Ann Arbor -- With Michigan’s season opener a week away, Jim Harbaugh is not interested in giving away secrets.
Not to media.
Not to the fans.
Not to – especially, not to – Utah.
Michigan plays at Utah in a prime-time game next Thursday, but because the Utes aren’t releasing a depth chart until Monday, Harbaugh, who met with media on Thursday for the first time since Aug. 6, said the Wolverines will keep theirs under wraps until then.
And even then, Michigan depth charts in the past have been part fiction.
“I was informed our competition for Thursday night’s ball game, Utah, would be sending us their official depth chart Monday, and in the interest of fair, healthy competition, we will also send our depth chart on Monday, as well,” Harbaugh said.
No one has ever confused a Michigan depth chart as a decisive document of who will be the starters, so who will be listed 1-2-3 at quarterback might be in order. Or they might not be. Or they might have an “or” in between.
The biggest question for weeks has been who will start at quarterback, junior Shane Morris, with limited game experience, or graduate transfer Jake Rudock, a two-year starter at Iowa.
“Everybody probably knows who it is,” offensive lineman Kyle Kalis said, smiling on Thursday.
Logic says the edge likely goes to Rudock, who was second in the Big Ten last season in completion percentage (61.7 percent) and had 16 touchdowns to five interceptions. Morris, who emerged from spring practice, before Rudock had transferred, as the frontrunner, has made two career starts. The strong-armed lefty has said repeatedly the starting job has been his to lose.
“Both have been very, very impressive, very competitive,” Harbaugh said of the quarterbacks. “Both have a competitive demeanor. Every day is important to them, and I say that’s the thing most impressive about both of those youngsters is how important it is to them.
“Like a lot of positions, some positions are very close, some are closer than others, some are still being competed for and some positions there are individuals that are ahead. The kick position is very tight right now and still playing out. Some positions may continue into the ball game. We’re getting a good idea at least whether it’s even, close or someone’s ahead at this point.”
Harbaugh didn’t make clear the depth chart, when released, will clear up the quarterback situation. First he said he would rank them, and then was asked about Michigan’s previous tendency to place an “or” between players.
“That’s a possibility,” he said.
Rudock and Morris will meet with media after practice on Friday.
“To the team, yeah (they will know early enough who’s the starter),” Harbaugh said. “(This competition) is something that’s been ongoing and takes place on the team. They’ll know, and they do know (this position battle) has been tight, close.”