Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh knows who his quarterback will be this weekend against Hawaii. Michigan's quarterbacks know whom Harbaugh has picked. Everyone else appears to be in the dark, and that will probably be the way things remain until noon Saturday.
Harbaugh and his coaching staff said throughout the past month that they're pleased with the improvement from all their quarterbacks, and that led to a competition that is further along than it was a year ago, when Jake Rudock was eventually named the starter. This year, the frontrunners are redshirt sophomore Wilton Speight and Houston transfer John O'Korn, with senior Shane Morris also competing for the spot.
"We know who our starting quarterback is, yes. I'll say who our starting quarterback is before Saturday," Harbaugh said at a news conference Monday before pausing to add, "I didn't say I was going to say it to you."
Outside the quarterback room, Michigan players claim they have no idea who will break the huddle for the team's first snaps against Hawaii. Tight end and newly appointed captain Jake Butt said he hasn't noticed one guy standing out above the rest. Cornerback Jourdan Lewis said Harbaugh hasn't tipped his hand in the slightest.
"Coach Harbaugh keeps everything a secret, especially from us, the defense," Lewis said. "He's trying to go out there and destroy us every single day. Both those guys are going out there and getting reps and competing."
The coach was a bit more publicly forthcoming when asked what he wanted to see from the winner of a tight competition. He said because none of the quarterbacks has a ton of game experience at Michigan, he wanted to see how they performed in situations relevant to a live game.
"I want to see the things that would really translate to the game, in terms of moving the offense, putting drives together, making first down, converting third downs, putting the team into the end zone, avoiding the turnovers and mistakes that hurt drives and keep points off the board," Harbaugh said. "That's been the major criteria. We've looked at everything, but that above all on the list has been what we're trying to evaluate in practices."
Speight, O'Korn and Morris all spoke to reporters late last week and said that they didn't know who had won the competition. Speight said he "had a good feel" for the direction things were trending but didn't want to try to read too deeply into the unpredictable mind of his head coach.
He and O'Korn agreed that it didn't much matter if they learned officially who would be starting early in preseason camp or a few minutes before they leave the locker room for the first game. Apparently, the mystery has been solved. Everyone else will just have to wait.