Should Morris Play Against Cupcakes

Submitted by Michigan Marshmallow on August 25th, 2013 at 11:27 AM

So it's Sunday and I'm sitting at Starbucks with nothing to do, and I really need some football. 

I'm wondering what y'all think about Morris' playing time this year. Obviously, keeping his redshirt would be the best case scenario in that a.) Gardner would be healthy all season and b.) we would have him (Morris) for another season. But what are the chances that that will actually happen? What are the chances that Gardner will have to go out for a play, a series, maybe even the back half of a game? And if we get into that situation, how beneficial would it have been if Morris had played against some cupcakes to get game experience but lost his redshirt? Looks like there are 4 possibilities:

1. Morris does not play against any cupcakes. Gardner does not get injured. Redshirt is kept. Puppies rejoice.

2. Morris does not play against cupcakes. Gardner gets hit in the face by a trash tornado, Morris comes in with no game experience and the redshirt is gone. How well would Morris play?

3. Morris plays against cupcakes and clean-up. Garnder doesn't get hurt. Morris loses red-shirt but has game experience.

4. Morris plays against cupcakes and clean-up. Gardner [misses significant time due to injury]. Morris has some game experience and snaps under his belt.

So the question is whether or not it is worth Morris to play against cupcakes and to clean up in the event of a blow out. 

IMHO, it would be valuable for Morris to play. Yes, he will only be here for four years tops, but if he pans out really well, there's also the chance that he will go pro and wouldn't use the redshirt anyway (or Gardner may go pro after this season).  

I think it's more important to cover your bases for this season, and get the best possible set up to win the B1G Championship this year. 


[ED:BM - Hyperbole or no, spinal injuries aren't the best hypothetical example to use]


Mr. Yost

August 25th, 2013 at 7:47 PM ^

...handing off to DeAnthony Hardison at the end of the EMU game up 6 TDs isn't "game experience." That argument is BOGUS. If you want to get Morris "game experience." You give him a couple of series in the 2nd qtr vs. crap teams. This way he plays WITH your 1's and against their 1's. And that's a dumb idea. But it's the only way unless DG is hurt. Stop it with the mop up = experience crap.

Michigan Marshmallow

August 25th, 2013 at 11:44 AM ^

Too much? Fine...

*4. Morris plays against cupcakes and clean-up and waltzes around with butterflies singing kumbaya. Gardner gets a boo-boo on his nose and has to sit on the restyresty bench for the end of a game. Mr. Hoke wants to win the game so he puts in Morris who has some experience points in his backpack! Now you say backpack! *Backpack* Yay! Now we can all go smell some daisies and play patty-cake together!


August 25th, 2013 at 11:33 AM ^

Morris needs to play IMHO. He's got the size, he can learn. A redshirt for him, isn't really needed... And if it is, we can redshirt him next year with Speight, then year three is essentially the same. Gardner and Bellomy will both be here in 2014. Making 2015 Bellomy's SR year, Morris a RS SO and Speight a RS FR

Jaqen H'ghar

August 25th, 2013 at 12:47 PM ^

This is a factor for why Morris will almost assuredly get in against Central and any other game in hand. Another would be the reasoning that his redshirt shouldn't matter in the end. Without the redshirt, he will have 4 years at Michigan to get his degree and if he plays to his potential by the end of that 4th year he will be looking to the NFL with his degree in hand. Lewan was a very rare exception and if we had won the Big Ten -- which used to happen every 4 years at the worst -- at any point during his career he would've been gone. If Shane plays to his potential we will win the Big with the way we are recruiting players around him and he will feel accomplished by his 4th year here. 

And there's also obviously the plus that Shane would have game experience were Devin to go out of the game for any reason.


August 25th, 2013 at 11:34 AM ^

My initial thought is that now I'm hungry: a poster named Michigan Marshmallow is asking about cupcakes.

But, I also think Morris should get playing time this year. The downside of not having him ready as a backup in case something horrible happens this season is just too great.


August 25th, 2013 at 11:38 AM ^

The redshirt is as good as gone. Mark it dude. Maybe he'll play minimal snaps and come up with some "back spasms" or whatever, and he can retroactively get a redshirt like DG did.

R Kelly

August 25th, 2013 at 11:39 AM ^

Perhaps the biggest question, and it would likely take a former player to answer this, is how much of a difference is there between practice/scrimmage reps, and reps in a game against a terrible team when the score is already out of hand?  My inclination is that there is probably not a huge difference, in which case it makes sense to preserve the redshirt as long as possible.  


August 25th, 2013 at 12:34 PM ^

Husker Satdium at night called.  It disagrees.

(It also wants to apologize to Denard's elbow.)

You can't be ready for the big games without some real-game experience before that.  A big game against an elite opponent can't be the first time you take the field against players that won't get yelled at by their coach for trying to kill you.


August 25th, 2013 at 3:01 PM ^

No, but the point wasn't that they are the same.  Rather it is that the backup needs real-game experience, even against the likes of Akron, to be able to play down the road in a Husker Stadium situation.

A Husker Stadium situation can't be the first time you play against players you don't room with.  Glick fieldhouse is not enough.  

That's why Morris won't redshirt and players like Avery will play "out of position" in some early games.

R Kelly

August 25th, 2013 at 3:10 PM ^

Comparing the Nebraska game last year to this situation is apples and oranges.  Gardner wasn't prepared to come in last year because he had not been taking enough practice reps at QB, it had nothing to do with him not getting mop up duty against UMass and co.  No one is saying Shane won't take all the second team practice reps all year.  So my whole point is that how much of a real difference does it make to get those 5-10 snaps in a game that has already been decided?  And as I acknowledged above, I don't think many people on this board are actually qualified to say because 1) you can't really know unless you have been through this situation personally, and 2) every person is different.  Without any personal knowledge I place more value on preserving the redshirt than I do on those small number of snaps in a nonpressure situation.  Having said that, this is not what I think the coaches will actually do, it's just what I would do if I were coaching.  


August 25th, 2013 at 3:39 PM ^

The comparison is of Morris to Bellomy in the Nebraska game.  So, are you saying Bellomy's problems at QB in the Nebraska game were because he didn't practice enough and his lack of experience in games had nothing to do with it? And if Morris doesn't have any college game experience, there's no problem just plugging him in for the first time because he'll be ready to go based on practice?

But hey, none of us can offer opinions because we haven't played in front of 80,000 or more people, but almost everybody has experience on a much smaller scale to know that doing something in a practice setting, where you can start over at any point is a lot different than doing it live in front of a hostile fanbase.  I learned that in 6th grade. I'm not sure how anybody makes it to adulthood and doesn't understand that dynamic.


August 25th, 2013 at 3:42 PM ^

I think Morris to Gardner is a better comparison. Gardner wasn't ready for the Nebraska game because he hadn't practiced at qb for weeks at that point, but in hindsight he seemingly could've rolled over Nebraska had they been prepared and put him in. Having an unprepared shane unready to go in next year in case something happens would be silly after last year. That game cost us a trip to the conference championship.

R Kelly

August 25th, 2013 at 3:45 PM ^

Bellomy did get to take up the mop up duty snaps early last year and it clearly did not help, so I don't see how you can use him as an example of how those snaps are actually valuable (i.e. more valuable than an additional year of eligability, I am not claiming they have no value at all).  Bellomy struggled in part because of lack of game experience, but also I think we all saw that he lacks some of the physical abilities necessary to be a long term solution at quarterback.  


August 25th, 2013 at 4:14 PM ^

True, a few minutes of mop up duty doesn't magically transform a player to be ready for a night game against a decent defense in a hostile environment.  I don't think Bellomy's problems in that game were primarily physical limitations though.

I also believe that while not having Gardner ready to play QB backfired spectacularly in that game, his in-game experience, even at a different position, helped him in other games down the road.

R Kelly

August 25th, 2013 at 4:44 PM ^

I don't disagree with you about Gardner's in game experience at another position being beneficial, and if Shane were able to get close to that amount (quanity and quality) of experience, then I think it would be worth it to play him this year.  I just hate to see the redshirt burned so that he can have four meaningless pass attempts on the year.  


August 25th, 2013 at 11:40 AM ^

Everyone is too worried about QB injuries due to Denard's history.  Devin is going to run a small fraction of the amount Denard did, but still has the mobility to not take too many direct hits in the backfield.  The number of QBs that get injured each year is relatively small considering how many are playing.  There's no reason to talk as if Devin will certainly get injured.


August 25th, 2013 at 11:52 AM ^

Henson got hurt, requiring Navarre to step in. Forcier got hurt (forever) requiring Henne to step in. Henne got hurt, requiring Mallet to step in. And of course, Robinson, multiple times. Bellomy got hurt, leaving us thin this year. It happens, and with a shaky OL, the risk is greater.

And it doesn't even have to be a season-ending injury. Just having him out for a few quarters without a prepared replacement could cost us a key game, as Robinson's injury against Nebraska did last year. Contrast that to OSU's game against Purdue last year. Miller got knocked out of that game and the Buckeyes were on the ropes, but they had a backup good enough to come in and bring them from behind to win.


August 26th, 2013 at 7:41 AM ^

The number of QBs that take every single snap on a season is also small.  Not having a viable backup ready to step in for your starter at QB is a recipe for disaster.  Ideally, Bellomy would be that guy this season, but Perry the ACLephant had other plans, so you have to get Morris prepped to step in just in case. 


August 25th, 2013 at 11:41 AM ^

"But what are the chances that that will actually happen?"

We will know for certain perhaps - at least for purposes of the CMU game - where Morris is on the QB depth chart tomorrow. If it is as mentioned and he is #2 and continues to appear there going into ND and beyond, then the chances of Morris seeing the field at some point - regardless of the health of Devin Gardner - would be fairly significant, in my estimation, even if in limited duty. 


August 25th, 2013 at 11:43 AM ^

Then yes, absolutely you play him in every blowout, as soon as we have a big enough lead to take Gardner out safely. It's not just about having him as ready as possible in case Gardner DOES get injured, It's also about exposing Gardner to as few chances for injury as possible. Gardner could suffer a season-ending injury in the fourth quarter against Akron if we leave him in too long. If that means that our offense bogs down and we only win by 14 instead of 28, so be it. Keeping Gardner healthy so that we have the best chance to win every game is more important than style points this year.


August 25th, 2013 at 11:56 AM ^

1.                                                                                                                                                      Any more than that would be redundant and pulled by the mods, right?


August 25th, 2013 at 11:51 AM ^

It sucks for Morris as he would probably prefer to redshirt and get the opportunity for as many years as possible as the starting QB for UM but "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few...or the one" and UM will need him to have some experience should disaster strike and he has to play significant snaps.

Conclusion: Gotta play him as much as possible.