Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh sounded very pleased Monday when discussing quarterback Wilton Speight, who overcame some early adversity Saturday against Colorado.
The Wolverines faced a 14-0 hole, thanks in large part to a Speight fumble, which was returned for a touchdown.
But Harbaugh was effusive in his praise for the junior quarterback.
“I’ve thought it was a true sign of somebody’s character that they don’t just cry victim when they’re victimized,” Harbaugh said on his radio show Monday, according to Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press. “And he was victimized on that play, that was a shot. He didn’t get up grabbing body parts and limping around. He was real tough and it was a real opportunity for him, starting his third ballgame, to show the team that he could take a hit and get right back up. I was really impressed. That was another rung that he climbed up to on the ladder. It was impressive to guys on our football team as well.”
Speight battled an elbow injury throughout the game after taking that big hit, but eventually he settled down and led Michigan to a relatively easy win.
“I was forcing things early, but later in the second quarter I started hitting my check-downs and moving the chains,” Speight said after the game. “That’s all that matters, moving the ball down the field.”
Speight’s effort and managed performance wasn’t lost on his coach.
“He played a tough, gritty ballgame and did some things with people, they kept coming in his face the entire game — he didn’t flinch,” Harbaugh said. “There was 3-4 times after that where there were people right in his face and running in on the quarterback and he sidestepped them and avoided the sack and turned it into some big plays. Also the play to Grant Perry, the long play in the third quarter and in the fourth quarter to keep a drive going. You know what? He played a gritty ballgame.
“That’s something he proved to his teammates and his coaches, that he’s got some gravel in his guts. So I’m very impressed by that.”
Having gravel in one’s guts, as we learned from the great Johnny Cash, is a very good thing.