ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan is preparing for the possibility of life without quarterback Wilton Speight. Or, at least, one game without Wilton Speight. Maybe two. Maybe more. And they’re preparing for the possibility that John O’Korn will get the start this weekend.
Speight was injured in Saturday’s 14-13 loss at Iowa, and Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh refuted reports Monday that said Speight had a broken collarbone and was out for the remainder of the season.
O’Korn is likely to get the nod at starter Saturday against Indiana if Speight is unable to play. As of Tuesday afternoon, Harbaugh said Speight is questionable for Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. kickoff.
Teammates have already begun rallying around O’Korn, a transfer from Houston who threw for 3,117 yards as a freshman with the Cougars in 2013. However, O’Korn hasn’t made a collegiate start since October 2014. Will Michigan’s players have to prepare or play differently — maybe at a higher level for a new quarterback?
“You can think about it like that, but I always like to say the expectation is the position, and we don’t expect him to miss a single beat,” Michigan receiver Jehu Chesson said. “Whoever’s going to play Saturday, they’re definitely going to be prepared for the game, just like I’m going to be prepared, just like Amara (Darboh) or Jake (Butt) and whoever lines up at the skill positions.
“Once you start thinking about it, playing ‘up’ to something, then what were you doing when you weren’t playing ‘up’?”
Michigan also won’t let its confidence waver in its quarterbacks.
“Shane (Morris) has been in a little bit this year and he’s done some good things, and John was the starting quarterback at Houston,” Michigan captain Chris Wormley said. “He threw for like 3,000 yards, and we have all the confidence in the world in those two, whoever it is. We’re ready for Indiana and ready for them to step up and be that leader they need to be.”
Wormley has seen O’Korn exhibit leadership skills both on the field and in his approach to being a quarterback.
“He watches film after practice, more than anyone I’ve ever seen at the college level, which is weird, for someone that doesn’t even have to play as much as he does as a starter,” Wormley said. “But with him doing that for last 2-3 months, that’s going to help him big-time, starting Saturday.”