ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- When the dust settled, Maize defeated Blue 14-13 in Michigan's annual spring game Friday evening. But the biggest question heading into the game was obvious -- who would emerge as U-M’s starting quarterback?
And that still may be the case.
However, after Friday’s results, it appears it may be down to a two player race between O’Korn and Speight.
Why? Well, both quarterback led their respective teams on two scoring drives. Both showed good pocket awareness and ran effectively when needed. Most importantly, both made smart decisions with no turnovers and made nice clean throws.
Both had their strengths, and both had their weaknesses. But overall, it appears both are leading the pack heading into U-M’s off-season as Michigan’s possible next starting quarterback.
TMI Evaluations Below
O’Korn had a solid first half. He finished 3-of-5 for 36 yards. He setup Morris on a double quarterback pass, which Morris threw for a nine yard score to a wide-open Drake Johnson.
The bulk of O’Korn’s yardage came on a 30 yard fade pass to Drake Harris on the right sideline. Harris made a nice play and was able to get his foot down for the completion. But it also showed O’Korn’s ability to show touch on deep ball when needed.
O’Korn showed good field awareness with two first down runs in the first half.
He also led Blue on an impressive two minute drive to finish the game. Highlighting when he scrambled right made a few defenders miss then dove for the six yard touchdown. But his late touchdown was set up with key throws down the stretch run. He would finish with seven carries for 28 yards. He also completed 6-of-14 passes for 94 yards.
Overall, it was solid game by O’Korn. He showed good touch with his throws. He made smart decisions. But his best attribute was his ability to make a play with his feet when nothing else was there, which can be any quarterbacks best friend.
Speight had an impressive first half for Maize. He finished 3-for-4 for 31 yards. He made a perfect throw to Jake Butt for a 13 yard touchdown. He looked calm in the pocket and stepped into his throws. His first completion on 14 yard comeback from Grant Perry picked up a key first down, which was one of the better throws of the game.
He would start the second half completing his only two passes, which included a nine yard pass to a crossing Tyrone Wheatley Jr. He would score on a six-yard naked waggle two plays later, capping off his stellar play for the night.
His ability to run showed he could move out of the pocket if needed. He would finish with 19 yards rushing.
Overall, Speight led Maize on two scoring drives. He was calm and cool in the pocket. He made nice solid throws. He was accurate, finishing 5-of-6 for 46 yard and two total touchdowns. He warranted his position as a possible starter this spring.
Morris had an up-and-down performance. He was able to get Blue on the board with double quarterback pass from O’Korn, then he found a wide open Johnson in the end zone for the nine yard touchdown.
Morris was able to rattle off three more completions, highlighting with a first down eight yard strike to Harris.
However, he would miss a wide-open Jack Wangler 40 yards down the sideline by an easy five yards, which would’ve gone for six. He would miss his next three throws right before halftime, ending with a forced interception right before the half by Dymonte Thomas, finishing 4-of-9, for 31 yards and touchdown. He didn’t lineup at quarterback the rest of the night.
Morris’ night was over at quarterback, although he would add a key 25 yard reception from O’Korn on Blue’s final drive.
Overall, Morris made some nice throws and some he wished he had back. Most notably the Wangler fade route, which if had been on the money would have scored easily. After that it seemed like his confidence was shook, making three more bad throws before ending his night with an interception. He is still trying to force the action. He wasn’t able to show enough consistency in his opportunities given on the night. He appears to be the third man in the quarterback competition.
Malzone saw limited action, however, he made the most of it. He would find a crossing Ian Bunting 10 yards down the field for a 49 yard catch and run. Malzone would find Bunting again for a 4 yard first down. Blue’s drive would falter, as Malzone was unable to covert on scramble on fourth and goal. He would finish 2-of-4 passing for 53 yards inhis lone drive under center.
Overall, unlike last year spring game when Malzone had every opportunity to shine, this year he only had the one drive. He was able to connect with Bunting a couple times. Again, he showed some flashes, but the sample size is too small to gauge. It clearly looks like he his behind O’Korn, Speight and Morris in the pecking order.
Peters started two drives, finishing 3-of-6 for 36 yards. His highlight was when he found Zach Gentry for 19 yards completion. He also made some nice check downs, but otherwise didn’t do anything too impressive.
Overall, the early enrollee didn’t look overwhelmed on the field. He’s a calm character, and showed some flashes of why he was so highly regarded out of high school. He still has a lot to learn. But has the time to do it, too.