Friday, August 1, 2014

2014 Season Countdown: #25 Shane Morris

Shane Morris
Name: Shane Morris
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 204 lbs.
High school: Warren (MI) De La Salle
Position: Quarterback
Class: Sophomore
Jersey number: #7
Last year: I ranked Morris #44 and said he would be the backup quarterback. He started one game, played in five games total, and was 29/47 (62%) for 261 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. He also ran 6 times for 40 yards.

Morris had the type of season one would expect from a freshman backup quarterback. He looked promising at times, and he looked embarrassingly unprepared at others. He saw his first action in week one against Central Michigan, going 4/6 for 59 yards and 1 pick after Michigan had a substantial lead. His next notable amount of play came against Michigan State, which went poorly for everyone; after starter Devin Gardner was beaten up sufficiently to exit the game, Morris went 1/3 for 6 yards and when a lane opened up for him to scramble, he slipped on the wet field and face-planted. He didn't see notable time again until the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, which he started due to Gardner's foot injury. Morris finished that game 24/38 for 196 yards and 1 interception, plus 4 carries for 43 yards (including a 40-yard quarterback draw).

Some people are insisting that there's a quarterback controversy at Michigan between Gardner and Morris. I do not believe that for one second. I think Morris is good enough to push Gardner, but that doesn't mean there are questions about which one is better right now. Gardner has been starting at Michigan for the better part of the last 1.5 years, he has set records as a passer, and he's one of the top few athletes at the quarterback position in the country. Last year he was bogged down by poor decision-making in the first half of the year, but at no point has Morris looked superior. Morris has a cannon for an arm, better athleticism than many expect, and seems like a pretty solid decision-maker. He does, however, need to work on his accuracy and reading of defenses, both of which will probably be helped by new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Doug Nussmeier. Like most backup quarterbacks, I don't think Morris will play much expect for in garbage time or if Gardner gets injured again, but he's the best option and ahead of redshirt junior Russell Bellomy and freshman Wilton Speight.

Prediction: Backup quarterback


  1. I'm pretty sure Shane did not enroll early

    1. Fixed. I was thinking of Speight when I wrote that part, and even typed in "Wilton Speight Michigan" when searching for an image. That's what I get for starting the post when I was groggy.

  2. I am 100 percent sure he did not enroll early since I had him in class at DLS.

  3. Backup QB is more of a competition than starter. I'd rank Shane a lot lower because I don't think he has differentiated himself from the other backups. Last year, we saw some nice potential, but we also saw the coaching staff terrified to put him into remotely risky situations and the offense didn't move with him at the helm. Of course, it also didn't move with Gardner at the helm at times, but the dropoff was enormous.

    My gut feel a year ago was that Speight would eventually surpass Morris, but hopefully Gardner is healthy this year and Speight gets to red-shirt. I also think Bellomy is better than 90% of Mich fans think. I think people are seeing what they WANT to see in Morris. If he came in with 3-star hype and delivered that performance against KSU, most people would be talking about how sure they are that Speight would pass him.

    Next year's QB competition should be very interesting.

    1. I think you are completely and totally wrong about Morris, Bellomy, and the backup QB situation entirely. Bellomy was terrible whenever we saw him, and the coaches were just as terrified (if not more so) to put him in the game - he only played when Denard Robinson got hurt, and he was benched in favor of a wide receiver (Gardner) at the time.

      You also overestimate the KSU performance. The kid was 24/38 for 196 yards and 1 interception with no running game against a pretty solid defense. Did he have a couple easy completions on touch passes? Sure. Every offense tries to build in easy completions (screens, bubbles, bootlegs, etc.), and spread teams at Oklahoma State, West Virginia, and all over the country run those types of plays. Make him 22/36 or 21/35 if you want. You're still ignoring the context (first start, no running game, a Bill Snyder defense, etc.).

      If a 3-star kid came in and gave that performance in that context, I think Michigan fans would be satisfied or excited.

    2. BTW, I mean "overestimate" as in pay too much attention to it.

    3. Yeah. Bellomy was absolutely terrible. Should've left him at Purdon't. No excuse to play that bad as a redshirt freshman (or at any level). I highly doubt that Bellomy gets to play even ahead of Speight. Let's say both Gardner and Morris are injured. I think we'll see Speight play before Bellomy.

    4. I'm sorry if this comes off as rude, but I'm really sick and tired of hearing and seeing people rip on Bellomy. No, he may not be good enough to start or even be a backup on a BCS caliber team, but he has got a lot of shit for the Nebraska game. For starters, Al Borges and Brady Hoke should have properly planned for a situation similar to what happened on October 27th and they shouldn't have left Bellomy in the game for as long as they did. Part of the fault definitely goes to Bellomy for completely underachieving, but he received non-stop criticism on twitter for a few weeks after that football game, posters on football blogs constantly bashing him. I remember a guy that wouldn't stop tweeting Bellomy, who looked to be about 40 in his twitter profile picture and asked him to transfer, and Bellomy said something along the lines of "no, I want to get my degree from the University of Michigan, I'm not transferring." Great response, he shouldn't have to deal with everyone hating on him.

    5. I could be wrong, I'm just saying I haven't been convinced one way or the other.

      I think we as fans are quick to draw conclusions from limited game action.

      The coaches were confident enough in Bellomy to move Gardner to WR. That was obviously stupid, but I see it as a bit of evidence that Bellomy is not nearly as terrible as he looked. It's a lot tougher when you are dropped into a game without being prepared. Shane looked awful against MSU too.

      No one is arguing Bellomy looked good against Nebraska, but there is a context there. I think fans are overestimating the Nebraska game because it was such a staggeringly awful performance. I don't think it is a totally fair representation of his abilities. It was him at his worst.

      I'm not going to pretend that game didn't happen. What we saw there was awful from Bellomy. But the next season Gardner looked terrible against them too, and he wasn't expecting to keep his helmet off the entire game. One bad game, one AWFUL game, does not make somebody a bad QB.

      For Morris, it's not the easy passes that bug me, those are basically irrelevant. It was the team's inability to move the ball with Morris at the helm. Same offense that ran up and down the field against OSU looked horrible against KSU and the big difference was QB. I don't care what the completion percentage says, it was inept. They moved the ball on the first 2 drives thanks to gimmicks, and then were totally shut down. That inconsistency was Borges' MO, but I don't see why I'm supposed to think that performance was a good one by Morris. 5 yards per attempt is awful. KSU's defense was not bad, but they were not good enough to justify 5 ypa and a QB rating of 53. More importantly, the coaches very clearly did not trust the kid to make the kind of throws they asked Bellomy to make. Maybe they learned their lesson.

      I don't think Bellomy is better than Morris or Speight, but I'm not convinced the gap is necessarily very large. I do think those guys have more talent and upside, but I think Bellomy's 3 years on campus have helped him out and I admire him for sticking it out.

      The thing I think you're ignoring is that the '12 Nebraska game was a long time ago. Bellomy hasn't really played since but I presume he's been maturing and getting a lot of practice time in. If he is forced into action, you'll see a far better performance from him, I would bet.

    6. The context from the Nebraska game is MORE damning. You had a kid with a better offensive line in his second year who performed worse. Morris was a true freshman with a terrible offensive line and performed better. And Bellomy's extra experience is just the point - nothing is going to make up for his weak arm except Kellen Moore-like accuracy and command, which is highly unlikely.

    7. If you don't want to be upset that people rip Bellomy there is an easy answer to the dilemma, don't bring up his name. Bellomy doesn't get ripped until somebody foolishly suggests he is better than what he has shown to be and ought to be the #2 QB.

    8. But But But I was told the OL couldn't possibly be worse after 2012!?! Look, neither of those OL's were effective.

      You do have a point about second year vs first year, but it was the first meaningful game action in either case and Shane had a month of practicing as a starter under his belt. Bellomy had a couple minutes to prep for his role.

      The big difference to me between KSU '13 and Nebraska '12 is gameplan. Against Nebraska the gameplan was designed for Denard Robinson, executed by Ronald Bellomy. Against KSU it was designed for Shane Morris and executed by him.

      I think Borges learned his lesson and tried to make it easy for Shane. It didn't go well, but he managed to not be traumatized by attempting NFL-caliber throws. Bellomy was given no such quarter.

      I do agree that Bellomy's arm is vastly inferior to Morris'. That parts seems indisputable, but there's a lot more to being a good QB. See Griese vs Mallet at UofM.

    9. LOL. You mean Griese as a 5th year on a national championship squad vs. a true freshman on a 9-4 team? Hmmm...

    10. I also mean Griese being better in the NFL (though I suppose Mallet could still emerge).

      You think Michigan goes undefeated with Mallet thowing bullets to the other team? I doubt it.

      I could give dozens more examples of arm strength vs brains, but it seem unnecessary when Tom Brady went to Michigan.

    11. @Anon 2, in defense of Anon 1. Anon 1 didn't bring him up. I did.

      I happen to agree with him. The way Bellomy was treated after Nebraska was embarrassing to the program and alumni. There is a way to be critical without shitting on individual players or making it personal.

    12. Huh? I don't even know what we're discussing anymore.

      No, I don't think the 1997 team would have won a national championship with a true freshman Ryan Mallett at quarterback. You win, I guess.

      Look, nobody's arguing that arm strength is everything. But there's a certain threshold you have to meet. I'm not even joking when I say I could probably go out right now and make all the same throws that Russell Bellomy is capable of making - not the decision making, knowing the playbook, etc., just the Point A to Point B throws. Not on any single throw in a Michigan uniform (game or spring game) has his arm looked capable of playing extended time at Michigan. He has a D-II arm.

    13. My point is that Griese was a better QB than Mallet ever was and had a better CAREER, both in college and the NFL, despite an inferior arm.

      You may be right about Bellomy's arm. I'm not really going to argue the point. What I'm saying is that he might as effective as Morris if the gameplan is tailored to his skills. The comparison is not fair. Asking Bellomy to complete NFL passes is like asking John Navarre to run the zone-read option. That's what Borges did because, when you took out the parts of the Denard playbook they had put together, it was a bunch of long throws - high risk high reward. Denard had the arm to do it but lacked consistency, so Borges took his shots. Bellomy needed something different. That wasn't the case for Morris, who they wisely changed things for.

      Put Morris in during the '12 Nebraska game and he would have done better - because he can make those throws. But that doesn't mean that if you gave Bellomy a month of practice and the KSU-strategy he couldn't have exceeded what Morris did. He might not have, but we don't know.

      I understand you you think his arm is too weak to be even functional. I disagree. My basis for that is that the coaches seemed to think he was adequate enough to be the backup QB at Michigan in 2012 and the assumption that he has improved since that time. I don't consider his awful Nebraska game to be indicative of his potential as much as poor coaching decisions.

      My guess is you see Russel sometime this season and he looks pretty competent. It'll probably only be against very bad teams though... for all my defense of him, I don't want to see him playing meaningful snaps for Michigan again.

    14. Anon defending Bellomy: People who harp on kids on social media are losers. There is no other way to put it. I applaud Bellomy for not retorting in a childish or snarky manner, and he should never have been put in that kind of situation in the first place.

      Lank. Your arguments are not good. About anything. Comparing the KSU to the OSU game is apples and oranges.

      Do you think our 7-5 team was real psyched to go play in the buffalo wild wings bowl against KSU? Or do you think they brought their A game when showing up vs. the buckeyes? Believe me, teams and players perform differently when they want to. OSU is a game they would want to perform differently during.

      I have no idea where you're drawing the conclusion that Speight is better than Morris. There aren't any supporting facts or data to support your outlandish claims, yet again.

      "Bellomy had a couple minutes to prepare for his role."

      Bellomy wasn't running the QB for the scout team offense. He was the backup QB. As soon as Gardner was moved to WR, Bellomy had all year to prepare to be the backup QB.

      Mallet vs. Griese? Even in the NFL? Please, stop with the words and the postings.

    15. I agree with Thunder on the D-II arm comment. Whenever he throws, it's usually not fast/strong enough, and I remember myself cringing thinking that somebody might just cut in and intercept it.

      Bellomy really has no business being in a top program as a QB. I appreciate the kid sticking out and continue to work on his degree. That's it. I hope he leaves as soon as he gets the degree. Thanks Russell for all of your work at scout team and what not, but we don't owe you anything after paying a quarter of million dollars for your out-of-state tuition and board.

    16. @Anon

      If our players were as unmotivated for KSU as you say - that's a pretty bad indictment of Hoke's coaching ability.

      I'm not "drawing a conclusion" about Speight or Morris. I'm speculating.

      Thanks for your business. Click on the link to unsubscribe!

  4. Pretty good analysis, I think. I believe that Morris has a better intuitive sense of the field and situation than Gardner does, though.

    1. I just... I don't understand how someone can have been watching UM football for the last couple years and reach this conclusion. Morris was awful against MSU and ineffective against KSU. Gardner had his rough patches but he's also flashed brilliant performances and carried this team to the brink of beating OSU. The worst thing you can say about him is he is inconsistent. The best thing you can say about Morris is he has a good arm.

    2. I just re-watched Michigan's first series of the BWW bowl. I tried to find an "every snap" video, because I thought I remembered seeing one at one point, but I couldn't find it.

      Anyway, I know things got worse as the game wore on, but keep in mind that Michigan had no running game and Kansas State knew it. The first pass was an accurate screen to Hayes. The second was a touch pass to Gallon. The third was a screen to Jake Butt. All of those passes were complete and accurate. The fourth pass (and first incompletion) was a slant to Gallon in the endzone that Gallon arguably should have caught and arguably got interfered on. The fifth pass (and second incompletion) was a fairly well thrown jump ball to Funchess in the right corner of the endzone, but Funchess couldn't come down with it.

      All five of those passes were satisfactorily accurate, with the Funchess pass the worst one; all of them were or could have been caught. I do remember a couple gaffes on Morris's part (I remember one time when he misread a route or threw the wrong route and hit a KSU player in the head), but some of that has to do with experience, knowing the playbook, knowing how to read college defenses, etc. Isn't that something you would expect from a freshman? Almost every single offensive recruit comes into college with a recruiting profile that says "he'll have to learn the playbook", and yet you seem to expect him to know the playbook as a freshman when really he should probably be redshirting if Michigan had any depth and/or had taken a quarterback in the 2012 class.

      Just like you think (inaccurately, IMO) that people are seeing good things in Morris because he was a 5-star or high 4-star, I think you're expecting too much because he was a 5-star/high 4-star. Chad Henne turned into a pretty good quarterback, but I remember some very similar issues during his freshman year where he threw into traffic, misread routes, etc. A few years later he was a 2nd round pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars, and he left Michigan with a bunch of passing records.

      It's often frustrating to watch freshmen - even talented ones - play football. That's why you often see me and numerous others yearning for young guys to redshirt. With Bellomy's ACL injury, Michigan didn't have a choice in 2013. The situation doesn't mean that Morris is doomed to a bad career, which you seem to be implying with your insistence that he looked awful, will get passed by Speight, etc.

    3. He played a little bit better than I expected actually. My comment on your blog after the game was this: "On the bright side - Morris did look solid for a freshman and showed nice arm strength and surprising speed as a runner. The OL also did a decent job in pass protection this game."

      You were actually a bit more critical of his game, though you were positive overall.

      "You could tell his timing just wasn't there with the receivers and the offense. Some of his throws were late, some screens were slightly off target, and some of his passes were thrown too hard to give his receivers much of a chance to catch them."

      His performance wasn't awful and it could even be considered good FOR A FRESHMAN. I, naively, thought that qualifier wouldn't just disappear in people's brains. Take out the "for a freshman" part and the performance was bad.

      I agree he should have red-shirted, but I think that getting a month to practice should have helped. Probably the first few series were scripted and that helped a good bit too.


      I'm really not trying to rag on the kid, the problem I have is with people putting him on a pedestal beside Gardner and ahead of the backups when he hasn't really given us any good reason to do so.

      I'm sorry, but the Henne comparison is laughable. Henne started his first college game and barely had a single game where his QB rating dipped under 100. He beat out quality competition to start. Morris started one game in late December and beat out nobody and his QB rating was in the 50s. Yes Henne had better help and yes Henne made mistakes too but, even if we're comparing apples and oranges one of them is was tasty and the other was way under-ripe.

      Totally agree with all your comments about freshman starters. Morris did fine, FOR A FRESHMAN. He looks like a promising prospect. But all your questions about true freshman don't suddenly disappear for a true sophomore. He's still a kid who should be just a red-shirt freshman. Nothing he did in that game tells me he's clearly ahead of his backups and NOTHING he did indicates he's superior to Gardner.

      I never said Morris will have a bad career. I think more highly of Bellomy and Speight than others. I see a significant history of highly touted Michigan QBs getting passed by for less regarded recruits; Driesbach, Henson, Guttierez, Forcier were all anointed as the next great but no-names like Navarre, walk-on's like Griese, and presumed backups like Brady, Henne, and Denard have shoved them aside for various reasons. I think Speight will beat him out because I like Speight, but I wouldn't be shocked if Morris was the guy for the next 2 years and Speight had to weight his turn either.

    4. Good discussion. My takeaway from the bowl game is that Morris looks like he has the tools to be a good QB, in the mold of the passing QB's from the '90's and '00's. Not saying he will be, but the basics are there. Morris obviously has a big arm. He looked comfy in the pocket and had a nice running play. He showed some decent touch on short throws, which is good to see from a guy with a big arm. There were also a few plays where it was obvious he scanned through a few options prior to delivering.

      So it looks like UM finally has a legit passer as a back-up. About time! Considering Hoke and Borges took over the program in '11, that is really too long. Agree that Gardner has the job until he has an "Akron" game. I am not a huge fan of Gardner as a QB, but I think that Nuss will do a better job of running an offense that mitigates some of his weaknesses. So I could see Gardner having a pretty good year, even if he stills struggles a little with the decision making or reading defenses.

    5. Lank, we've discussed your "significant history" BS and it's like it never happened. Unsurprising, but still.

      -Dreisbach suffered from injuries and was never the same
      -Henson was a couple years younger than Brady and absolutely lit the world on fire after Brady graduated.
      -Guttierez had a shoulder surgery, but Henne was also an all-star recruit, so this one doesn't make sense.
      -Who the hell did Navarre "shove aside?"
      -Forcier was a head case.

      So this "significant history" has absolutely nothing to do with football skills except MAYBE Henson and Brady...but again, there was an age and experience difference there. I don't understand your constant defense of Bellomy, but maybe it's just because you insist on being contrarian for whatever bad reason.

      I mean, c'mon man:

      "Nothing he did in that game tells me he's clearly ahead of his backups and NOTHING he did indicates he's superior to Gardner."

      The second part is obvious to anyone with a functioning brain, but the first part is facedesk-worthy. You've only ever seen Bellomy implode spectacularly and haven't seen Speight even play. So you're comparing 1) a mediocre-to-halfway decent performance by a freshman given the caveats, 2) the worst performance any of us have every seen by a Michigan quarterback that no caveat can ever excuse, and 3) a total unknown. And yet you draw the dumbest conclusion possible.

    6. @PS

      I think Morris has the tools to be good too. I just think he has a ways to go still (or at least he did in December). Tom Brady wasn't ready to play as a sophomore, Morris might not be either.

      To me, he's not a legit backup unless he shows he can play well enough to win a game. A QB rating of 50 doesn't cut it, HS games don't cut it, and throwing 3 picks against Nebraska CERTAINLY doesn't cut it.

      We're in trouble if Gardner goes down.

    7. Because Speight was a less touted recruit, you think he'll beat the more touted recruit, Morris? That is your argument?

      I refuse to read another Lanknows comment.

    8. Let me sum it up, Lan knows, i mean, likes, Russell Bellomy. He keeps trying to make his case by rambling about other Michigan QBs, both history and present.

    9. @PS

      "Forcier was a headcase", "Dreisbach was hurt", etc. = Excuses. The why doesn't matter, the point is that highly rated recruits don't always turn into starters. Michigan has a long history of lower-rated guys playing while higher-rated guys don't. The circumstances vary, but the story has been repeated many times.

      The rest - you're adding being uncivil to unconvincing.

    10. @Suduri

      As usual, you are not very good at processing information.

      Morris hasn't shown me anything that tells me he is better than other guys, who may or may not be good. It's a big pile of "we don't know". It's foolish to draw major conclusion from very limited game action.

    11. And you defend Russell Bellomy after looking at his garbage "very limited game action" in the Neb game? You are the one who's not very good at processing information. Get real.

    12. @ Lanknows

      In 2004 Henne beat out Clayton Richard and Spencer Brinton, neither of whom ever did anything in college football (Richard obviously turned into a pro athlete, albeit as a baseball player). Morris beat out Bellomy to start the BWW Bowl. Neither guy surpassed a murderer's row of options.

      You insist that Henne was consistently very good as a true freshman in 2004, and you say the comparison is laughable. Morris was 24/38 for 196 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 1 interception with a crappy offensive line and no running game. Let's look at a couple of Henne's games in 2004 when he was a true freshman:

      - vs. San Diego State he was 11/24 for 162 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions with -14 rushing yards.
      - vs. Illinois he was 14/27 for 114 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions with -3 rushing yards.

      Notice that completions, completion percentage, rushing yardage, and passing attempts are all lower for Henne. Henne had more touchdowns but also more interceptions.

      Now let's look at the support each one had. Henne (Braylon Edwards) and Morris (Jeremy Gallon) both had top-notch receivers. I'm not going to bother looking up the exact statistics for Michigan's running backs vs. KSU, because we all know they were terrible. But look at this:

      Mike Hart vs. SDSU in 2004: 25 carries, 121 yards.
      Mike Hart vs. Illinois in 2004: 40 carries, 234 yards, 1 touchdown

      The point isn't that Morris is better, Henne is better, whatever. That's not what this is about. The point is that Henne had weak performances throughout his freshman year (SDSU was early in the year, Illinois was game 7, etc.). There's no way to tell if Morris's mediocre game against KSU means he would have been mediocre all year long or if he learned from that experience to become an all-time great or if that was his all-time best game.

      What we can say with confidence is that freshmen are typically inconsistent, and whether you like it or not, even record-setters like Henne had bad or mediocre days. There's no way to get around it. If every quarterback were judged by his freshman debut, then this would be an entirely different world of football.

    13. @Thunder

      You are wrong. Henne also started over Matt Guttierez who was a 5-star QB recruit and future NFL QB who ended up transferring because Henne blocked his playing time. That year, Henne beat out 3 other pretty legitimate D1 QBs... Bellomy was still hurt and/or recovering, so really the guys Morris beat out were walk-ons. Walk-ons vs an NFL QB. Big difference.

      Your statistical argument is not convincing. You can talk about completion percentage if you want but Morris made a bunch of short throws. Henne always had a superior YPA and QB rating. These stats are far more indicative of performance.

      Henne's performances were vastly superior to Morris. It's just not even in the same ballpark, even if you take the worst games from Henne and compare them to Morris and ignore the fact that morris had a full regular season behind him while Henne had never suited up for a college game before starting. Henne had some rougher games, sure, but he showed us SO VERY MUCH more than Morris did, and that's in game 1.

      "There's no way to tell if Morris's mediocre game against KSU means ..." anything really.

      That is EXACTLY my point. People are reading into the game as if he's a stud, but his performance was objectively not very good, except for if you cut him a ton of slack for being a freshman -- which you should. We don't know if Morris is good or not, that's my point. He did not look like a world-beater, that's for sure.

      I guess I'm agreeing with you that we shouldn't judge the kid by his freshman debut. Funny thing is I think I'm the one who is making that argument against others who seem to be glowing about the kid's promise and are absolutely convinced he is better than other QBs we dont know much about.

    14. LOL. While we're making such statements as "You are wrong," let me throw it back at you. Gutierrez hurt his shoulder prior to the 2004 season and ended up having surgery to repair a torn labrum. You can look it up if you like.

      Yes, I realize Morris made a bunch of short throws. This has been addressed earlier in the discussion. Now if you want to look up video of when Henne went 14/27 for 114 yards and completed a bunch of passes downfield (yet somehow gaining just 114 yards), I would be very interested to see your analysis.

      Without scrolling up, I haven't really seen anyone saying Morris looked like "a stud." I certainly am not making that argument. I think he looked pretty solid with regard to the context in which he was playing. In comparison, Bellomy did not look solid in any way, shape, or form. That's why I think Morris is noticeably better...because I have noticed that he's better.

    15. I'm well aware of Guttierez's injury, as I am aware that he came back healthy and decided to transfer after it was clear he wasn't going to beat out Henne. Sometimes injured players return and shove aside their replacement (Gardner is about to do so to Morris and company).

      I think you can recognize how picking the very worst game from Henne's season and comparing it to Shane's only game is pretty ridiculous. But yes, in that one game, his less than 5 ypa is pretty bad. So Henne, at his absolute worst, was about as good as Shane's performance, after a full regular season.

      The whole discussion began with my argument that Morris hasn't done enough to distinguish himself from the other options.By ranking Morris this high, you are implying he has far more value. That's an opinion you are certainly entitled to, but there is not evidence to support it. We have one game of bad play vs one game of horrendous play vs zero games played. Comparing the context of those situations, which were very different, it's just not close to being as conclusive as you and other commenters make it out to be.

      If you ask me who the best backup QB option is in 2014, I'd put my money on Shane. But if you asked me to handicap it, I'd say it's 50% Shane, 30% Speights, and 20% Bellomy, whereas you and most of the readership, at least from what I can gather from the comments, seem to think it's 98% Shane.

      My argument all along is that we don't have enough info to judge the situation. One minute you're saying "don't judge freshman" the next you're saying "I know he's better". You don't want Morris judged, unless it matches your judgement.

    16. So you should also be aware that Henne (as a freshman) didn't beat out Gutierrez. Henne beat out Gutierrez as a sophomore with a full year of starting experience under his belt.

      I can recognize that picking Henne's worst game isn't quite analogous to picking Morris's only game, but I also realize that Henne had at least 2 bad games out of 13 (and several other that were questionable). It's a perfectly reasonable possibility that Morris might have just met his match in the bowl game against KSU but played well against Akron, Indiana, Iowa, etc.

      When I say "Don't judge freshmen," I obviously mean that freshmen can improve significantly. A bad freshman won't necessarily be a bad sophomore or junior or senior. Conversely, players who are good as freshmen tend to be good as sophomores and juniors and seniors. So if a freshman looks good, it's reasonable to think he will be good in the future. If a freshman looks bad, that's not very indicative of his future.

    17. "It's a perfectly reasonable possibility that Morris might have just met his match in the bowl game against KSU "

      It's reasonable, but mathematically unlikely. It is just as likely that Bellomy met his match against Nebraska, but neither one of us think that's the case.

      I agree with you about uncertainty about young player. If Morris had looked good, I'd be right with you, but he really didn't. He didn't look nearly as awful as Bellomy did as a RS Freshman, but he didn't play very well despite being protected in a way that Bellomy was not. Like you said, that doesn't doom his future, but it also doesn't insure success.

      Morris could suck or be great, we don't know. Bellomy, it's safe to say, has a limited ceiling, but he could be an OK backup. Being OK, MIGHT be better than what Morris is going to become. We simply don't know coming off seeing one game for each guy.

      At the core - I'm disagreeing with the conclusion that we shouldn't judge Morris off one game but we can judge Bellomy off of one. I don't think a red-shirt year justifies that. That game was traumatic and awful, but Bellomy may yet have something to contribute to Michigan football. We'll see.

    18. I'm aware of the Henne/Guttierez history. Guttierez was announced (either officially or unofficially) as the starter until he got hurt. So you're right that Henne didn't beat him out right away, but my point in mentioning him was the he held him off (post-injury) along with the other guys who were a hell of lot better than the walk-ons Morris played ahead of. I'm pretty sure everyone wanted Morris red-shirted. Henne was the more polished true freshman QBs I can remember seeing (Tate Forcier might have been more of a finished product.)

      Morris CAN still be better than Henne, but his freshman season wasn't remotely as good. A better and more optimistic comp is probably Denard Robinson actually - not similar stylistically but.... he flashed a good arm and had a few good drives but ultimately it was clear he wasn't ready yet as a freshman. Wish he would have red-shirted. He evolved into a great quarterback (albeit not a great passer) and hopefully Morris can evolve dramatically and develop the same way.

  5. A lot of these comments say "Im not saying this" "Im not saying that." I am saying Gardner is the unquestioned starter, I am saying Morris is the unquestioned #2, I am saying that Morris is the best option should Gardner go down. The purpose of the countdown is to rank them in order of importance, and Morris coming in at #25 is pretty darn spot on in my opinion. There are 22 starters and this means Morris is one of the top 3 backups on the team skill-wise and importance. Should any one of the starters go down, can you really say there are 3 backups that deserve to be ahead of Morris? We've seen the back up wide outs, the back up RB's, back up DL, LB, and DB's and even backup O-Linemen. Its time for the back up QB. Considering Gardner is probably the #1 on the list, Yeah Morris is one of the most important players to the team, and yeah he will have a bright future.

    1. Amen. I think Morris will do okay when he gets the keys passed to him by Gardner as a junior. This year, he should just keep working as a back up (nothing wrong with this, just about every QB does this) and keep practicing. Future is bright.

  6. There is one thing that I think is worth mentioning about Bellomy's appearance vs Shane's. QB's don't get hit in practice. That's why they wear the "funny" colored jerseys. One huge value from Shane's playing in the opener was he got hit by college players at collegiate speed. Maybe not at MSU or Nebraska speed but a heck of a lot harder than in HS. So Shane at least had experience with with the college game. I may misremember but I don't think Bellomy had seen the field before he had to step in. Nebraska brought it all at 110% and Bellomy had a trial by fire in spades.

    Yeah a terrible performance, but I suspect he'd perform far better in a similar situation today. Not saying that he's better than Shane, just that a little perspective is needed on the Nebraska game.

    1. Bellomy played in the 2012 season opener against Alabama when Denard Robinson went out with a boo-boo for a bit.

  7. I think we all need to look at the improvement QB's in under Nussmeier's teaching have progressed. I think we will be fine