ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Wilton Speight came onto the scene with the odds against him. When Jake Rudock went down with an injury against Minnesota a year ago, Speight was forced into action to play the most meaningful minutes of his young collegiate football year. After leading the Wolverines to victory, he earned the right to be named the back up quarterback behind Rudock.
Now, heading into the spring, he's playing for the right to be named starter.
The competition is heating up with Shane Morris, John O'Korn and Speight competing for the number one spot. After practice at Ford Field over the weekend, U-M head coach Jim Harbaugh said that the quarterback position is still a position of heavy competition and every contender has made a major mistake.
For Speight, he says he needs to work on the little things if he wants to win the job.
"That's obviously the biggest thing right now is making the least amount of mistakes as possible," Speight said. "I'm not sure if mine is so much turning the ball over or just monumental mistakes as much as the little things. Converting a third and four, converting a third and six or something like that where it's easy. You can do it, you can fix it, you just have to focus. That's the biggest thing for me is focusing and knowing I can do it, not turning the ball over on downs and the other team gets the ball."
Eventually, a quarterback will have to stand out and start leading the pack somewhere down the road. Luckily for all three contenders, there's still a fall camp to go through before the competition can really be considered over.
Speight, however, does see himself excelling in areas where the other quarterbacks aren't. A point system in practice sees Speight out ahead of the rest of pack right now.
"As far as moving the ball down the field in two minute drills and stuff like that," Speight said. "They keep a point system and looking at the stats I guess that's where I kind of distance myself. I think all three of us are working really hard and doing the best we can to lead the team and earn that starting job."
Harbaugh himself said over the weekend that the quarterback competition is all about who can lead the team on the football field. With Rudock gone, the next man up certainly has some fairly large shoes to fill.
According to Speight, leading the team means more than just taking the reigns of the football field. Being a leader in life is also incredibly important, too.
"I think Coach (Harbaugh) is all about on the field production," Speight said. "Obviously at the quarterback position you've got to lead off the field, in the classroom and up on campus. It's not just a position that requires you to dominate between the yard lines. Just do everything and every facet of your life the right way."