Jake Butt: UM quarterback battle is ‘heated’

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Jake Butt

The Big Ten Network on Wednesday provided the lone communication in nearly two weeks since Michigan began preseason camp under coach Jim Harbaugh.

Tight end Jake Butt told BTN the quarterback competition between Shane Morris and Jake Rudock is fierce. He referred to Morris and his “canon arm” and Rudock’s experience having been a two-year starter at Iowa.

“It’s a heated battle every single day,” Butt said during the show that aired Wednesday night. “You see them try to sit in the front row every single meeting, always trying to get an edge on each other.”

Morris, who is on his third offense in three years at Michigan, might have had a slight edge in practice on Wednesday, according to BTN analyst Gerry DiNardo, but it sounds like it is a neck-and-neck competition and a decision has not yet been reached in advance of the season opener at Utah on Sept. 3.

Rudock said the starter will be the quarterback who “will move the chains” and Morris said he will be the one who has the best understanding of the offense and, clearly, “who’s playing the best.”

Both were asked what’s best and worst about playing for a coach who played quarterback.

“High expectations can go both ways,” Morris said. “High expectations for us, and that’s an awesome thing we’re excited about it, but that’s also the worst too, because we’re coming in Harbaugh’s first year, a lot of people are looking at him as the savior of the school and that’s a lot on his shoulders and a lot on our shoulders as a team. But we’ve got to forget about that and focus on Utah and work one week at a time.”

Rudock said Harbaugh and all the coaches are working to make them better.

“He really wants you to be great,” Rudock said. “It’s hard sometimes because you’ve got someone always in your ear, but you have to understand it’s always with the best intention. It’s always about having the team first, like how can we better the team and not get caught up in ‘Oh, he’s attacking me.’ No, he’s trying to make us better.”

Senior linebacker Joe Bolden has been around Ann Arbor for a few preseason camps, and he told BTN that this one has been different because the team no longer stays in a hotel. They’ve been staying in the dorms in South Quad on the campus without, as Bolden pointed out, air conditioning.