How much does luck play into our QB situation?

Submitted by MGoStrength on October 13th, 2017 at 8:49 PM

I know there are lots of things we are struggling with on offense.  The WRs are young, the RBs are inconsistent, the RT is a disaster.  However, it seems like despite all those things, if we just had a slightly above average QB, we’d be undefeated and on our way to a 9-10 win season.  Instead, every game looks dicey.  So, my question is how much does luck play into getting a good QB?


Obviously Harbaugh can coach QBs.  He came in with not much to work with.  Morris didn’t pan out.  He turned Ruddock’s career around.  He got a number of high quality games from a middling recruit in Speight.  Speight has obviously struggled at times.  O’Korn had one good game, but it seems like we’re going to struggle to win with him. Peters doesn’t seem ready yet based on the fact that he’s not getting a chance.  How much of that is luck?  Harbaugh’s only guy is Peters and he seems behind where we expected.  Why?


Out of the top #15 teams’ starting QBs, only Stidham at Auburn was a higher ranked recruit than Peters.  Peters is higher ranked than JT Barrett, Trace McSorley, Kelly Bryant, Jalen Hurts, Jake Browning, Malik Rosier, Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, and Jake Fromm to name a few.  Most are older than Peters, but many played in their second year in their programs.  Maybe the common theme is many are dual threat QBs?  Maybe dual threat QBs have a shorter learning curve.  It seems like Florida has experienced the same problem.


So, how much of this is luck?  Are we just behind the times with a pro style system?  Is it too early to say there might be an issue with Peters if he doesn’t get a chance in the next few games?




October 13th, 2017 at 11:46 PM ^

Baas, Long, Stenavich on the offensive line, receivers like Edwards, Breaston, Avant were very talented.  Luck may have been a factor in getting Mike Hart.  Dudley and Massaquoi were also returning starters.


October 13th, 2017 at 8:54 PM ^

Luck has something to do with it. I think a lot of why big time recruits don't work out has to do with issues off the field. Not necessarily getting in trouble but stuff like work ethic, playbook knowledge and other things.


October 13th, 2017 at 8:57 PM ^

I think the only reason we aren't throwing Peters in there is because he or McCaffrey are our future

I don't want them ruined, because for some reason, someone on our offensive line is breaking down or not sustaining blocks every single play it seems like


October 13th, 2017 at 9:00 PM ^

unless you have a player like Vince Young or Johhny Manziel, it's very important to have a great offensive line.

Saban has won the most national championships of any current coach, here are his QBs during those years:

2003: Matt Mauk

2009: Greg McElroy

2011 & 2012: AJ McCarron

2015: Jake Coker

Not one of those guys has turned into a succesful NFL QB. Saban has won with great defense and a great offensive line that can pound the ball. Michigan has the defense, it just needs to improve offensive line play.


October 14th, 2017 at 9:48 AM ^

OSU plays future NFL WRs at QB because they run a spread offense. Look at how badly Barrett throws the ball. Meyer recruits two types of QBs every year--mobile pocket guys and dual threats with strong arms.

Perhaps Joe Milton is the kind of guy who would thrive at OSU but could stink here unless we change system to three WRs more often. McCaffery and Peters also played in spread systems, but UM goes bland too often, power formations with fullbacks and TEa.

Speight has been most successful too, from an eye test standpoint, on those games where we have 3-4 WRs and spread the field, using Evans and Higdon as draw or screen threats. I get so frustrated that our offense looks the strongest when they run uptempo and use speed.

O'Korn is a terrible decision maker, Speight was more than average.

We need to open up the offense and let Peters have a try, since Speight is out. Let Mason Cole be the vocal senior leader who guides him..

swan flu

October 13th, 2017 at 9:02 PM ^

How many of the QB's you listed play in a 1 or 2 read system? 

Look at Bryce Petty... the dude was drafted and had to play Madden to learn to read a defense.

Having a very limited coach-level knowledge I assume that Harbaugh's NFL-esque style is much harder to grasp but, when it is grasped, is considerably harder for a defense to stop.



October 13th, 2017 at 9:07 PM ^

So, how long does it take to learn his system...3 years?  And, what evidence is there to suggest Harbaugh's offense is harder to figure out?  Clemson, OSU, PSU, etc. seem to be pretty effective offensively.  Maybe you're right, maybe not, I just don't know if what you're saying seems logical or if there is any real evidence to support it.

swan flu

October 13th, 2017 at 10:06 PM ^

I could very well be wrong.

But Jim Harbaugh won an NFC championship with a team that is 7-30 since he left. I don't think he's bad at what he does.…

Scroll down to the Peterson stuff for better explanation of what I was getting at. I think, Anecdotally, that Harbaugh asks his qbs to be at level 2 or higher while other college coaches scheme around a qb at level 1.


October 14th, 2017 at 9:03 AM ^


Swan Flu linked to a good article.   Here is a quote of the level's since Chris Brown is quoting Chris Petersen:  


Chris Petersen laid out the three levels:

  1. Strict progression. Tell him to read first receiver, second receiver, and then third receiver — and then run like hell if they aren’t open. In Petersen’s view, if they don’t know anything else they can know, by rote memory, who they are supposed to throw to. This doesn’t require them to have any advance knowledge of the defense and it is where every quarterback begins.
  2. Progression with coverage keys. The same progression concept as above except that the progression and sequence of receivers is determined by what the defense is doing. How many safeties are there? What kind of leverage are you getting from the cornerbacks? Is it a blitz? Is it man or zone? Once you’ve determined that, it’s one-two-three.
  3. Coverage reads. This is the advanced NFL stuff: Tom Brady sees the defense doing X, so he looks one way and then rifles it back to the receiver he always knew he was going to because he understood the coverage, he understood the technique the defense was playing, and he understood the theory of the play he was running. There are few, if any, college quarterbacks who ever do this kind of thing.


(Side note:  I'm playing the "Mike Vick" Iphone passing app right now.  It's o.k., despite being a knock-off and creating a false association with Michael Vick, but I'm having fun trying to figure out the passing routes.   Is there a video game that actually teaches you football?  Is there a particular version of Madden or NCAA football that's better than the others?  I'd like to be at level 2 or 3 in my football watching. )


October 13th, 2017 at 9:21 PM ^

Incredibly average and inconsistent offensive line effects both the run and the pass game.  Inconsistent running back play both when they have the ball in their hand but I think even more in their pass protection - it has been well below average.  The young receivers do not run crisp routes and do not get separation.  The QB is consistently running for their life and after being hit everytime you drop back to pass you tend to watch the pass rush and not go through your progressions...........Definitely not all on the QB


October 13th, 2017 at 9:27 PM ^

I would kill for a true dual threat QB right now. It pains me to see fast, athletic QB's at OSU, PSU, MSU, Oklahoma, Clemson, even Alabama got rid of the slow, pocket passers. With a piss poor oline like Michigan's, a running QB would help the running game immensely


October 13th, 2017 at 10:48 PM ^

Yeah exactly. If they can take it to the house from anywhere outside the 20 then sure it's a "mobile QB" and chances are they aren't good at executing throws that aren't RPOs, screens or super basic reads. If you have a QB equally capable at both then congrats you have Desean Watson, Marcus Marion's, Lamar Murray or maybe Pat Maholms.


October 13th, 2017 at 9:40 PM ^

Not sure about "luck"

Some coaches seem to regularly have great or rotton QB's- that doesn't seem statistically possible under the luck theory.


My guess is that some coaches are simply better at evaluating the true value of a QB rather than following the "recruit the kid with the most stars" strategy


October 13th, 2017 at 10:01 PM ^

I think that to several points earlier in the week, Harbaugh wants to run a complex pro-style offense with a significant number of reads required between the QB and receivers/ends, as well, an endless number of formations from which to run many of those plays.

My take is that many of the spreads are much more focused on speed and getting the maximum number of plays per game...tonights Syracuse/Clemson game noted that Syracuse was looking to get between 95-100 plays on offense.

Given the average age and experience on offense, greatly simplifying many of the concepts would most likely greatly help with execution.


October 13th, 2017 at 10:07 PM ^

Why is Peters behind where we expected? Because he can’t beat out upperclassmen as a redshirt freshmen? Mayb that is a good sign you should adjust your expectations because a redshirt freshmen starting and leading a good team is the exception, not thto norm.

I love how the board trots out 2 or 3 freshmen who start on good teams and act as if Harbaugh whiffed on Peters because of it. It kind of makes me happy that he has raised expectations enough that we question him when he can’t do something less than 1% of teams do (have freshmen starting at QB)


October 13th, 2017 at 11:34 PM ^

I think we should ask how lucky/unlucky for our OL development. I thought we will be ready for national contendr, now seeing this OL, with Cole and Kulger leaving next year. We need to wait another two years.

There is no point to try too many spread. the team does not have enough rep to change their play book in a week or two. At the point, we just have to grind it out and see how much they can improve. The OL and RB develpment is a disappointment, especailly RB pass blocking and fumbling. That's on coaching. They don't put their players in a good position to succeed.

with good enough play calling, this offense can still do a lot of damage. However, I don't have too much faith though, the sampling size for 5 games is good enough.I would doubt that they have any creativity. they may improve the game management, such as run/pass balance, etc.they don't have time to design new play and drill it.




October 13th, 2017 at 11:38 PM ^

Just thinking that just having a "just above average" QB would not be enough to compensate for all the other problems with the offense trying to run this pro-style scheme.  Maybe if you have a much better than average QB and excellent receivers you can get by with a less than stellar offensive line.