Matt Gutierrez on Game, Future at U-M

Michigan quarterback Matt Gutierrez was set to be the man leading the Michigan offense before an injury just prior to the 2004 season forced him to hand the reigns over to Chad Henne. The California native spoke briefly with after the Alamo Bowl about the game, and about his future at Michigan.

Quarterback Matt Gutierrez signed with Michigan in February of 2002. He left California with the dream of one day leading one of the most storied college football programs in the country on to the field during the fall Saturday tradition. After a season of mentoring behind long-time starter John Navarre, Gutierrez's dream was set to come true in the fall of 2004. However, shortly before the season began, a practice injury forced the Michigan staff to hand the field general duties to true-freshman Chad Henne, who has remained at the helm since.

Now in his senior year, the possibilities of taking over the team all but gone but his importance to the team is as great as ever -- there being only three scholarship QB's on the roster and the third being a true freshman, Jason Forcier.

The question on everyone's minds is: will Gutierrez graduate and leave Michigan this spring, after his 4th year, leaving the Wolverine's with just two QB's for spring ball? Or, is he returning for one more season?

Gutierrez did not hesitate when asked him after the Alamo Bowl game if he was coming back for his fifth-year. "Yes, I'll be back. Nothing's changed for me, I love Michigan."

About the game, he said, "The game was tough and we made too many mistakes. We just need to take what we can learn from this game and turn it into a positive for next year."

While it is easy to speculate that tension between Henne and Gutierrez could be significant, the 6-foot-4, 232-pound Gutierezz claims nothing could be farther from the truth.

"Chad and I have a great relationship, I consider him a friend and our friendship is constantly growing," he said. "A lot of people may think there is friction between us, but there isn't. I'm here to help him and the team in any way I can."

Spoken like a true Michigan Man.

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