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]


Eastside Maize

August 25th, 2013 at 1:12 PM ^

Only way for Shane to get a redshirt was if Cleary beat him for no. 2 QB. Now that Shane is the back up I want him to get all the time he can in games. I don't want a repeat of Nebraska last year.


August 25th, 2013 at 1:31 PM ^

I don't want him to play so he can redshirt, but it's hard to see that happening if he is the No. 2 QB. I mean you could put in a walk on late in the game at QB instead of Morris. It's sad that the depth is this bad at QB. 


August 25th, 2013 at 1:36 PM ^

Play him as soon as possible.  There is a near 0% chance that Gardner goes through the season without getting hurt, and I'd rather Morris get some usable snaps before being put out there like Bellomy last year.  And I'm not a huge proponent of 5th-year starters being a goal; you should be recruiting sufficiently that you have a number of upper-classmen available year-over-year to be able to fill in for a player leavinga fter 4 years of play.


August 25th, 2013 at 1:42 PM ^

I think Shane is a very talented kid and will be a solid QB for Michigan, but he doesn't strike me as a generational talent, so I don't understand the concern about keeping him around for a 5th year. Between Speight and the 2 other QBs we'll recuit in the next 2 years, I don't think its a foregone conclusion that Shane will be the best of the group.


August 25th, 2013 at 1:54 PM ^

He should absolutely play - see Nebraska last year. In addition, if Devin has a huge year, he may go pro and Shane needs to be ready to be the man next year.

When he does play, I hope that he gets some real action - actually full offense including play action, deep throws, etc. Don't want him to just handoff.


August 25th, 2013 at 2:05 PM ^

A) he is the backup and he needs the experience. B) I don't want to see Gardner get hurt late in a game because you are trying to save shane's redshirt. If Brian corset is the backup they will wait until their are 2 minutes left in the game to bring in the back up. If Morris burns his redshirt you could try to bring him in a little earlier so he could throw the ball a bit.

eamus_caeruli (not verified)

August 25th, 2013 at 2:05 PM ^

Get over it, he is gonna play this year. The world won't end, Michigan football will continue on and Shane wants to play anyways. I think the coaches and all of us fans feel they messed up by not taking a QB in 2012. It is done and over with, move forward, team and program will be fine if not better for it.


August 25th, 2013 at 2:08 PM ^

who actually think Shane is going to redshirt . . . no way.

Here are some possible scenarios, most already mentioned in some fashion:

1.  Gardner hurt in critical game - you want your # 2 rated QB (Shane) to be prepared to come in at a moments notice.

2.  Gardner has a fantastic year, possibly even B!0 championship and/or heisman finalist and decides (with degree in hand) to turn pro - you're happy for him, & happy Shane has gotten experience before the 14' season.

3.  Gardner has a midling year & remains uninjured, decides to stay another year - The worst case scenario is . . . "QB Battle Royale"

With the way this staff is recruiting (particularly O-line) worrying about your starting QB 2 years from now is pointless.  They are being paid to try & win EVERY game THIS year, and should utilize every asset to make that happen.  Burning Shane';s redshirt isn't as shortsighted as it might first appear.


August 25th, 2013 at 2:17 PM ^

because the best time for him to come in and get his first-ever college snaps would be right after a Devin injury in a tight game against a B1G opponent that is critical for our division/conference championship hopes.  That usually works out fabulously well for new QBs.

Did the OP miss the news that Morris has been named #2 already, eliminating any realistic possibility of a RS?  

Look forward to seeing him play in the second half on Saturday.  I'll be there.


August 25th, 2013 at 2:44 PM ^

One thing not too many people are thinking about when we talk about Shane is that Devin is relatively inexperienced himself and really needs to get some serious snaps in game conditions.  Having said that, I say if we get several TD's ahead, give Shane some of  the reps

We have a situation with no backup which will not be the case next year and beyond. Bellomy is hurt, and there is really no one else to come in should Devin go down, even for a few series.  Devin is likely here two more years, and then it should be Shane's team.  The more time in a real game, the better.

We are talking about something that might impact us four years from now, and that also assumes that Morris will turn out to be great and that we won't recruit a better talent at QB who will be game ready by 2017.

In our situation, Hoke has few options.


August 25th, 2013 at 6:53 PM ^

Although not in game action, he's looking at more than he will vs. CMU, both in  terms of talent and coaching. You definitely want to get Morris in against the cupcakes, and if CMU doesn't qualify, we have none. This is an ego booster game for all concerned. If DG is throwing for 2.5 qtrs at a 70% completion average, you don't want only Shane in, but you want to get other backs and receivers in. Might be a wise move to cover his ass with the best OL you have though; he's not known for his mobility and it would be best to use him in three step drop patterns or from the gun where he has an immediate look at the defense and can decide where to throw the ball accordingly.


August 25th, 2013 at 2:58 PM ^

Brady Hoke has consistently put in the back-ups when the game gets out of hand. Morris has won the #2 spot fair and square, so he's going to play, unless Michigan for some reason can't put away Akron and Central Michigan.

In some ways, the worst possible case is that Morris sees only spot duty as a freshman, and then can't come back for his fifth year. That was what nearly happened to Devin Gardner, before he earned a hardship waiver for his true freshman season.

But I don't see a realistic scenario where Gardner plays every down. If the game gets to garbage time, you want your backups to get some experience. Beyond that, you don't want to risk an injury to Gardner once the game is no longer competitive.


August 25th, 2013 at 3:01 PM ^

The back-up needs to see live action where he can find it, especially when he's so young. He's gonna play. He should play. Accept it. No need worrying about what happens 4-5 years from now. 


August 25th, 2013 at 3:24 PM ^

Yes, he should. Best players play, and we need viable backups. We need Shane with experience more than we need him to redshirt. In fact, we don't need him to redshirt at all. We have Wilton Speight in the class behind him, and possibly an even better qb the year after that, so the future will be fine, this year is what worries me. I don't want to see last years Nebraska game happen ever again, especially not in successive years.


August 25th, 2013 at 3:36 PM ^

First, true freshman QBs are awful. Every quarter Morris plays in a tight game flips that from a toss up to a near-certain loss. Morris is also coming off an illness-plagued senior year and has more to overcome than your typical freshman.

Second, if he does have to play due to a Gardner boo-boo, that increases the chances our line isn't as good as we hoped, which downgrades our expectations as well.

Against that are the chances that Gardner leaves after this year in which case I'd like Morris to have run the offense against live opponents before he is the starter, and the chances that Morris doesn't stay for a fifth year anyway (NFL interest or not panning out).

Ideally, I don't want him to redshirt because I want him to have the best chance to dominate when he's the starter. I want us to be able to redshirt him because we didn't need him this year.

Oh, and to the possibility of a 2014 redshirt: I can't see it. It might be best, but if he doesn't redshirt this year, he will be the second-best QB on the roster, and I don't see the coaches accepting a downgrade in case of injury. Not to mention that Shane would rightfully be pissed - if he's the second best QB in the eyes of the coaches he deserves the spot. We might play shenanigans if Gardner is healthy all year and not play him after the first half, but he will almost certainly enter the year as Gardner's backup expecting to see the field under the same conditions as this year.


August 25th, 2013 at 6:09 PM ^

ready backup and it shows the recruiting world that UM is aggressively pushing the best kids.

Four years from now is an eternity and more QBS talent will arrive in AA the next few years.


August 25th, 2013 at 6:17 PM ^

Have we seen any backup QBs get significant snaps without an injury to the starter? I think game experience is only valuable if the QB is doing more than just handing the ball off to the running back. That's all I can recall Borges having a backup QB do. Which is why I would hate to see Morris come into the game just to hand the ball off. If he's going to throw the ball too while he's in there, I see some value.

School 4 the Gifted

August 25th, 2013 at 7:06 PM ^

But I wouldn't play him unless we have a 3 TD lead with at most 10 minutes to play.

If he is indeed our #2, he needs experience and he needs as many snaps as possible.  This season could get ugly if he has to play and doesn't have real snaps under his belt.


August 25th, 2013 at 7:41 PM ^

our most talented players. Behind Gardner, Morris by far is our next most talented QB and should be the back up. There is no guarantee that Morris will be the starer in two years. He could lose out to Wilton for the starting QB in 2015? As long as Michigan recruits good QB prospects every other year, I see no problem with our QB future. I don't mind taking a good 3*  QB recruit every 2 to 3 years just to add some depth.


August 25th, 2013 at 9:07 PM ^

I typically don't agree with redshirting a player just to try and "save" eligibility. Too much can happen in the next four or five years.  If Morris is ready to play and he's the second best quarterback, then he should play if needed.

Perkis-Size Me

August 25th, 2013 at 9:42 PM ^

Does it suck that Morris might have to burn his redshirt? Yes, it does. But if he's as good as his rankings say he is, he probably would have been playing anyway. He's got a boatload of talent. Shane is our future, but I think the coaching staff needs to treat this situation like the future is now. We have no idea if Gardner will bolt for the NFL next year, which is entirely possible if he has the kind of year he's capable of, and if he does, we do not want to find ourselves in the position of having Bellomy as the only scholarship QB to have taken snaps.

This is just my opinion, and I'll trust the coaches on their decision, but if it were me, I'd get Shane as much playing time as possible this year. We might need him next year, and I'd rather he get his feet wet now then us having to worry about it all of next offseason.


August 26th, 2013 at 12:36 PM ^

Yes, he should and probably will.  This time last year it looked like he'd be the starting QB this year and his primary weapon would be Gardner.  DG's strong finish to the year and the extra year of eligibility he's picked up have changed the equation but Shane is the backup and it's almost certain he'll need to play this year.  Shane missed a lot of his Sr. season and needs the reps, might as well get him some experience so he's ready when called upon.


August 26th, 2013 at 1:43 PM ^

I think he definitely has the upside over Bellomy (obviously in the future, but even possibly this year.. Bellomy makes me extreamly nervous). While I hope to see neither this year.. it may be best for the program to get Morris ready in these blow out games, god forbid anything happen to Devin Gardner. Bellomy is not a stop gap for Gardner getting hurt.. ever. Morris could be down the road.. but there's no doubt he needs a lot of work.