarterbacks. Malzone and Morris.
This year, as far as I know they will have five healthy scholarship quarterbacks.
So the keys are:
1. Who starts for each team (Likely O’Korn and Speight)
2. Who gets the most reps between O’Korn, Speight, and Morris
3. Obviously, who flat out looks better?
The key is to see who looks comfortable, who is comfortable in the pocket, stepping up to throw, moving around the pocket, and patient to let their receivers get open.
It is going to be interesting, and I am excited to see who gets the most reps at quarterback, it could be a telling sign as for who is under center to start the game September 3.