Just a few months separate us from the start of the college football season. For the University of Michigan football team, the quarterback position will dictate how successful it will be this season. Last year, Devin Gardner struggled early with turnovers, but turned things around to put up stellar numbers over the course of the season.
Here, I will break down the next few seasons of Michigan football and what the future of the quarterback position will look like.
I’ve said it more than once already, but I’ll go ahead and say it again. Michigan’s starting quarterback will be the fifth-year senior Gardner. I simply don’t understand the hate that the man gets. He literally put the team on his back at times last season and he was the only reason that the Wolverines became bowl eligible.
I don’t think there will be a “quarterback battle” but youngsters Shane Morris and Wilton Speight will create a little bit of competition at practice, which will hopefully motivate Gardner to new heights in 2014. Gardner will be the center of the Michigan offense this season and it will need him to exceed his performances from a year ago.
Michigan’s schedule is brutal, as they will go on the road against Michigan State (for a second year in a row), Northwestern (also for a second year in a row) and Ohio State. Having a veteran presence in Gardner will benefit the Wolverines more than a guy in Morris who has started just one collegiate game.
It will finally be the time for Morris to shine. The big-armed lefty will have had two years of experience backing up Gardner and will hopefully be seasoned enough to be ready to start full-time. In brief appearances last season, he showed flashes of pretty good play, which was definitely encouraging.
Morris will be a change for Michigan, after Denard Robinson and Gardner have been the primary signal callers for the last five years. Morris is more of a pocket passer, so Michigan will look to go back to its traditional pro offense, which features more of a running back than previous seasons.
This will be a welcome sight for many fans, as they have become frustrated with the play-calling in the last few seasons. With new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier in the fold, he will be able to coach Morris effectively as he was a left-handed QB in his playing days as well.
Speight is another big guy with an even bigger arm that could compete with Morris in 2015, but the extra year will give Morris the edge.
Morris will be a senior and Michigan will (hopefully) be an actual contender in the Big Ten and in the nation. Speight will compete once again, but 2017 will be his first major opportunity, barring any sort of injuries.
The future (and present) is certainly bright at the quarterback position for Michigan football, which features a trio of talented signal callers. The focus for now is 2014 and Gardner, who hopes to lead the Wolverines back to its winning ways.