Chris Howard offered the Michigan football team some advice on Monday: In order to be successful on offense, it needs to get back to basics.
Howard joined Land of 10 on Monday for a Facebook Live Q&A and talked about Michigan’s offense, which is preparing to play No. 2 Penn State at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Happy Valley.
Michigan’s offense, he explained, must find consistency. That’s been obvious in most of Michigan’s games this season, and especially in a 27-20 overtime win at Indiana last Saturday.
“This wasn’t about what Indiana did,” Howard said. “This was more about what Michigan hasn’t been able to do all season long, and that’s find some consistency on offense. Michigan was 2 for 13 on third-down conversions. John O’Korn struggled. As a team, I think we set a record in penalties. That was the game right there. That’s what kept Indiana in the game.
“If Michigan wants to be a better team, they have to be better on the offensive line, they have to be better at wide receiver, and they have to get more production out of the quarterback position. John O’Korn has to be better.”
O’Korn replaced Wilton Speight as quarterback of the Wolverines (5-1, 2-1 Big Ten) in a 28-10 win Sept. 23 at Purdue. Speight started Michigan’s first four games but sustained fractured vertebrae against the Boilermakers. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has given no definite timetable of when — or if — Speight will return.
Howard doesn’t see Speight returning to Michigan’s lineup this season.
“Wilton will have a very productive life outside of this game, and at some point you kind of have to take into account the welfare of the player,” Howard said. “It’s too soon to rush him back from this type of injury.”
O’Korn has averaged 112.6 yards passing in five games this season, but threw for only 58 yards on 10 of 20 passing at Indiana. He has thrown only 1 touchdown pass.
O’Korn’s struggles have Michigan fans calling for Brandon Peters to take over as starting quarterback.
Howard said he sees the possibility of Peters getting some playing time if O’Korn struggles, but he pumped the brakes on the idea of Peters becoming Michigan’s starting quarterback this season.
“It takes more than that to play quarterback,” Howard said. “You have to have a presence about you, you have to have a full understanding of the playbook. From what I’ve been told, I’m not sure he’s there yet.”
Instead of making a quick fix on offense by changing quarterbacks, Howard said Michigan “has to find some kind of balance on offense.”
“That will give [Michigan] a chance to win this game in Happy Valley. They have to play a near-perfect game. If Michigan can hold Penn State to 14 points, that would give Michigan an excellent opportunity to win this game.”
Watch what else Chris Howard had to say in the video above.