Michigan Football: Was QB Wilton Speight’s late-game appearance more than a mop-up job?


As many of the 108,000-plus filed out of The Big House Saturday,  Michigan football quarterback Wilton Speight entered the game to apparently salt the game away.

Speight also ran the last few plays (one a kneel down)  against Oregon State, but this time was different.

Michigan led UNLV 28-7 with about three minutes to play when Wolverine starting quarterback Jake Rudock left the field for the final time.

Instead of keeping the ball on the ground and not run up the score, Speight threw three vertical passes down the field.

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Granted, all three passes fell incomplete, but at 6-6, the redshirt freshman saw the field well,  showed more than adequate arm strength and displayed poise and quickness in the pocket.

Now, this is not an endorsement for Speight to take Rudock’s job, but it might solidify him as Michigan’s No. 2 signal caller.

Shane Morris, who battled Rudock during the summer and throughout fall camp for the starting job, began No. 2 as the season opened.

But if Speight has indeed moved up to No. 2 on the depth chart, that could set the stage for Morris to redshirt.

That decision will be made after the season, providing Morris stays off the field.

Rudock Far From Perfect

Head Coach Jim Harbaugh is at least considering it.

“Well, if that’s a possibility,” Harbaugh said at last week’s postgame press conference. “I mean, that…yeah, it’s a consideration. Yes. You don’t know how that’s going to play out. You don’t have a crystal ball.”

Rudock, who started 24 games at Iowa before entering Michigan as a grad-transfer, is still the starting quarterback, despite some fan discontent, five interceptions and his apparent inability to throw the deep ball.

On the plus side, Rudock has thrown for 194 yards per game and tossed three touchdown passes while completing 64.8 percent of his throws

‘He’s our Best’

“To be clear, Jake Rudock’s the best quarterback — not by a small margin,” Harbaugh said at this Monday’s press conference. “He’s our best quarterback, and when it comes to precision of the passing game and timing, that’s something that we’re all working together at, and it’s the responsibility of everyone. I feel it’s divisive when you just pull out one name to just keep hammering; there, there, so hope that’s clear. He’s our best quarterback.”

In any case, Speight appears to be moving up the food chain.

Since he’s just a redshirt freshman, Speight should be around next season to challenge 6-4 transfer John O’Korn, freshmen 6-7  Zach Gentry, 6-2 Alex Malzone and 2016 commits 6-5 Brandon Peters and 6-2 (athlete) Victor Viramontes.

And yes, Morris might be in the mix, too.

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