ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Pep Hamilton won’t answer the obvious question.
“Who’s your quarterback?” a reporter asked Michigan’s passing game coordinator Wednesday afternoon.
“We have several,” Hamilton answered.
“Who’s the starter?” another media member asked.
“We have, potentially, several,” Hamilton quipped.
Hamilton didn’t look worried. But the first-year coordinator wasn’t about to give an update on the competition between “several” quarterbacks to become Michigan’s starter on Sept. 2 in its season opener against Florida.
Instead, Michigan’s first-year passing game coordinator used a form of misdirection. Hamilton mapped out what needs to be done to win the starting job, whether the winner is Wilton Speight, Brandon Peters or John O’Korn:
- Execute at a high level.
- Score every time Michigan has possession of the ball.
- Manage bad plays when a play breaks down.
The player who does that, Hamilton explained, is the one who will emerge as Michigan’s leader on offense.
Hamilton has seen growth in Michigan’s quarterbacks as a result of that pursuit.
“They have more ownership of the offense,” said Hamilton, who joined the Wolverines in January after coaching last fall with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns. “They’ve done a better job of recognizing certain defensive looks. The timing of the passing game, there’s marked improvements in the overall passing game. Their ability to manage the game has improved, and manage our offense, should I say, has improved.”
And he couldn’t help but to gush about true freshman Dylan McCaffrey.
“He’s a smart kid,” Hamilton said. “His football I.Q. is of the chart. It’s really what you would expect from a kid that grew up in a football family, and he’s been very impressive, up until this point.”
Again, no decision has been made public as to who will be Michigan’s starter. Coach Jim Harbaugh, Hamilton and Michigan’s staff either has a choice to make, or it’s already been made. Neither Hamilton nor the coaching staff at Michigan will give much, if anything, away.
Every year that Harbaugh has coached at Michigan, his program has had a competition for its starting quarterback job. Shane Morris vs. Jake Rudock in 2015. Speight vs. O’Korn in 2016. An excess of riches can be a good thing for competition, but there’s also a choice that needs to be made.
Hamilton didn’t offer as much as a timeline as to when that decision will be made. Instead, he offered a word of caution.
“There’s still a long way to go, and there’s still a lot of practices ahead of us,” Hamilton said. “And there’s still a lot of work for us to do.”
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