Michigan's QB battle features clandestine meetings, undercover work

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
John O'Korn

Michigan’s quarterback competition apparently has had layers of secretive, undercover work, featuring behind-the-other’s-back phone calls and secret throwing sessions.

And Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has loved it.

Quarterbacks John O’Korn and Wilton Speight are friends and friendly, but both want the starting job, and their work toward that goal went up a notch in summer workouts.

Michigan has not yet named a starting quarterback with the season opener looming against Hawaii on Sept. 3 at Michigan Stadium.

“The funniest thing that stands out in my mind, I’ve heard some of the stories from the summer, and … it’s pretty competitive in a good healthy way,” said Harbaugh on Sirius XM College Sports, which aired the interview on Wednesday.

“The quarterbacks have been organizing throwing to receivers and they call them on the phone and say, ‘Hey, let’s throw at 5 o’clock,’ and they call the tight ends and get some of the running backs, and they try and not tell the other quarterback.

“There’s a little gamesmanship there. They’re trying to get the edge. I love it, it’s good for our team.”

Harbaugh loved sharing the big secret.

“Wilton was calling one of the receivers who was roommates with O’Korn, and the receiver told O’Korn, and then O’Korn showed up at Wilton’s secret throwing session,” Harbaugh said. “O’Korn wasn’t going to let Wilton get the leg up on him.

“That makes me feel good. That means it’s important to them and they’re serious about being good.”

Tight end Jake Butt told Sirius it took him a while to figure out what was going on with the quarterbacks clandestine throwing sessions.

“I put two and two together they weren’t inviting one another,” Butt said laughing. “But that’s competition. That’s great.”

Receiver Amara Darboh said he and his teammates have been good about not tipping their hand about the quarterback competition.

“It’s going great,” Darboh said. “They’re all competitors to begin with. They’re making smarter decisions, they’re taking care of the ball and making good decisions. You can see them all improve. The timing has been good. We’re going to be very fortunate whoever wins the job, and also we’re going to be fortunate because we’re going to have a backup plan, God forbid, anything happens.”