Michigan football mailbag: What’s next at quarterback for Wolverines?

Have Michigan football questions? We’ve got answers. Join us every Thursday for the Land of 10 Michigan mailbag to talk all things Wolverines. This week, we discuss Michigan’s quarterbacks, any possibility of the return of Jedd Fisch and the future of the offense.

My question is when is the QB whisperer going to get a stable of stud QB’s in AA?

Right now, Michigan will have four quarterbacks in camp next summer: Brandon Peters, Dylan McCaffrey and incoming freshmen Joe Milton and Kevin Doyle. All four are Jim Harbaugh’s recruits. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Alex Malzone announced Wednesday that he will pursue a transfer.

The knock against this group, however, is experience. With the departure of Wilton Speight, Peters is the only quarterback with any substantial college experience, and he is the de facto frontrunner at this point to start next season. Many expect this to be a competition between Peters and McCaffrey, who will redshirt this season. There’s also the question of whether Michigan will throw either Milton or Doyle into the fire.

Another question to chew on: Is Jim Harbaugh really the “quarterback whisperer”? No disrespect to Harbaugh — he’s a huge draw for the quarterbacks who have committed to Michigan and is a wealth of quarterback and football knowledge. But there’s another coach whose time correlated with the most success and productivity of the Wolverines’ quarterbacks:

Jedd Fisch.

Any chance of getting Jedd Fisch back if Pep Hamilton leaves?

This poses so many hypotheticals …

Jedd Fisch left Michigan of his own accord  to become an offensive coordinator in charge of a whole unit, and not one specialized group on offense. Nobody expected him to become UCLA’s interim coach, but that happened after the firing of Jim Mora on Nov. 19. Chip Kelly is now UCLA’s coach, and it remains to be seen if Fisch will stay with the Bruins.

Now it’s a matter of would Fisch want to come back to Michigan? And would Michigan be able to afford him?

There’s a perception right now that there are too many proverbial cooks in the kitchen in Michigan’s offense. Tim Drevno, Pep Hamilton and Jim Harbaugh collaborated on play calling, with Harbaugh getting the final say.

Most teams have quarterbacks coaches, but passing game coordinator is unique to Michigan and a handful of other college football programs, including California, Oregon, Texas, Indiana and Delaware, where former Michigan assistant Erik Campbell now coaches.

Most important, as of Thursday morning, there’s been no movement on Michigan’s staff. It would take an opening on Harbaugh’s staff to make the idea of Fisch returning a possibility.

Do we win this game with Brandon Peters, in your opinion? — Leslie Bret Allen, via Facebook

This question is in reference to Michigan’s 31-20 loss to Ohio State.

Yes and no.

Michigan lost a 14-0 lead and a 20-14 lead. The criticism isn’t just about the quarterback or who it was — it should be about the program’s lack of a killer instinct as a whole.

Part of that equation is putting the right people on the field. Brandon Peters was in no shape to be playing after he was hit Nov. 18 at Wisconsin and sustained a concussion.

Michigan would have won this game had it built upon that 20-14 lead. Instead, the Wolverines folded. The quarterback — in this case, John O’Korn — is part of the equation, but this loss is on Michigan, as a whole; some of Michigan’s players even admitted after the game that they may have gotten complacent. This is becoming problematic in the late season for Michigan. It lost two leads against ranked teams this year and lost leads in its three losses last season.

The quarterback shouldn’t be the primary concern in this loss. The complacency of this team should be.

Will the offense look similar with little to no changes at WR, TE, O line and Peters in QB? — Matt Latham, via Facebook

The variable here will be experience. We’ll find out in the fall whether the lumps Michigan and its younger players took this season will pay dividends in a new schedule. Productivity will define the 2018 offense.

The tight ends (Sean McKeon, Zach Gentry) played well, in part because they were utilized frequently, and the wide receivers basically got on-the-job training. The loss of Tarik Black didn’t help the group and put more pressure on Donovan Peoples-Jones to perform. Michigan’s top receiver was Grant Perry, who finished with 307 yards and a touchdown. But there were so many times when a throw was out of reach of a receiver or grazed off a receiver’s fingertips, or a route couldn’t be completed fast enough. Those things come with experience.

Michigan’s young receivers didn’t have enough time to develop or refine that learning curve with three quarterbacks this season — or even with one. There’s no substitution for live reps, but how well the on-the-field relationships develop on offense during the offseason will factor into the offense’s success next season.

Bonus time!

Here are my ballots for the Football Writers Association of America/National Football Foundation Super 16 poll and the Land of 10 Power Poll. I’ll include the ballots and links to the polls at the end of the mailbag each week.

FWAA/NFF Super 16 ballot Land of 10 Power Poll
1. Auburn 1. Wisconsin
2. Clemson 2. Ohio State
3. Oklahoma 3. Penn State
4. Wisconsin 4. Northwestern
5. Alabama 5. Michigan State
6. Miami (Fla.) 6. Michigan
7. Georgia 7. Iowa
8. TCU 8. Purdue
9. Ohio State 9. Minnesota
10. Penn State 10. Indiana
11. USC 11. Nebraska
12. Washington 12. Rutgers
13. UCF 13. Maryland
14. Oklahoma State 14. Illinois
15. Stanford
16. Notre Dame

Have a question about Michigan football? Tweet us @Landof10Mich and we’ll try to answer your question in a future mailbag. Check to see if your question already was answered by reading previous Michigan football mailbags here.

The post Michigan football mailbag: What’s next at quarterback for Wolverines? appeared first on Land of 10.

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