Rick Osentoski - USA Today

Jim Harbaugh 'rooting' for his QB options, excited for competition

Jim Harbaugh discusses the quarterback competition during a surprise appearance on WTKA 1050.

With Wilton Speight winning the starting quarterback role last season, he knows better than anyone that no starting position is ever safe under Jim Harbaugh, nothing is ever guaranteed.

That's why Speight and the rest of the quarterbacks will be vying for the coveted position when practice begins for Michigan at the end of July. Until then, it'll be up to the quarterbacks to practice on their own as they are not allowed to be coached due to NCAA rules.

Harbaugh, who made a surprise appearance on WTKA 1050's The Michigan Insider show Thursday morning, echoed the sentiments that the best player for the job will win it, regardless of prior starting experience.

"It's a meritocracy by your talent and effort you will be known," Harbaugh said. "We're going to have the month of June and the month of July to give a chance for the quarterbacks to get better. The quarterback position can improve over the summer, similar to the kickers and the punters. A quarterback can go out and get better by himself. Throwing into a net, doing drops and add in some receivers to throw to, you can do a lot of improvement over the summer. Just like a kicker can go out and punt and kick, just needs a bag of balls. Improvement can be made over the summer and it will be a fair competition starting July 31st, our first day of practice.

"We'll throw the balls out there, it's been my experience that it takes 10 to 14 days to really get clear separation to find the guy that will be best for us leading our team as a number then. There will be a backup and a third guy as well."

When it comes to players he wants to see win the starting job, don't expect Harbaugh to name just one. In the spirit of competition, it's obvious that Harbaugh hopes one of the three major quarterbacks on roster emerges as the starter. With only one ball to throw, the race to the finish will be fierce.

Luckily for the program, it has options.

"Personally, I want Wilton Speight to be the starting quarterback," Harbaugh said. "Personally, I want John O'Korn to be the starting quarterback. Personally, I want Brandon Peters to be the starting quarterback. I am rooting for all of those three guys to be the starter, because they want it so bad. There's only one ball and only one can play at a time. I'm going to coach those guys, give them everything that we've got. Pep Hamilton is going to coach them and give them everything that he's got. Dylan McCaffrey will be in the mix, Alex Malzone missed all of spring so he's going to be behind. Mike Sessa, those are our guys and the three at the top have the greatest chance of winning the job during the first two weeks of training camp. It's exciting, it'll be good for our team because of the others. O'Korn and Peters were really able to raise their game and show signs that they could be really good players."


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