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Harbaugh on playing both QBs: 'Everything's an option'

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Shane Morris

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is taking a cagey approach to revealing anything definitive about his depth chart, particularly who the starting quarterback will be when the Wolverines open the season at Utah on Thursday night.

During his news conference Thursday, he said because Utah is issuing its depth chart on Monday, that’s when Michigan will also release theirs.

Harbaugh made his first of what will be weekly appearances on "The Stoney and Bill Show" on 97.1 on Friday – the show will air on Thursdays at 9:10 a.m. beginning Sept. 10 – and was asked if there are plans to play both quarterbacks, Jake Rudock and Shane Morris, against the Utes.

“I’m not going to look into the crystal ball right now,” Harbaugh said. “I mean, everything’s an option if you talk about could this happen, could that happen, everything’s an option, and you don’t mind your opponent thinking everything’s an option.

“So that’s something that the opponent would have to prepare for, one additional thing an opponent would have to prepare for, so that’s always seemed like a good thing to leave as many options as possible to give yourself and have the opponent feel like they need to prepare for (more).”

Harbaugh took his team into what he called “submarine” mode after meeting with media on Aug. 6 to completely focus on preseason camp for the better part of three weeks. Offensive lineman Kyle Kalis said it was an experience he will someday tell his children about, and Harbaugh said on "The Stoney and Bill Show" the camp was all about football.

“We had like team building and cool activities. We did football,” Harbaugh said. “The meetings, practices, meals, et cetera. They did stay in the dorms and enjoyed each other’ company in a football way.

“I can’t recall being a part of a camp where the players were asked to do more work and did that work and did that with a tremendous focus. It was a good experience. (There are) not a lot of people that enjoy fall camp in football. In a lot of ways that’s the way it should be. If you do enjoy it, there’s probably a pretty good chance you’re not going to be very good. It was a good experience, and now we’re into game week for Utah.”

It will be the first time Harbaugh, hired late last year, will see his team in game action. He told the show he’s eager to see how the team performs.

“I’m looking forward to seeing it as well,” Harbaugh said. “My favorite thing as a coach is to watch the fellas compete. In college football, in particular, it’s the one sport that doesn’t have a preseason. NFL, preseason games, NBA, exhibition games, NHL hockey, college basketball, there’s exhibition games, baseball, spring training, you could go and list about every sport, but college football is the one that doesn’t have a preaseason or an exhibition season, therefore everybody looks forward to that first game to find out where you are, find out where you can improve from, get better at. Where you’re at -- it really signifies this is where we are and then you move forward from there.”

He was asked to describe the strengths of Rudock, a transfer from Iowa where he started the last two seasons, but he spoke about Rudock and his chief competition, Morris.

“I think the biggest strength for both Shane Morris and Jake Rudock is how important it is to them,” Harbaugh said. “Both of them have competed at a high level. It’s been an intense competition. They have the respect of their teammates because they have done that. Most important thing, what’s their biggest strength? That’s been there for both those young men.”