Wolverines coach on how players can find out what they are made of during times of duress. Angelique S. Chengelis
Ann Arbor — Michigan backup quarterback Brandon Peters warmed up on the sideline late in the game at Penn State last Saturday, and the plan was for him to take over for the final series.
But the Wolverines did not get the ball back, Penn State ran out the clock, and Peters, a redshirt freshman, never saw the field.
Starter John O’Korn took seven sacks in the 42-13 loss to Penn State and remains the starter for injured starter Wilton Speight as the unranked Wolverines prepare to face Rutgers on Saturday at Michigan Stadium. Might this be the opportunity for Peters to have pre-ordained playing time to get some real-game experience and reps?
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh wouldn’t say if that’s in the game plan.
“We’re just going along the process of readying him to play,” Harbaugh said Monday at his weekly news conference. “The backup quarterback always needs to be ready to play.”
Michigan is 5-2, 2-2 Big Ten with five remaining regular-season games, including the next two at home against Rutgers and Minnesota, in what was announced Monday will be a night game. O’Korn remains as the starter while Speight recovers, but the hits he took at Penn State made more credible the backup-is-one-play-away cliché more credible.
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“Brandon’s getting backup snaps,” Harbaugh said, referring to the larger number of snaps Peters is taking now as backup versus as the third string. “He’s readying himself to play. He’s one play away right now. Every day he’s readying himself to be out there playing.”
O’Korn was 16-of-28 for 166 yards against the Nittany Lions and ran 14 times for 46 yards that were negated and some by sack yardage. It was his best performance since taking over as starter.
“I won’t go into everything, but he managed the game very well,” Harbaugh said. “Got everything communicated and ran the offense very well. There was some duress and some plays we could have made, etcetera. We’ll go back and look at it — that’s what we’re in the process of doing. Some good and … kind of the theme for our offense, some things we missed out. There were some opportunities (we missed), as well.”