The Wolverine

June/July 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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JUNE/JULY 2017 THE WOLVERINE 15   INSIDE MICHIGAN ATHLETICS Michigan's spring game took place inside The Big House April 15 and immediately after, fans and media members began to wonder if redshirt junior Wilton Speight's position on the depth chart is safe. Redshirt freshman Brandon Peters outshined Speight for most of the day and came out looking like the better quarterback. Speight started for the Blue team and finished the day 9-of-26 passing for 78 yards with two interceptions. Peters led the passing attack for the Maize team, completing 9 of 17 throws for 160 yards and pick of his own while rushing for a 12-yard touchdown. He also engineered the drive that put the Maize squad in position to win 31-29 on a 31-yard field goal from Kyle Seychel as time expired. With several months until the 2017 regular season begins, who should be under center Sept. 2? Peters Is More Dynamic By Brandon Brown At 6-5, 216 pounds and with plus athleticism, Brandon Peters looks like he's moments away from becoming a stellar college quarterback. During the spring game, it was quite apparent that he has more arm talent than Wilton Speight; he also showed that he has more mobility as well. While he continues to learn the offense and how to consistently take care of the football — areas where Speight has the overall advantage — he'll have more physical tools than Speight and should make for a more dynamic option. With Peters at the helm, the playbook expands because of his ability to run and break tackles. He's not going to bust off a 4.4 40-yard dash time, but he's a big-time athlete and could easily keep defenses honest when the play breaks down or in designed quarterback runs or zone-read type plays. At the end of the day, Peters has more upside and takes Michigan's offense from being solid and well executed to a big-play, quick-strike type of attack. One Day Doesn't Make A Season By John Borton Wilton Speight didn't forget how to play quarterback this spring, despite the fact that he's still learning under Jim Har- baugh and now Pep Hamilton. He experienced a tough day at the spring game, but a lot of good days in 2016. Speight helped Michigan average 40.3 points per game last fall, its highest scoring average since Fielding H. Yost was overseeing the Point-A-Minute era. Sure, he had a lot of help, but nobody piles up points like that without the quarterback executing at a high level. He completed 61.6 percent of his passes, with 18 touchdown tosses compared to just seven interceptions. Peters looks very good on throws, but there's more to play- ing quarterback than showing off a strong arm — just ask former Wolverine signal-caller Brian Griese. Speight took very good care of the football until the final game of the regular season, and it's clear he wasn't playing at 100 per- cent physically in that one. Speight commands the huddle, makes the reads, executes the checks and knows precisely what Harbaugh expects in every situation. He's been in the fire at Michigan State, Iowa and Ohio State, and that's no small consideration. Does he have to perform better than he did in an offen- sive-constrained public exhibition at the end of spring practice? No doubt. But it says here he will. POINT ❙ COUNTERPOINT SHOULD WILTON SPEIGHT OR BRANDON PETERS BE THE STARTER AT QUARTERBACK? Peters was ranked as the nation's No. 6 pro-style quarterback and No. 158 overall prospect nationally coming out of Avon (Ind.) High in the class of 2016. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN Speight earned All-Big Ten third-team honors from both the media and coaches last year while throwing for 2,538 yards and 18 touch- downs against seven interceptions. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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