Morris 'Confident' in Winning Starting Role

Michigan junior Shane Morris says he's embracing the quarterback competition heading into fall camp.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – In June, at Michigan’s quarterback elite camp, Shane Morris told the media U-M’s starting quarterback job was his to lose.

And he had a right to say that, after all, Morris was named the leading candidate for the job after U-M’s spring game by Jim Harbaugh himself.

However, times have changed since Morris last met with media – and for good reason.

Why? Well, Michigan has taken on a few new transfer quarterbacks, including Iowa graduate transfer Jake Rudock, who is expected to be Morris’ main competition for the starting role this fall.

At Michigan’s media day on Thursday, Morris was asked about his overall thoughts on the ongoing quarterback competition between Rudock, the other quarterbacks on the team and himself -- and didn’t back down from his new teammate’s trying to take his job.

“I embrace it with open arms,” Morris said of the quarterback competition. “I welcome it. Competition brings out the best in everyone. No matter what it is, if it’s in the workplace or in school or the football field, competition makes you better. And that’s what I am excited about -- making myself the best quarterback I can be for this team. I’m excited for that.”

Morris, who has yet to throw for touchdown in his U-M career, has stepped it up on and off the field this off-season, too. For example, he has taken it upon himself to setup team practices and 7-on-7 passing leagues, which has been part of his maturation process as a leader.

“Shane has come a long way in a short time,” junior tight end Jake Butt said of Morris. “That speaks volumes about his character. He has made such big strides in trying to become a leader for this offense. I think it’s important, because he’s going to be competing for a job. He’s put himself in a great position to get a shot at that starting spot. Anytime you got a good quarterback as a leader, that’s a good thing for your offense.”

With his newfound leadership, Morris admits he’s now in a positon to win the starting job.

“(I need to) keep doing what I’m doing, never get complacent and work harder everyday,” Morris said. “This summer was huge for me. I got a lot done. I got a lot out of it. I learned a lot. I worked hard, tweaked some things. I’m excited to go into camp. I’m confident in my abilities.”

Adding: “I’m pretty confident I can be the starting quarterback for this team.”

And a big part of that is his work in the classroom and getting in-sync with his receivers, he says.

“A lot more playbook work,” Morris said. “A lot more board work. A lot more working with my wide receivers, helping them get a long, and they’re helping me get a long. They are telling me things about how they see defenses. Just working a lot with those guys throwing extra. (I’m) watching a lot more film. It has really helped me a lot, and I really think it has helped them and everyone on the team.”

We’ll see if all Morris’ extra work has paid off, obviously, if he’s under center when Michigan opens its season at Utah on Sept. 3.

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