Friday, April 1, 2016

The Triple Threat: Evaluating Michigan's quarterbacks from Friday's spring game

                                      Photo Credit: Geno Green

Michigan quarterbacks John O'Korn, Shane Morris (Blue) and Wilton Speight (Maize) came into Friday night's spring game as the top projected players in the depth chart going into the 2016 season.

Here are the summaries of the quarterbacks and what each brought to the table:


Among the group of quarterbacks who stood out, Speight looked like a potential starter showing poise and pocket presence.

Speight finished with 5-of-6 completions for 46 yards and a touchdown pass to an open Jake Butt on the left side for a 13-yard TD to even the game at 7-7 with 5:27 left in the first half. The other score came on a 6-yard run by Speight off a playaction keeper to put the Maize ahead 14-7.

The spring practices have been a boost to Speight's confidence as he believes Friday's game solidified an improved comfort level with the offense as a redshirt sophomore.

"I felt pretty good [tonight] and with it being the second year in the offense, things were comfortable," Speight said.

With the spring game comes teams not exposing all of the cards at hand and for Speight, things lived up to the norm.

"Going into the spring game, obviously you don't want to show all of your cards," Speight said while leaning his hand on a table to keep an upright stance in the locker room. "We had a very restricted gameplay with an emphasis on dinking and dunking. That was the gameplan going in by getting completions and not showing everything we have to offer."


                                   Photo Credit: Geno Green

O'Korn showed a lot of his scrambling abilities on the game's opening drive with runs of six and seven yards and finished 3-of-5 passing for 36 yards and helped set up the pass to Shane Morris, which led to the latter throwing a 9-yard touchdown pass across the field to Drake Johnson to open the scoring for the Blue team.

Morris started the final two drives of the first half before O'Korn re-appeared under center for the first possession of the second half and  ran in a 6-yard touchdown with eight seconds left in the game to pull the Blue Team to 14-13, but missed on the two-point conversion as the game ended.

Speight knows about O'Korn's time at the University of Houston and embraces more competition.

"I don't really look into the writings and stuff, but anytime you have a transfer come in, that is the mindset that everyone will have," Speight said. 

"John is a good buddy of mine and we knew it was going to be a competition and he knew the job wasn't going to be given to him," Speight said. "[John] had a good spring too, but we will see what happens even though I feel very good."


The spring game morphed into a cross between lining up at wide receiver and quarterback for Morris.

The wide receiver position is where the redshirt junior thrived with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Johnson with an assist to O'Korn throwing the backwards lateral beforehand in the first quarter.

Morris stalled for the most part under center by going three and out on the second drive, with the third and final drive ending on an interception by safety Dymonte Thomas to cap off the drive and the first half. 

The stats were pedestrian at best, as Morris completed 4-of-9 passes for a touchdown through the air and an interception.

After seeing the skill set Morris brought as a wide receiver, do not be surprised to see coach Jim Harbaugh throw him on select plays this season to keep opposing defenses second guessing.

Another year, another quarterback race which will likely come down to fall camp, but at least there is stability with Harbaugh and a 10-3 mark from 2015 to build on.

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