By: Will Burchfield
There is not a quarterback controversy at Michigan as far as Jim Harbaugh is concerned, even if fans are trying to stir one up.
So he hasn’t talked to starter Wilton Speight about all the attendant chatter, hasn’t advised him to block it out.
“No, I haven’t had that conversation. Nor do I think I need to. Wilton is very focused, as we all are, players and coaches, on the task at hand,” Harbaugh told the Jamie and Stoney Show on 97.1 The Ticket. “Each week in football you devote your thoughts, your time, your energy into your opponent. You respect whoever you play so much that that’s where your focus is.”
No. 7 Michigan will take on Air Force on Saturday and Speight will start at quarterback. The redshirt junior has had a slow start to the season, but Harbaugh isn’t about to give up on a guy who led the Wolverines to 10 wins last season and was terrific prior to injuring his left shoulder in November.
After Michigan’s win over Cincinnati on Saturday in which Speight was alternately good and bad, Harbaugh talked about the importance of maintaining patience with an especially young team.
“I’d like to clarify because some of the things that were written is, ‘Jim Harbaugh asks for patience.’ I did not ask for patience, I’m not asking for it now. I’m saying, ‘I have patience.’ But Wilton’s good, and we put all our focus on that. Maybe fans think about it once a week or maybe once a day. Our thoughts are on our opponent and who we’re playing this week hundreds of times a day,” said Harbaugh.
At his Monday press conference, Harbaugh was visibly frustrated by a line of questioning about Michigan’s quarterback situation. He reiterated that Speight is the starter and then rolled his eyes at a follow-up concerning backup Brandon Peters.
There’s no denying that a disproportional amount of attention has been paid to one position on the roster.
” That’s okay, and I’m great with questions about football and what’s going on on the field,” Harbaugh said. “Sometimes I take umbrage with people that want to talk about things that aren’t about the field. I think if you’re a good reporter those are the main things that you’re covering and that people who like football want to hear about.
“I’m more than happy to talk about the things on the field.”
(Of course, when asked about something that happened on the field on Saturday — namely, Michigan’s struggles — Harbaugh was in no mood to talk.)
Harbaugh said he’s been pleased with his team through the first two weeks of the season. It hasn’t always been easy, certainly not like it was last September, but Harbaugh has faith in the group at hand.
“It’s one of the cornerstones of the program and what I personally believe in as a coach, that you have a vision for the football team. You have a plan that you put into place and you follow that,” he said. “There’s some improvising and adjusting and battlefield decisions that take place along the way, but I have patience to see that plan through. That’s a core, fundamental belief.”