Jim Harbaugh stood by Wilton Speight as his starting quarterback leading up to Saturday’s contest, but his offense, specifically the passing game, was hardly visible once again in the Wolverines’ 29-13 victory.
Speight barely completed 60 percent of his passes against Air Force, yet it was his most efficient statistical performance of the season. He still isn’t moving his team down the field with any regularity, and has just three touchdowns in three games.
Michigan got away with substandard quarterback play Saturday, just like it did against Cincinnati last week and the even more offensively inept Florida the week before that. But these performances aren’t going to get it done against tougher competition.
The Maize and Blue are now 3-0, and, with Purdue on deck, will probably move to 4-0 next week. However, if the Wolverines are to truly contend for a national championship this year, something on offense must change.
Many in Ann Arbor have clamored for Harbaugh to switch quarterbacks, but the solution to solving his offensive woes isn’t so simple.
There’s no guarantee that either of Speight’s backups – John O’Korn and Brandon Peters – will be better than him. In fact, they probably won’t be, which explains why Harbaugh – who showed he isn’t married to Speight by declaring an open quarterback competition to open fall camp – has stubbornly stuck with his embattled senior.
A quarterback switch may wind up being the answer, but it may not be. Maybe it’s the play-calling, or the conservative approach, or the system, or the absence of a go-to receiver, or the offensive line that has to change. Whatever it is, it’s on Harbaugh to figure it out.
Defense, special teams, and a solid – if unspectacular – running game can win Michigan a lot of games. But not the big ones – the ones the Wolverines want to play in at the end of the year.
And at this point, with the offense sputtering the way it is, it could take a miracle for Michigan to find itself in those games.
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Source: The Score