The Wolverine

May 2013

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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maize n' view   michael spath I Polling The Field n 2012, Division I Football Bowl Subdivision backup quarterbacks across the nation attempted an average of 78 passes, completing 55.1 percent of those throws. The backup quarterback can play a vital, if mostly limited, role in his team's success. Despite the loss of Michigan's primary No. 2 signal-caller, redshirt sophomore Russell Bellomy, to injury this spring, U-M fans are not changing their expectations for the 2013 campaign. Rounding up, 84 percent of subscribers that were polled expressed their belief the Maize and Blue should still qualify for the Big Ten Championship Game, even with the shaky situation at quarterback. If redshirt junior Devin Gardner can stay healthy all year, there is absolutely no reason the Wolverines couldn't be in the title game next December, but that's a big if. Over the past 20 years, backup QBs at Michigan have attempted 50 passes or more nine times, due either to injury — most significantly to Denard Robinson (2012), Chad Henne (2007), Drew Henson (2000) and Scott Dreisbach (1995) — or ineffectiveness on the part of the starter. The Maize and Blue had relatively no issue with their starting quar- An injury suffered this spring by quarterback Russell Bellomy (above) means true freshman Shane Morris will likely be U-M's backup signal-caller this fall. photo by lon horwedel terbacks in 2011, 2001-06 (reserves averaged just 9.3 passes during that six-year stretch), 1998, 1997, 1994 and 1993. However, with the exception of 2011, those teams did not feature mobile QBs, who are more susceptible to the multitude of big hits Gardner will possibly face. If Gardner goes down, for a game, even for a series, U-M will be forced to turn to a true freshman, Shane Morris. Over the 40 years of true freshman eligibility through 2012, 10 different Michigan rookies have played quarterback. Of those, seven were in a similar predicament to Morris, earning No. 2 reps throughout fall camp and in weekly practices, and summoned after an injury. Those seven — excluding full-time starters Rick Leach (1975), Chad Henne (2007) and Tate Forcier (2009) — combined to complete 44.3 percent of their 244 attempts for 1,474 yards with 13 touchdowns and 11 picks. Morris could be the exception to

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