Michigan's 2017 football season will be remembered primarily for the health and performance of its quarterbacks. Two long term injuries and one ineffective player contributed to a season in which which we find ourselves asking "What if?". It is not hard to see, with just a little more luck, three more wins and a trip to the B1G championship and the College Football Playoffs within reach. As always, when we look to the future we consider the past. How well have Michigan's quarterbacks historically held up throughout the 12+ game season?
|Year||Head Coach||Quarterback's Season Summary||Record with healthy 1st choice QB||Record with backups/walking wounded/midgame injury QB|
|2017||Harbaugh||Wilton Speight wins the starting job. He is knocked out for the year in the 4th game (Purdue). John O'Korn is his replacement. He is benched in the 8th game (Rutgers) for ineffectiveness. Brandon Peters is his replacement. Peters is injured in the 11th game (Wisconsin). John O'Korn finishes the season. (Bowl pending)||3-0||5-4|
|2016||Harbaugh||Wilton Speight wins the starting job. He plays until the end of the 10th game (Iowa) of the season, but afterwards is reported to be injured. Initially it is reported he will be out for the season, with John O'Korn playing the 11th game (Indiana). Wilton Speight does start the 12th game (OSU) and the bowl game but there are questions regarding how badly his injury may have limited his effectiveness. Speight is rumored to have offseason surgery to fix the injury but this is never officially confirmed.||9-0||1-3|
|2015||Harbaugh||Jake Rudock wins the starting job. He is injured in the 8th game (Minnesota) of the season. Wilton Speight is his replacement. Rudock returns for the next game. Rudock is injured again in the 12th game (OSU) and again replaced by Speight. Rudock returns for the bowl game.||9-2||1-1|
|2014||Hoke||Devin Gardner wins the starting job. He is replaced in the 4th game (Utah) of the season due to ineffectiveness. Shane Morris is his replacement. Devin Gardner returns in the 5th game (Minnesota) when Shane Morris is infamously concussed. Devin Gardner plays the remainder of the season.||5-5||0-2|
|2013||Hoke||Devin Gardner wins the starting job. He starts the entire regular season and plays through the 12th game (OSU). In that game, he is reported to break his foot but stays in the game. He is replaced for the bowl game by Shane Morris.||7-4||0-2|
|2012||Hoke||Denard Robinson wins the starting job. He is injured in the 8th game (Nebraska) of the season and replaced by Russell Bellomy. Bellomy is ineffective, and Devin Gardner (who had been practicing as a wide receiver) is the starter for the remainder of the season including the bowl. Denard Robinson returns but his injury prevents him from throwing effectively, so he is used as a running back / wildcat.||5-2||3-3|
|2011||Hoke||Denard Robinson wins the starting job. He is injured at the end of the 7th game (MSU) of the season and replaced by Devin Gardner. Robinson returns the following week but is injured again in the 10th game (Illinois) and replaced by Devin Gardner again. Again Robinson returns the following week and plays the remainder of the season.||10-1||1-1|
|2010||Rodriguez||Denard Robinson wins the starting job. He is injured in the 4th game (Bowling Green) and replaced by Tate Forcier, who is injured in the same game and replaced by Devin Gardner. Robinson returns for the next game. Robinson starts, is injured and replaced by Tate Forcier in the 7th (Iowa), 9th (Illinois), and 12th games (OSU) of the season, returning the following week in each case. In this season Denard Robinson was frequently "dinged up" and replaced by Forcier for a series or so. I have noted only games in which Robinson could not return and finish the game.||5-4||2-2|
|2009||Rodriguez||Tate Forcier wins the starting job, with Denard Robinson used as a change-of-pace QB in some situations. In the 6th game (Iowa) Forcier is pulled for Robinson. Forcier is later said to have sustained a concussion during the game but starts and plays briefly in a blowout win the following week. Forcier starts for the remainder of the season.||5-6||0-1|
|2008||Rodriguez||Rodriguez's first season featured Steven Threet and Nick Sheridan splitting time, as both are highly ineffective. I am honestly not sure how one would characterize this season, apart from its 3-9 record.||*||*|
|2007||Carr||Chad Henne wins the starting job. He is injured in the 2nd game (Oregon) and replaced by Ryan Mallett. Henne does not return until the 5th game (Northwestern), when he reclaims the starting position. In the 8th game (Iowa) Henne is reinjured and Mallett returns. Mallett starts the 9th game (Minnesota). Henne starts the remainder of the season including the bowl, although he was withdrawn very early in the 11th game (Wisconsin) and did not return.||5-2||4-2|
|2006||Carr||Chad Henne wins the starting job. He starts every game of the season, never withdrawing from a game due to injury or ineffectiveness.||11-2||0-0|
|2005||Carr||Chad Henne wins the starting job. He starts every game of the season, never withdrawing from a game due to injury or ineffectiveness.||8-4||0-0|
|2004||Carr||After the graduation of John Navarre, Matt Gutierrez is slated to be Michigan's starting quarterback for 2004. However he suffers a shoulder injury before the season opener and is replaced by true freshman Chad Henne. Henne is unusually effective for a freshman and never relinquishes the starting job. I am not sure at exactly what point he would have said to have transitioned from an injury replacement to the preferred starter.||*||*|
- 2015 against Utah: Newly-arrived transfer Jake Rudock was clearly not on the same page with his wide receivers, which contributed to 3 INTs (one returned for a TD) in a game decided by one touchdown.
- 2015 against Michigan State: In which MSU's victory came via a literal 1-in-a-1000 occurrence on the last play of the game.
- One might also include 2015 against Ohio State. Technically starter Rudock was injured in the second half of the game, but the score was well out of hand by the time the injury occurred. We are tending to blame DJ Durkin for spending too much time on his resume and not enough on his game planning.