Dienhart: Four observations from Michigan's spring game
Year Two under Jim Harbaugh gained more momentum with the spring game on Friday. And, excitement continues to grow coming off a 10-win debut for Harbaugh. But questions loom for a Michigan program that is looking for its first Big Ten title since 2004.
Here are four observations.
1. It looks like Wilton Speight—yes, Wilton Speight—has emerged as the leader in the quarterback race to replace Jake Rudock. The 6-6 Speight engineered two TD drives to lead his squad to victory in the spring game. The sophomore hit 5-of-6 passes for 46 yards with a scoring toss to star tight end Jake Butt. Speight also rambled six yards for a TD. He flashed ability last year when he led the Wolverines to a huge fourth-quarter touchdown drive in a scintillating victory at Minnesota. Still, stay tuned. This was perceived to be John O’Korn’s job to lose after he transferred from Houston and sat out last year. And, it still may be O’Korn’s gig. But, he’s gonna have to fight for it. The other competitor, Shane Morris, spent time at receiver, due to injuries at the position, and he held his own. Know this: Jim Harbaugh loves competition, and he has a good one at quarterback. Bring it on.
2. Running back Ty Isaac looks good. He was a high-profile transfer from USC, arriving before the 2014 season with a fat scrapbook. But Isaac didn’t impress in 2015 after sitting out. But the junior has lost weight and looked good in the spring game. The 6-3, 228-pounder rushed 10 times for 84 yards and may push projected No. 1 back De’Veon Smith. Maybe. At the least, Isaac looks to be a factor in the backfield after fizzling last season.
3. The defense looks VERY good. Corner Jourdan Lewis and safety/linebacker Jabrill Peppers are All-Americans. The line could be the best in the nation led by Chris Wormley and Ryan Glasgow, able to go eight deep. And just wait until Rashan Gary—the No. 1 recruit in the nation–shows up. Gary was in attendance and drew a huge ovation. This will be a monster front. There is experience at safety, with linebacker the one area to watch. Bottom line: This will be an exceptional defense, one of the best in the nation under new coordinator Don Brown.
4. Michigan will have one of the best collections of tight ends in the Big Ten. You know all about Jake Butt, but there’s also Tyrone Wheatley, Jr., Ian Bunting and Zach Gentry. A nice safety blanket for the new quarterback, right?
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