Michigan QBs insist that they're in the dark about a starter

Mark Snyder
Detroit Free Press
Michigan Wolverines QBs Shane Morris, Wilton Speight and John O'Korn go through drills during spring practice Saturday, March 26, 2016 at Ford Field in Detroit.

Michigan hosts Hawaii in eight days.

That's about when the U-M quarterbacks expect to find out who will start the season opener.

All three candidates for the top job -- Wilton Speight, John O'Korn and Shane Morris -- met with reporters today, and no clarity was given. They have no idea, themselves.

"You think back to last year, and they didn't tell us anything until Jake (Rudock) ran on the field (at Utah)," Speight said. "We knew. Guys kind of get a sense, based on practice and stuff like that. But I don't think (coach Jim Harbaugh is) planning on announcing it or saying anything.

"So we'll see who he throws out there first rep. It's out of my hands, it's out of their hands."

O'Korn also said he's not sure.

"There's so much back-and-forth, honestly, that you'd like to think that you know," O'Korn said. "There's honestly been times that I thought that I knew (it was me), and there's times that (Speight) and Shane thought that they knew. Coach Harbaugh will tell you he's in no rush to name a starter. Whether that happens before the first game or after the first game, it's out of my hands."

All three QBs insisted that they don't get indications of their progress, even though every practice moment is charted by the coaches.

Speight said his biggest improvement has been moving the ball up and down the field, one of the criteria that Harbaugh consistently touts.

O'Korn said he has significantly cut down on his turnovers this fall, a problem he had in the spring, when Speight took the lead in the competition.

Morris, meanwhile, said he is far more mature than in past years -- "a much happier person," he said -- when he was competing for the job against Devin Gardner in 2014 and Rudock last year.

The one thing most can agree on is that holding back the announcement is no accident. Harbaugh is calculating, and this is part of it.

"Everything's a test. Even when you think it's not a test, it is," O'Korn said. "Everything's being evaluated, from the way that we walk down the halls to the ways that we throw a pass on a certain route."

That's a change for O'Korn, who started at Houston for the first 1 1/2 years of his career.

In-game experience is his advantage. Morris has two starts at Michigan. But Speight is the only one to play in a game under Harbaugh, having led U-M to a comeback win at Minnesota last season.

"All three of us are playing really well, and it's going to be tough for the coaches to make a decision," Morris said.

The only thing Speight feels confident in is that whoever gets the job for Hawaii will keep it. There won't be rotating QBs each game.

"It don't think that's a thing," Speight said. "That kind of backfired on Ohio State last year -- you saw with J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones. Coach, having played the position, wouldn't like that situation. I pretty sure whoever comes out on top at the end of camp is for a reason. And it's not, 'You better play well this drive or you're looking over your shoulder.'"

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