Last year, the Michigan football team announced its starting quarterback when that quarterback jogged onto the field to take the first snap of the season opener at Utah. It appears the decision may take just as long again.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh spoke to the media at Schembechler Hall on Monday night after practice and had no update on a leader in the quarterback competition between redshirt junior John O’Korn, redshirt sophomore Wilton Speight and redshirt junior Shane Morris.
He did, however, say that the position group is further along than last year at this time. That’s a good sign for the Wolverines, because the group ended up being a strength for them last year.
Jake Rudock, a graduate transfer from Iowa now in training camp with the Detroit Lions, threw for 3,017 yards and 20 touchdowns last season and played a key role in several wins down the stretch. Harbaugh almost never makes comparisons, but he said he has seen fewer mistakes from the three contenders this year than he did from Rudock and the rest of the group early last August.
“I’ve been very pleased with that,” Harbaugh said. “They’re completing balls, they’re running the team, they know what they’re doing. They’re competing at a good, high level. It’s been good.”
Before last week, the quarterbacks last took the field in the spring. Back then, Speight took the most first-team reps during an open practice at Ford Field and then all three split time during the Spring Game. But everyone, including Harbaugh and quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch, made it clear that the group started with a clean slate when camp opened last Monday.
A crew from Big Ten Network watched practice Monday, and BTN’s Tom Dienhart tweeted that O’Korn, Morris and Speight were each taking reps with the first team. Dave Revsine added that the battle was close. The practices are not open to other media.
Michigan still has plenty of time to sort out the competition, with two more weeks of camp and then game prep before the Sept. 3 season opener against Hawaii. Harbaugh said he hasn’t decided when he will name a starter but reiterated that he’s happy with all three options.
“I’ve said it to myself, this group of quarterbacks is playing really well,” Harbaugh said. “Better than most camps that I’ve seen at the start, where sometimes they struggle with their accuracy and struggle with different things — their communicating or fumbled snaps on the ground. We haven’t been seeing that. We’ve been seeing solid play that’s improving, too. It started good, and it’s getting better every day. Hope to be better tomorrow than we were today, but we had a good day today.”