Senior quarterback Chad Henne will miss Saturday’s football game against Notre Dame due to injury and true freshman quarterback Ryan Mallett will make his first-career start.
Reports have indicated Henne has a lower-leg injury, but Michigan coach Lloyd Carr wouldn’t confirm that at yesterday’s weekly press conference.
There is no official timetable for Henne’s return, but Carr indicated his status could change on a week-to-week basis.
Asked if he expected Henne to return this year, Carr sounded hopeful.
“I do,” Carr said. “We’ll see how he does this week. I talked with him yesterday, and he’s in good spirits. He’s disappointed, but he’ll come back quicker than most.”
Henne was injured scrambling out of bounds late in the first half of Saturday’s 39-7 loss to Oregon. He returned to the game briefly, but did not come out of the locker room for the second half. The offense was handed over to Mallett.
Henne was on pace to tie the all-time Michigan record for starts – 50, held by offensive tackle Jon Jansen (1994-98). Henne has started every Michigan game since he joined the team.
Mallett struggled in his debut, finishing 6-of-17 for 49 yards and one interception. But the Texarkana, Texas native impressed his teammates with his poise and confidence in the huddle.
“He was real calm, he didn’t seem that shook up or anything,” senior wide receiver Adrian Arrington said. “He just tried to get out there and act like it was practice. Just call the plays, go through his reads and try and make the right calls.”
Mallett enrolled at Michigan last winter in order to adjust to the rigors of both college football and academics. He was able to practice with the team during the spring, and that gave him an edge that most freshman quarterbacks don’t have.
Henne came to Michigan the July before his freshman year and only participated in conditioning drills and fall practice with the team before being thrown into the fire.
“It’s kind of like (Mallett was) a redshirt freshman almost because he was here all spring learning the offense,” senior tri-captain Jake Long said. “He was here all summer, and then during camp he just fine-tuned what he needed to about the offense, and I think that gives him confidence. It gives everybody else around him confidence. And I think he’s going to do well at that spot.”