Harbaugh won't budge on publicly naming QB

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
John O'Korn

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is not budging as far as publicly naming the Wolverines’ starting quarterback in advance of season opener against Hawaii on Saturday.

Harbaugh, who said Monday at his weekly news conference, that the quarterbacks have been informed, was asked on the Big Ten conference call today about the starter. Wilton Speight, John O’Korn and Shane Morris have competed for the starting job.

“The quarterbacks know and the team knows, but we’re not (sharing) that for public consumption,” Harbaugh said.

He did say the number of freshmen who have worked their way into the two-deep continues to increase.

“If we’re predicting how many are going to play this season, the number is growing,” Harbaugh said. “For instance, a week and a half, two weeks ago it might have been eight and then I can see just forecasting ahead it was 10 then 12.

“As I re-looked at it yesterday, it could be up there in size 15 or more. The way it’s been trending, as the true freshmen are really getting caught up on the playbook, on the scheme, on their assignments, they’re really asserting themselves more. And their confidence has grown. It’s all been through preparation and on-field work and showing what their talent is.”

Harbaugh was asked on the call by a reporter from Hawaii whether he would consider having the Wolverines play a game at Hawaii.

“Yeah, sure and have done it,” Harbaugh said, mentioning his 1986 team played in Aloha Stadium. “We’d definitely consider that.”

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Michigan also played at Hawaii in 1998.

Harbaugh also will entertain what is an apparent one-on-one quarterback challenge from Hawaii coach Nick Rolovich based on another question from a Hawaii-based reporter.

Rolovich played quarterback at Hawaii and Harbaugh played the position at Michigan. The two staffs worked a satellite camp in Hawaii this summer, and Harbaugh and Rolovich spent a lot of time working various drills together.

“Interesting. Let’s see what he has in mind,” Harbaugh, on the conference call, said sounding enthused by the idea of another competition. “I’d be glad to talk to Nick about that. It kind of sounds like a challenge, huh?”

Mum is the word

So the Michigan quarterbacks know who will start on Saturday, and Harbaugh said the players know.

Asked Tuesday about the quarterbacks, offensive lineman Kyle Kalis joked that while O’Korn and Speight have had a good competition, the Day 1 starter will be … offensive lineman Erik Magnuson.

Throughout camp, the players have said Magnuson would win the job. He even posted on Instagram a photo of himself in a quarterback pose declaring himself the starter.

Kalis admitted the staff has told the players not to leak the name of the starter.

“Yeah, they’ve told us that,” Kalis said.