Wojo, Niyo, Angelique and Matt look back at Week 1 of the college football season, and take a glimpse ahead at Week 2. Detroit News
In this week’s Michigan mailbag, there were lots of quarterback questions after the Wolverines’ season-opening victory over Florida. But first let’s address Michigan’s defensive performance.
Question: Do you think Michigan’s defense was that good or was Florida’s offense that bad? -- @brettivrd
Answer: Both, Brett. Florida’s offense has been bad and was bad against the Wolverines. But that should not take away from defensive coordinator Don Brown’s scheme change and how well the players executed. I kept hearing from people who had seen Michigan’s preseason practices that this is a fly-around, get-after-it, extremely athletic defense, including the young secondary. That all was on display in the opener. Certainly you heard Jim Harbaugh call it the fastest defense to the ball that he has seen since he’s been at Michigan. Michigan recovered three fumbles against the Gators versus six all last season -- that impressed me more than the 11 rushing yards the defense held Florida to and the paltry 2-of-13 on third down.
Question: Why is Speight still the starter after 8 turnovers, 52% passing, 166 yds/game in last 4 games? -- @umichjenks
Question: Any concerns over sailing passes coming out of (Speight) for start of second year? It’s not a good trend -- @TonyNam3
Answer: Since both questions are Wilton Speight-related, it seemed best to combine the answer. Yes, Speight has made some glaring errors, but no one has beaten him out, not in the spring and not in preseason camp. It’s as simple as that. Sounds cliché, but Harbaugh is going to play the quarterback (or any player) who gives Michigan the best chance to win, and he obviously thinks that's Speight right now. Harbaugh addressed the high throws during his radio show Monday night. He said he thought Speight may have been pressing to make big plays instead of settling in and making smart decisions. Clearly, he wants Speight to stop throwing high over the middle, because, as Harbaugh said, those balls can hit the arms and hands of the receivers and then fly up in the air and into the hands of a defensive player. Against safeties playing zone, Speight has to keep the ball below the shoulders, Harbaugh said.
Question: Do you foresee Peters getting onto the field at all this season, even if it’s just “mop up” duty? -- @DarrinPollard
Question: Is Brandon Peters really 3rd string? -- @ChuckCarlisle
Answer: Let’s double-up those questions, too. Yes, he is at this stage, Chuck. Doesn’t mean he will stay there. Peters has terrific athleticism, his footwork is very good and his throwing motion is effortless. He’s not a finished product yet in terms of taking the job. That's the bottom line. Now, Darrin, I think he could play Saturday. If the game against Cincinnati goes as I think it will, I might even take a snap.
Question: Why is O’Korn the backup over Peters? Back to last year and last week he does not look to be a capable backup. -- @garrmic10
Answer: Mike, from all accounts, O’Korn responded well to Pep Hamilton’s coaching and made big improvements in camp. He looked rushed last Saturday when he was on the field, but it wasn’t enough time to let him settle down into a game rhythm. I think the question is: How far behind is Peters? No one has really given a solid indication of that. I’m not sure he’s that far off the mark.
Question: Which young player or new starter is going to have a “coming out party” this Saturday? -- @anison
Answer: Jason, I’m going to say Zach Gentry, although I might have said that last week, too. He’s such a mismatch problem for defenders, and again, if this game goes as I think it will, why not get someone like Gentry in there to get comfortable in game-speed action?
Question: Is the right side of the OL going to consist of switching a lot of guys around, or do you think they have the guys but just need experience? -- @bergsma_kim
Answer: No doubt it’s not ideal to keep shifting guys on the offensive line, but if the UM coaches don’t feel like this is the best five, they will. That said, I think they absolutely felt good about Patrick Kugler in his first start at center, and Harbaugh said he graded out best among the linemen. So then there’s Michael Onwenu and Nolan Ulizio on the right side. Both improved as the game went on, but could we see Jon Runyan moving in at guard? Here and there, maybe. But this isn’t like the defensive line where you prefer a rotation, so I imagine Onwenu and Ulizio will gain some confidence against a not-so-great Cincinnati front and Tim Drevno and Greg Frey will stick with this five. Nothing worse for an offensive line than moving guys in and out.
Question: Did Harbaugh speak to Wilton Speight about not supporting his teammates after he got benched?
Answer: I don’t know about the specifics of any Harbaugh-Speight conversations, but he was taken out to get settled and I think the intention was for him to focus on himself at that time.
Question: What is going on with Nico Collins, Zach Gentry, and Kareem Walker? -- @realbeerbarron
Answer: As in, why aren’t they playing? Nico got a late start in camp because of classwork. Zach is a guy Harbaugh has mentioned quite a bit, said he practiced like a “madman” in camp and on Monday said Gentry has really improved as a blocker. What a mismatch he would be. And Kareem, assuming the Cincinnati game is a blowout, will play.
Question: Who is the announcer at home games and what is his full-time job? -- @james_vandecar
Answer: That would be the smooth voice of Carl Grapentine, who hosts a classical music show in Chicago five days a week and then makes the drive to Ann Arbor.
Question: Is someone bringing you Skyline (Chili) on Saturday? -- @RyanAlbers2
Answer: Someone should bring me Skyline as I witness the Bearcats play for the first time in-person since I was in college forever ago. If anyone’s listening, I’d like two cheese coneys, no onions, no mustard. The best!
Question: Can your mom write a weekly article? -- @wezzaljr2
Answer: I think a better alternative is a weekly spot on her favorite network, BTN. I can see it now – “Mom’s All-Cute Team.” Please. Don’t give anyone any ideas.