When it comes to football, quarterbacks get most of the attention because they are the players responsible for getting the ball to the right people and helping their teams score. Before he signed with Michigan, Jim Harbaugh had a lot of success with quarterbacks, which is why his quarterback will be the most scrutinized in college football this year. After a successful first season in Ann Harbor, Harbaugh’s Michigan has one of the best online college football odds of winning the national championship.
Last season, Jake Rudock, the transfer graduate student from Iowa was named the starting quarterback by Harbaugh, and while he struggled during the first few weeks of the season, fans were calling for his head. Rudock eventually got things going and led the Wolverines to a bowl win over Florida, and went from being a journeyman quarterback to being drafted in the NFL.
This season, Harbaugh has to work his quarterback magic with another player, but he hasn’t decided if Wilton Speight or John O’Korn will be his starting quarterback.
Regardless of who Harbaugh picks, the Michigan quarterbacks will be under a lot of pressure this year because the team has national championship aspirations. Last season, Rudock felt some pressure, but it wasn’t as much because nobody expected the Wolverines to compete for the national championship last season, which was Harbaugh’s first season.
After a 10 win season that almost included a win over rivals Michigan State, expectations in Ann Harbor are through the roof this season. Fortunately for the Wolverines, Harbaugh was able to get Rudock ready to play in just one offseason. Since Speight and O’Korn have been on the team for a year, they will be better prepared to handle the responsibilities of being the Wolverines starter, and will also be more familiar with the playbook than Rudock was.
Since both quarterbacks are familiar with the playbook, there will be no room for error because the Wolverines are already ranked in the top 5, and a loss will hurt their chances of making the college football playoffs.
Fortunately for the young signal callers, Jim Harbaugh always tries to put his quarterbacks in the best possible situation. Last season, the Wolverines were one of the top running teams in the league, and their ability to run the ball well made things easier on Rudock.
This year, expect Harbaugh to do the same and run the ball a lot until his quarterback is ready to take control of the offense, and once he is ready, the Wolverines will be very confident about their chances of winning the national championship.
After spring training was over, both Speight and O’Korn said they had learnt a lot of things from passing coordinator Jedd Fisch, whom Speight credits for helping him both physically and mentally.
Harbaugh, who played quarterback for the Wolverines under legendary coach Bo Schembechler, before a 14 year career in the NFL, came back to his alma mater to achieve one thing, which is winning the national championship.
However, as great a coach as Harbaugh is, he has a tendency of leaving teams after three or four years on the job, which means the window for the Wolverines to win a national championship isn’t very big, so the team needs to take advantage of it and win it all this year.