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]



August 25th, 2013 at 12:01 PM ^

Unfortunately we got a triple whammy at QB. Our second QB recruit in 2010 (Jones) who we might have counted on as a decent backup this year, washed out. Our QB recruit from 2011 (Bellomy) got injured. And the coaching staff made the decision not to take a QB in 2012 (take a QB every year!). Any of those guys might have been good enough that we wouldn't have to use Morris this year.

Playing Morris this year is not what we would have chosen and not ideal, but we have to play the cards we've got.


August 25th, 2013 at 12:14 PM ^

The best players are going to play. If they cannot, the next guy has to step up. Morris is already the second best QB on the team.                                                                                    Sincerely, Brady Hoke


August 25th, 2013 at 1:39 PM ^

I think Chad Henne skewed what many Michigan fans expect at the QB position.  It should be rare for a QB to start for more than two years.  There's nothing wrong with Morris backing up Gardner for two years and getting to start for two years.  That's the perfect case scenario for both the team and him.

If he were to start three years, then his arm probably isn't as good as we hope since he didn't go to the NFL after year two of starting.  Or he really isn't as good as we hope and we have a 3-year QB issue.

Plus, injuries and what not.

Play the best players.  Don't plan for 4 and 5 years down the road in a sport that requires such an immediate time frame.


August 25th, 2013 at 9:02 PM ^

Agreed. If we get the pedigree of QBs back up to how it used to be, QBs should come in expecting to play as JR and SRs only.  They should know some stud is ahead of them.  In some perfect world he redshirts and plays in 2014-2017.  This is not a perfect world.  We need him now.  He should play in meaningful moments against cupcakes to be ready.  No one is saying Gardner need go out for 5 games but even if its half a game it can cost you a game.   I think people are not looking ahead.  There is going to be a whole host of QBs coming, 1 a year.  In 2015 (his 3rd year) there will be Morris, Wilton, and 2015 recruit on campus.  In 2016 (his 4th year) there will be Morris, Wilton, 2015 recruit and 2016 recruit.  If he redshirted and extended to 2017 there will be Morris, Wilton, 2015 recruit, 2016 recruit, and 2017 recruit.   Indeed if that happened you might not have a very good 2016 recruit want to join the program since there is a massive logjam ahead and that kid might only see the field his senior season.  Do you see why now - while a redshirt is always preferable for a QB, it won't be killing us in 2017 which is the extra year he would be on campus? (and yes I get he would be in theory a better player in 2017 than 2016 - but no one knows)


August 26th, 2013 at 7:46 AM ^

In the past 40 years, exactly one Michigan QB has not finished his out his eligibility and that player left the program to turn pro in baseball.  By the end of this season, if things go as planned, Devin will still only have 20 games as a starter in his overall career at Michigan.  Gardner will be back for his 5th year.


August 25th, 2013 at 12:01 PM ^

Theoretically... Couldn't Morris back DG up this year and then take a RS next year when Bellomy recovers?

I understand that Morris (especially with some game time reps under his belt) is likely to surpass Bellomy in the depth chart, but this could essentially "save" a year of him being a starter.


August 25th, 2013 at 12:06 PM ^

Having that year get burnt is frustrating, but if Morris is going to be the starter in 2015, do we really want him to take that job not having seen the field in an actual game for two years? To really bring him along to be the best starter possible in 2015, he really needs to play in 2014.


August 25th, 2013 at 9:04 PM ^

So you are going to redshirt a kid who in 2013 gets playing time and comes back for his sophomore year with confidence, some experience, improved ability and say Mr. Bellomy is going to be the backup this year, despite not playing a meaningful football game in 18 months, and oh in that 1 meaningful game bombed.  Now go get rusty for a year, throwing away that experience you got last year, and we will throw you out as a starter in 2015 after you sit on the bench for a year.  Yep...enjoy your redshirt Mr. Morris.


August 25th, 2013 at 12:01 PM ^

Give him some reps in garbage time during the first 3 games, then reevaluate. If Devin is hurt at that point, he will have some reps under his belt and will be capable of coming in. If Devin looks totally fine, just have Shane come down with a "back injury." This way, if he does have to go in later in the year he will have had some game experience, and if not, he still gets his redshirt. Worked for Gardner


August 25th, 2013 at 12:02 PM ^

Absolutely he should play. Simple contingency planning. Devin is always one play away from being hurt. Plus it pays dividends possibly next year and certainly two years out. And five years out, when the redshirt would make a difference, there will be plenty of other qb options.


August 25th, 2013 at 12:05 PM ^

Absolutely yes. And as much as possible. If Morris ends up starting, we will be fighting for a bowl bid IMO (depending on when DG got hurt of course), and those extra snaps could mean the difference b/w going to a bowl or sitting at home.

Monocle Smile

August 25th, 2013 at 12:08 PM ^

Up for debate, kind of.

Will? Almost certainly. The coaches give considerably fewer shits about the redshirt thing and appear to have their own system where that's concerned.


August 25th, 2013 at 2:26 PM ^

I was at that game, and I can honestly say I don't remember most of the second half, so what I remember is a competetive game that Michigan had a very good chance of winning. 

It was a night game, and the announced crowd was the second largest ever for Memorial Stadium, and those Husker fans are loud and into the game--not a good situation to throw an inexperienced QB into.


August 25th, 2013 at 12:17 PM ^

I would prefer him to redshirt, straight up. The lines should be strong enough to where Brian Cleary can come in, hand it off, and throw a slant every now and then, I.e. handle all mop up duty. I want 3 years of Morris as a starter. His arm is major league.


August 25th, 2013 at 12:27 PM ^

If he is as good as advertised will he really stick around 5 years? We have Wilson coming in next year and hopefully we keep bringing in high end Pro Style guys


August 25th, 2013 at 12:53 PM ^

We can redshirt both WILTON Speight and Morris in '14 as we'll have Gardner and Bellomy capable of playing.

Then you lose nothing if eligibility. 2015 we have Bellomy, RS SO Morris, RS FR Speight and an incoming Freshman that will be redshirted. Problem solved.


August 25th, 2013 at 12:29 PM ^

It's over.  As the #2 QB, Morris's redshirt is gone.

The coaching staff does not want to get caught flat footed again.  The want a #2 that can go in if the starter is out and win the game.  Morris will need game reps to be able to do that.

This is the same reason they are playing Avery at different positions in the secondary.  They do not want to get caught flat footed again by not having backups that are game-ready and can win.




August 25th, 2013 at 12:47 PM ^

The problem is many people don't think in real football ways. What is ideal isn't what is being prepared for. Everyone would love to redshirt Shane. But the coaches job is to prepare the best team for this year and worry about the rest later. The ideal and the redshirt are secondary to this team, this team, this team.(I know, I know)


August 25th, 2013 at 12:54 PM ^

     I believe the answer is fewer than 30% of the games and none after the first half of the season.  That would allow him to play three early games (CMU, ND, and CT) without burning his redshirt.  Theoretically he would then be better prepared to replace DG if the need arises.