Go search “Wilton Speight” on Twitter and you’ll see tweets like this:
Wouldn't be surprised if Brandon Peters gives Wilton Speight a run for his money for the starting spot.
— Brady Morgan (@Brady12_13) April 15, 2017
wilton speight = 🗑 qb
— JJ (@jarradjames12) April 15, 2017
If Wilton Speight is our qb next season we will be 6-6
— Dan (@DannyBatozynski) April 15, 2017
Based on that, you’d think that Speight just threw away a B1G game to an unranked team. It is true that Speight had a rough Saturday. A quarterback that completes barely one-third of his passes isn’t puffing his chest out.
But let’s keep in mind that Speight’s rough Saturday came in the middle of April, not the middle of November.
This was the same guy who led the B1G in QBR a season ago for a team that had virtually no running game against quality opponents. Speight is the returning starter, a guy who Jim Harbaugh argued should’ve been in the Heisman Trophy conversation last year.
Did he look like that on Saturday? No. Should that have any impact on your opinion of him? No.
After Michigan’s spring game, Speight admitted that he made two boneheaded plays. Both of them were interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. They were plays that veteran quarterbacks aren’t supposed to make.
Speight made poor reads and telegraphed passes to receivers that weren’t open. That’s obviously not recommended at the quarterback position at any level, much less one with yearly College Football Playoff aspirations. If he makes those throws against Ohio State, the entire state of Michigan will collectively lose its mind.
But let’s not pretend like Speight’s performance meant anything in regards to his job security. Brandon Peters had a nice day, though it wasn’t mistake-free, either. He also telegraphed passes and looked uncomfortable in the pocket at times.
Like Speight, one of his passes was returned for a touchdown:
Speight, Peters and John O’Korn were all working with an inexperienced offensive line — one with two returning starters — against Don Brown’s defense, which still brought some serious heat for a spring game. There were too many times in which Speight was running for his life just to get a throw off.
The combination of the porous pass protection and a young group of wide receivers didn’t help Speight on Saturday. Michigan’s defense is going to make a lot of quarterbacks look exactly like Speight did. He just happened to take the brunt of the abuse (fortunately he couldn’t be hit).
Let’s be clear. Peters was the superior quarterback on Saturday. Does that mean that he’s all of the sudden in a true competition for the starting job? No, but he isn’t lacking confidence.
Brandon Peters says he's trying to win the job. 'Why wouldn't I?'
— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) April 15, 2017
Of course Peters should keep fighting like there’s a job on the line. After all, he’s the one who came to Michigan as the four-star recruit. All signs point to him being Michigan’s quarterback of the future, and Saturday helped solidify that notion.
Having said that, this is still Speight’s offense. Harbaugh raved about his maturity this spring and hasn’t ever offered up anything to make one question if Speight was his guy. In case you forgot, Harbaugh’s opinion is the only one that matters.
After Saturday’s scrimmage, Harbaugh didn’t speak to the media. Why? He calls the shots. Maybe he doesn’t see the need to make too big of a deal out of a spring game.
Speight’s post-spring game doubters should do the same.