UM QB decision gets down to crunch time

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Michigan's starting quarterback has not yet been determined, but the time to make that decision is narrowing with the Wolverines' opener at Utah on Sept. 3.

Junior Shane Morris, the only returning experienced quarterback from last season, is competing with fifth-year senior Jake Rudock, a two-year starter from Iowa who transferred to Michigan for his final year of eligibility.

Offensive coordinator Tim Drevno, appearing on the Big Ten Network following the network's camp visit Wednesday morning, said he doesn't have a set timeline to make the call.

"I couldn't tell you that," Drevno told BTN. "We'll go day-to-day. It's in your gut when you know it's right and you make the decision. We can't put a time frame on that.

"They're competing hard. Everybody is doing good things at times, some people aren't doing good things at times, but that's part of training camp. They're attacking every day and every snap like it's a game-like situation."

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has not met with reporters since media day on Aug. 6, so the BTN reports have provided the only significant information from camp.

During media day, Jedd Fisch, the pass game coordinator who also coaches receivers, said once the quarterback situation is resolved, why not make an announcement because both quarterbacks are running the same offense.

"It will go until it's clear, and when it's clear, that guy will be named," Fisch said at media day. "It's not like one is an option-style runner versus another is a drop-back, and all of a sudden you've given the defense an advantage by telling them who our starting quarterback is. They know what our system is, they know what our offense is, they know who our players are, so now it's a matter of who we think is the best guy, and when he's ready we'll name him."

Clearly, the focus this camp has been making sure the quarterbacks protect the football. The Wolverines were a dismal minus-16 in turnover margin last year, with many of the turnovers coming from the quarterback position.

"Completing passes and not turning it over, the guy who does that the most and throws some touchdown passes every now and then, too," Fisch said of what he's looking for in a quarterback. "You can't just complete passes – you don't want to run on a treadmill. You want to get somewhere. We want to move the ball, we want to complete passes for first downs and touchdowns and we want to be smart with the ball. And if we can do that, that will be the guy who jumps out."

Tight end Jake Butt told BTN on Wednesday that the quarterback competition is going strong.

"It's a heated battle every single day," Butt said. "You see them try to sit in the front row every single meeting, always trying to get an edge on each other."

From left, Shane Morris and Jake Rudock are competing for the QB job.
QB Jake Rudock