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UM quarterback riddle not likely to be solved soon

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Ann Arbor — The biggest question during Michigan’s spring practice, who will emerge as the leader at quarterback, will remain largely unanswered for a while, it seems.

And by a while, that probably means into preseason camp, perhaps even up to kickoff of the opener.

The Wolverines are a third of the way through spring drills, which culminates April 4 with a spring game at Michigan Stadium. The format, coach Jim Harbaugh said, remains undecided, but his preference is that they will play a game, with a team draft.

While it may still be too early five practices in to make personnel decisions, Harbaugh has remained consistent offering little insight into the quarterback job.

There are three scholarship players practicing, Shane Morris, Wilton Speight and early enrollee freshman Alex Malzone.

While Harbaugh has made clear since Day 1 of the spring that all the quarterbacks participating will have plenty of action in practice, he did say Friday the reps are not evenly divided. The suggestion is those three are getting the bulk of the reps.

Harbaugh, speaking to reporters before the first day of the two-day Michigan coaching clinic at which his older brother, John, the Baltimore Ravens coach, spoke, said he’s not divulging whether there’s a pecking order at quarterback.

“We’re still working on that,” Harbaugh said. “I’m not going to put a label on anybody at that position. Every day you get to know each player better. We’re making strides every day. They’re doing a lot of little things better and better each day, and they’re really into it. They all want to be good.”

O-line anchor

With Jack Miller’s decision this week to leave the team to pursue business opportunities, the Wolverines are without their returning starting center.

Miller started every game last season, but Graham Glasgow, who started at center most of the 2013 season before moving to guard, has been working at center.

“Glasgow’s doing a real nice job,” Harbaugh said. “He’s been a tough, steady player, and we have others competing at that position as well.”

Harbaugh said he appreciated Miller’s “honesty” regarding his decision to leave and not play his fifth year for the Wolverines.

“I have a level of respect for what he had to say, finishing his education and moving on, some job opportunities he has, and he wanted to pursue that,” Harbaugh said. “You always appreciate the honesty.”

Crazy week

Harbaugh was busy last week, stopping with staffer Jim Minick, a former Marine, on I-94 to assist to car accident victims. Harbaugh was on his way to a flight to the West Coast, and a few days later he was coaching first base for the Oakland A’s in spring training.

Obviously, he said, that was not a typical week.

“I’ve never been a first-base coach for a Major League Baseball team,” Harbaugh said. “That was a first. So that would not be typical, no. And the other thing, that was a horrible accident. Just really very happy and thankful that both the passengers and the dog are alive and really came out pretty darn well.”

He and Minick helped the accident victims, called for EMS assistance and covered the two with coats to stay warm.

Culture shock

Michigan players said Thursday after practice that they initially were shocked by the four-hour spring practices Harbaugh is putting them through.

Harbaugh said he’s not doing this to test their endurance, but is taking the meeting-room learning onto the field.

“One way we’ve found the balance is that part of that time is meeting on the field,” Harbaugh said. “It’s class on the grass.”

Praising Peppers

Defensive back Jabrill Peppers arrived last season as a highly acclaimed freshman, but early season injuries knocked him out for the year, and he was granted a medical redshirt.

Harbaugh said the safety has impressed him in practices, namely his desire to get as many reps as possible.

“He really likes football,” Harbaugh said. “He really likes competing. That has stood out foremost in my mind.”