Good point about the role reversal. However, Threet definitely showed more potential to me. The TD pass to Hemingway was Henne-esque, and he will only get better. The biggest knock against Threet right now is his slow delivery. If we had a good o-line it wouldn't matter as much, but some throws were definitely affected by the pass rush, more so than Sheridan.
QB Battle is Still Undecided
In the aftermath of Michigan's 25-23 loss to Utah on Saturday, a lot of armchair quarterbacks blasted Nick Sheridan. A redshirt sophomore quarterback, Sheridan beat out most people's favorite, Steven Threet, to start the first game of the Rich Rodriguez era. Sheridan is a former walk-on who earned a scholarship during summer practices.
The complaints were numerous. Sheridan made poor decisions by throwing into coverage. He messed up a read option play by trying to take the ball back from running back Sam McGuffie after he had already handed it to him. He had poor arm strength. Etc.
Every single one of us Michigan fans would love to have a Vince Young or a Pat White or, yes, even a Troy Smith at our disposal. But that guy doesn't attend Michigan right now. Maybe next year. But until then Michigan followers have to do the best with what we have.
Steven Threet didn't exactly light the world on fire when he came on in relief during the third quarter. Threet made several poor decisions, including taking a couple sacks and a monstrous hit when he could have thrown the ball away or run out of bounds. He did make a nice throw on a 33-yard TD pass to Junior Hemingway, but other than that, many of his throws were off target. Even his second-best play - a short pass to Carson Butler near the sideline - was a throw that required every iota of Butler's 6'5" frame and freak athleticism to catch.
Threet deserves to start next Saturday against Miami (OH). He led two touchdown drives (as opposed to Sheridan's one) and had a little more success at moving the football than Sheridan did. Overall, Michigan played better in the second half than they did in the first. Whether that's because Threet brought new life to the team or it's because the defense made halftime adjustments and regained the momentum, it's hard to say. Regardless, the offense played better when he was in, so he deserves another shot.
Still, Sheridan played okay for being a former walk-on in his first significant minutes ever. He was 11-for-13 early and looked sharp on short to intermediate throws. His last six passes were incomplete, but he was obviously pressing, which is understandable for the underdog in front of 106,000 people and national TV. Toward the end of the game, when Threet badly overthrew a leaping Darryl Stonum on a 4th-and-5, I thought to myself, "Sheridan could have made that throw." Each player has his positives and negatives.
But I wonder: If fortunes were reversed and Threet was the walk-on while Sheridan was the former four-star recruit, would we be so quick to throw Sheridan under the bus? Sheridan didn't play poorly enough to be torched for his performance, and Threet didn't play well enough to be anointed the full-time starter. To me, this quarterback battle is still far from over.
High school credibility. Before the season started, Sheridan was dubbed the guy with more mobility and weaker arm, with Threet being labeled as the statue with a rocket.
After watching that game, I didn't see much difference in the way of mobility with those two. Threet tucked it and accomplished about as much as Sheridan could on a scramble. What makes Threet far more qualified to QB this team is the fact that he actually throws like a college quarterback. Sheridan made Chad Pennington look like freaking Brett Favre with his lame duck tosses. Some of the throws he made could not possibly qualify him for D1 competition. He would literally just throw it in the air and hope everything turned out okay.
Threet was inaccurate, Sheridan was embarrassing. No amount of 1 or 2 yard gains could sugarcoat it.
...is not as poor as people are making it out to be. Threet's arm is stronger, but Sheridan launched a pretty impressive throw early in the game where he overthrew a receiver (I don't remember who) far down the field.
You can be successful in college without having a rocket arm. See Jason White, Colt Brennan, Pat White, etc. for examples. To say "Sheridan was embarrassing" is an overreaction to a large degree, especially when you simply label Threet "inaccurate."
All other things being equal, I'd rather have an accurate short-to-intermediate thrower than a scattershot Howitzer any day, especially in the spread offense. The old Michigan offense required a good arm because there was more max protection and the first receiver was usually running a vertical. That is not the case with this offense.
Sheridan lucked out on one deep throw and you use it as an indicator of his ability? You saw what the guy did in that game. Half his completions were 2-yard gains, and when he was pressured in the pocked he'd scramble and make horrifying throws across his body.
Don't bother equating Sheridan's shortcomings with the aforementioned. It'd be a tired, worthless exercise. Sheridan was embarrassing. Threet is woefully inaccurate. Embarrassing is difficult to fix, because it speaks of his general inability to recognize his level of competition. Threet just needs to be coached up to calm down out there. He was throwing way too high.
I'm sure we'd all love an accurate passer. The fact is, Sheridan isn't that guy. Just because his arm isn't as strong as Threet's doesn't mean we can just conclude the weaker guy is the more accurate passer. It's circular logic.
...okay...let's not use Sheridan's arm strength as a gauge of his accuracy. I agree.
Let's use completion percentage. I mean, that's a pretty good indicator of accuracy, right? Wait a minute...Sheridan's is still better!
Go back and watch the film. Sheridan was very accurate on slants, hitches, etc. Threet wasn't. Odoms caught 7 passes for 9 yards or something ridiculous like that. Some of that is probably Sheridan's fault, but it's not his fault that Odoms couldn't break tackles or make anyone miss.
Again, I'm not saying Sheridan was better. But the difference between the two quarterbacks was not as big as you're making it out to be.
I'm not positive about this b/c I haven't been able to re-watch the game, but I thought there were a lot more short pass play opportunities for Sheridan than there were with Threet. In the 2nd half, it seemed as though we went downfield much more often than in the first half. The completion percentages will be off if Threet was making bigger throws (esp. with all of the PI calls) and Sheridan is throwing one yard passes to his side. This isn't generally the case as short passes can be just as difficult to complete as longer balls if not moreso, but it is more difficult when our O-line cannot allow our QB and receivers to let a play develop. With the quick passes, the O-line holds up much better, allowing for a greater number of completions.
Others have said this, but Sheridan looked like a walk-on and Threet looked like a D1 freshman QB. Sheridan was supposedly the more mobile one (I disputed this earlier, I thought they were virtually the same style QB), but he wasn't any faster or more elisuve than Threet in this past game. If Sheridan doesn't have the upper hand in mobility or arm strength/"zip", and he's not yet any better of a decision maker than Threet, why don't we go with the guy who has at least one of those attributes? It will still be a battle b/c neither QB has completely proven himself, but I think Threet has the adv. thus far.
I agree with everything you said here, which is why I said Threet deserves to start next week.
looked like a better runner to me. not great, just decent. threet, OTOH... looked like navarre/brady/henne. slow, loping and slow.
no one is giving credit to sheridan for that TD pass to shaw, tho: that was a money shot: DO accuracy. it doesn't erase the 3-4 throws that could have been or were intercepted, but i think that's what RR saw in practice. plus, he almost broke a keeper in the 1st half. the LB barely tripped him up for a no gain. I'd give sheridan another shot vs MU.
That's my biggest problem. He displayed no mobility when he played. Even if you attribute that to nerves, you can't explain away that slowness. McGuffie was obviously nervous but he still showed good speed. Sheridan displayed no ability to scramble out of the pocket for example. He certainly didn't display the ability to throw on the run. He could not turn the corner if the play was dead. He was easily caught from behind when trying to scramble in the inside. And these are Utah defenders. Smart they are (they were well coached), but gifted they are not. There's a reason why those defenders settled for Utah. It was because no one else wanted them. Don't believe me, just look at their profiles on rivals. Seriously, if Sheridan can't even run against Utah defenders, how on earth do you expect him to run against good B10 competition? You've made the point for me. Sheridan is not even close to being Pat White. Without a measurable scrambling ability, Sheridan is a walk on who can't run or pass. He can't do any of the things a running QB is suppose to do. Just because he's faster than Threet (who cares?) doesn't mean he should play. Right now, I think we should settle on the one strength we have at QB, Threet's potential (and the keyword is potential) arm. Threet made good decisions. He just sailed to ball too much because he was nervous.
Utah is better than anyone in the Big 10 except OSU, and maybe PSU and Illinois. Utah will have a terrific year as they are a senior laden, well coached and highly skilled team.
While that might be true, I really wasn't impressed by Utah. I think they did a good job of exploiting Michigan's weaknesses (the linebackers and the offensive line), but if Utah's better than everyone in the Big 10 except OSU, I think that's more of an indictment of the Big 10 and not necessarily indicative of an excellent Utah team.
The most obvious takeaway from the game is that neither QB that played will be a decent fit for this system. I wanted to see more direct snaps to Carlos Brown, because honestly that looked like the most effective solution in the short term just on that one play. No team is going to respect the running abilities of either Threet or Sheridan, and is going to stay w/ the Running back on any read play.
If Threet was given the starting role he would have more time with the first team in practice, which would improve the timing between him and his receivers (in theory this would increase his accuracy).
I don't think Sheridans 'mobility' is enough to be an advantage. Threet on the other hand can force the defense to defend more of the field (verticle and sideline to sideline) with his arm strength.
I would like to see us use Threet as the main QB and give the running QB role to either Brown or Minor (splitting Threet out as a decoy wr); I saw the Steelers use a similar set in a pre-season game with Parker as the QB and think it could work for us given our situation. This type of package will also allow us to keep the no huddle.