Spring practices began for the Michigan football team over the weekend, and one of the questions everyone is curious about is who will be the starting quarterback when Michigan kicks off its season in a few months?
On January 1, Michigan lost its first bowl game in four years. After the blowout loss to Tennessee in the Citrus Bowl, the quarterback position came under scrutiny.
Junior quarterback John Navarre led Michigan to an 8-4 record last season with 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions on the year. But Navarre will have some competition with spring practice over the next few weeks.
“We go in with the idea that we are going to compete,” Carr said. “It doesn’t matter where your mind is based on what you think is going to happen. The key is what you do on the field on a daily basis.”
This spring is a chance for Navarre to show the coaches how much he has improved – if he has improved – in the offseason. Navarre has dropped weight and, according to the coaching staff, his 40-yard dash time is faster than the times posted by Brian Griese and Tom Brady when they played at Michigan. Navarre has also worked with the new quarterback’s coach Scott Loeffler to help improve the technical aspect of his game.
“A part of what you try to do as a coach and what you hope your players will do in the calm of an offseason is look at yourself objectively,” Carr said. “It’s much easier to look at yourself critically because you have more time and you’re not in the stress of the season and you have a chance to study yourself. I think when you see (Navarre) the first thing you’ll notice is that he looks a lot different. He worked extremely hard in the offseason.”
One up-and-coming player who could vie for some snaps is Spencer Brinton. The transfer from San Diego State took a year off from college football while on a Mormon mission and is just now becoming acclimated to the Michigan system.
“I think he feels more comfortable with what we are doing and is more assured in terms of the terminology and the little things, like checks at the line of scrimmage that must be done prior to the snap,” Carr said. “I think he is ready to compete.”
Center stage: Prior to the beginning of last season, defensive lineman Dave Petruziello moved over to the offensive line because of the loss of four offensive lineman to the NFL.
This spring, Carr is moving Dave Pearson, another defensive lineman, over to offensive line because of the depth at defensive line and Pearson’s hard-nosed style and attitude.
“I felt from the day that he got here that (Pearson) was a good football player. I think that he has developed physically now and sizewise,” Carr said. “We have very good depth in the defensive line and I think that Dave brings a temperament to the offensive line that I think we need and that I think will help us offensively.”
Pearson will compete with fellow junior Courtney Morgan and Andy Christopfe for the starting center position.
On the sidelines: Last Friday, Carr officially announced all of the major coaching staff changes that have taken place this offseason. With Terry Malone talking over as offensive coordinator, Andy Moeller , son of former Michigan coach Gary Moeller, will assume interior line responsibilities.