Harbaugh Says Spring ‘Valuable’ For Malzone

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said Shane Morris is ahead in the quarterback competition right now, with true freshman Alex Malzone right there. 15 practices into his career, Harbaugh says Malzone’s early entry is very valuable.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Alex Malzone is ahead of the curve.

Just three months after arriving on campus at Michigan a full semester early after three and a half years of high school at Brother Rice (Mich.), Malzone now has 15 football practices under his belt including Saturday’s spring game.

Malzone took every snap for Team Maize in a 7-0 loss to Team Blue and Shane Morris, but as his coach Jim Harbaugh said following the game, the winner and loser of the spring game wasn’t the main focus for Malzone.

“Anything is good for him,” Harbaugh said. “He’s so young, he should be in high school right now and he’s out there competing in 11-on-11 football in a game environment situation.

“That is valuable, valuable type of experience and he did good things; He managed the game, controlled the huddle, made some plays and great experience for him.”

In his senior season at Brother Rice, Malzone threw for 38 touchdowns to just five interceptions.

Saturday, the 2014 Mr. Football in the state of Michigan, completed 15-of-27 pass attempts for 95-yards with two interceptions, also sacked three times.

Despite the mistakes, which also included a botched hand off between him and junior running back De’Veon Smith, Malzone looked like he belonged.

“To play an entire full, spring game as a true freshman, that’s money in the bank,” Harbaugh said. “He has a place to go from, to improve from, it’s a start for him. I’m pleased with his effort and he acquitted himself well.”

While many will focus on Saturday’s spring game performance because it was the only time the public will have a chance to lay eyes on Malzone leading up to fall camp this August.

For Harbaugh though, the focus is on the full picture including all 15 spring practices, two months of strong developmental moments for the freshman.

“He’s gotten a lot of reps, a lot of football and today he got an entire 40 minute game as a starting quarterback,” Harbaugh said. “And that is really valuable. That’s a starting point, that is a place to improve from, to get better from and really valuable.

“He’s had some real good moments in the spring and today it was a real valuable point in his career. I think he’ll learn and get better from this.”

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