Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight says his first season in Ann Arbor was a struggle, that's when Jim Harbauigh challenged him.

Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight says his first season in Ann Arbor was a struggle, that's when Jim Harbauigh challenged him.

Wilton Speight's Michigan career didn't exactly get off to the start he envisioned.

Originally committing to Brady Hoke and offensive coordinator Al Borges, by the time Speight arrived in Ann Arbor, Doug Nussmeier had taken over the offense and the hot seat was nearly on fire for Hoke.

Taking a redshirt season, Speight wasn't exactly preparing as though he'd be the starter one day for the Wolverines.

"In terms of meetings and stuff, I didn't really know any of the game plan with Nussmeier," Speight said. "I was the scout team quarterback so I wasn't really as invested in what was going on every week. 

"I just didn't really know and I think that happens with a lot of people when they go through their redshirt year. Just checked out a little bit but I was able to check back in pretty quickly."

In the spring of 2015 when Harbaugh and his coaching staff took the field with Michigan for the first time in a practice setting, the experience was eye opening.

Speight quickly realized some things needed to change and although he adjusted a great deal, it was still as challenging a spring football season as any he'd experienced.

"That whole spring was rough, I tore my groin, wasn't able to perform the way I wanted to but still practiced every practice," Speight said. 

"And I came out really low on the depth chart so there was some really hard self evaluation in talking with Coach Fisch and Coach Harbaugh. They just if you want this, you've got to work a little harder and that's what I did."

One moment that brought Speight's struggles and process to the forefront came when an HBO special aired on Jim Harbaugh.

In the video, a clearly frustrated Harbaugh is shown swearing at and telling a quarterback to leave if he didn't like what was being said.

That "eight foot tall" quarterback, as Speight put it, ended up hearing plenty about the special.

"I didn't watch it until people blew up my phone," he said. "My parents thought it was funny and said you probably deserved that. I saw that and I saw they kind of blurred out my number but it was funny."

Speight says every player dealt with some sort of criticism and tough love throughout that first spring, the coaching staff clearly looking to come in with a pro football mentality.

While the tough coaching was spread all about, Speight did add there's a few exceptions to that rule.

"Everyone gets it at one point or the other," he said. "Maybe Andrew Luck, I don't think Andrew Luck ever got anything. He seemed to have been the perfect football player. 

"From his old teammates and from coach. And not Mrs. Harbaugh but I think everybody else will get that stern talking to at some point."


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