Michigan’s spring game on April 1st was a blast to say the least. From the recognition of the 2000 Orange Bowl team, to announcing the 2016 signing class at halftime, to the goal line stand stand to end the game, the buzz around Ann Arbor was bigger than it has been in a long time. There seemed to be a new swagger at the Big House, and I absolutely can’t wait until this fall. As I wrote in last weeks article, I have my eye on a few different Wolverines who I believe will make an immediate impact this fall. I will be writing my thoughts about each of them over the next few weeks. Where better to start than the most talked about position on the field: the quarterback. Here are some of my thoughts as I was on quarterback watch during last week’s 14-13 Maize victory in the annual spring game.
Wilton Speight: The junior quarterback was 5-6 for 46 yards with a touchdown last Friday night. He also added 19 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown to his resume. To me, Speight appeared to be the best leader out of the four quarterbacks. Guys on the Maize team seemed to rally around him and feed off of the plays he was making. I don’t know Wilton, so I can’t say how vocal of a guy he is, but when the maize and blue take the field this fall, Speight appears to be the best option to lead them. Not to mention, Wilton has been in the system a few years, and has game experience, including helping Michigan to a comeback 29-26 victory over Minnesota last fall.
Speight appeared to have the best arm of the bunch and he also made very good decisions. He might not have had the impressive numbers on the stat sheet, but after seeing first hand a lot of things the cameras don’t pick up on, I Wilton some real bonus points in my book. Things like the check downs he made, the touch he had to put on certain passes, the way he was interacting with guys on the sidelines and the swagger he has as he breaks a huddle and leads the team to the line of scrimmage. If I had to choose a starting quarterback based off of the spring game, I think I would hand the ball to Speight.
Shane Morris: The senior quarterback out of Hazel Park, Michigan was 4-9 for 31 yards, with one touchdown and an interception. Morris also carried the ball once for 15 yards. He certainly led all quarterbacks in receiving yards as he hauled in a pass for 25 yards, late in the contest. For me anytime I hear “Shane Morris”, I instantly go back to the game where he was concussed, and staggering around the The Big House with Brady Hoke standing on the sideline clapping, as only Brady could. I also think of a few other things: strong arm, hunger to win, bad decisions, and inconsistent accuracy.
These same thoughts were visible yet again during the spring game. I personally wish we would get past the thought of him ever taking the field at the quarterback spot for the Wolverines. There were multiple occasions during the spring game where he over threw a receiver, threw it into double coverage or threw it so far out of bounds that his receiver didn’t have a chance at making a play.
Listen, Shane Morris is a competitor, flat out, there’s no doubt in my mind. The kid wants to win, and he is going to do whatever it takes to be part of a winning team. There were multiple times he lined up at receiver for the Blue team, and with his competitive spirit I think that he could be a weapon for the Wolverines this fall in that exact spot. They could send him in motion on countless different plays, either as a decoy or to change coverage of the secondary. Obviously anytime there are two quarterbacks on the field at the same time, there is the possibility of some trickery.
John O’Korn: Transfer student, John O’Korn led the passing attack during the contest as he completed 6-14 passes for 93 yards. O’Korn was also pretty shifty out of the pocket as he added seven carries for 34 yards. Heading into the spring game, I was most excited to see O’Korn under center. I was looking to see how O’Korn looked in the pocket, how strong his arm was and most importantly, how guys responded to him. I was very pleased with everything I saw. O’Korn made some great reads in the pocket, which led to great throws, including a 30 yard pass to Drake Harris, and 25 yard pass to Shane Morris.
O’Korn looked like a very mobile quarterback. When the pocket would collapse around him, he had the awareness and ability to get outside of it, and make a play. My only complaint from his time at quarterback is the fact that he seemed to lack patience in the pocket, and scrambled a bit early. I have no doubt that quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch will get that worked out though. As far as leadership goes, the guys on the Blue team really seemed to rally around him as their leader. It’s tough to say what he or Wilton Speight are like in a huddle or in a locker room, but I truly believe the Wolverines will be in great hands with either of them under center. I am looking forward to a great battle out of those two once Michigan resumes practices later this summer.
Brandon Peters: The freshman quarterback completed three passes for 36 yards for the Maize team. We didn’t get to see a ton out of him, but I really wasn’t expecting to. We have heard a lot of hype about this young man while he was in high school, and I don’t see that changing over the next few years. I think he will be an important player for the Wolverines in the near future. What I did see of him last Friday was that he has a good arm. Peter looked very raw in the offensive scheme, which is to be expected of a kid who in all reality should still be in high school for the next three months.
Peters also appeared to be much smaller in comparison to most of the guys on the team. He has good height on him, standing at 6’4”, but his frame is very thin. I guess the best way to describe him would be “long”. He has good height, long arms, and big hands which will help him at the quarterback position. I think Michigan has one heck of a quarterback in the making with Brandon Peters, and I’m excited to see the work he puts in over the next few years, and the results that come with it.
What were your thoughts about each of the quarterbacks during the spring game? What did you think about Alex Malzone? Let us know! Twitter: @craig_tbhr Email:firstname.lastname@example.org