ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Don’t expect any announcement on Michigan’s starting quarterback before next week.
Iowa transfer Jake Rudock and junior Shane Morris are the presumptive favorites, but coach Jim Harbaugh isn’t tipping his hand yet. He was asked about the competition Thursday, a week before Michigan opens at Utah.
“I was informed that our competition for Thursday night’s ballgame, that Utah will be sending us their official depth chart Monday,” Harbaugh said. “In the interest of fair, healthy competition, we will also send our official depth chart on Monday.”
Harbaugh and a few Michigan players spoke to reporters Thursday, ending a three-week stretch in which they made hardly any public appearances while preparing for the season. The opener between the Wolverines and Utes figures to be one of the most anticipated games of the college football season’s first week.
It’s a rematch of a game Utah won 26-10 in Ann Arbor last season, so there’s certainly no opportunity for Michigan to ease into its schedule in Harbaugh’s first season. It’s one of a handful of games Thursday involving FBS teams.
“The only other games that’ll be going on are NFL preseason games,” Harbaugh said. “Having had some experience in playing and coaching in those games, I understand people probably tune in and then switch over to our game pretty quick, so it’s a big stage.”
It’s been an offseason of nonstop hype for Michigan after Harbaugh was hired in late December following a successful run with the San Francisco 49ers. The Wolverines are trying to rebound from a 5-7 showing last season under Brady Hoke, and if they can beat Utah, expectations may rise quickly.
Harbaugh seemed leery of all the attention when he announced at media day earlier this month that he and his team wouldn’t be heard from again for a while. Thursday was a chance for players to shed some light on how fall camp has gone.
“It’s been an experience that I’ll probably tell my kids about when I’m older,” offensive lineman Kyle Kalis said. “It’s definitely been like a camp we’ve never had before, and I think that’s going to pay off in dividends down the road this year, and this upcoming Thursday, too.”
When asked for examples of what Harbaugh has done differently, Kalis said: “Wow, where can I start?”
“During camp, a lot of teams will have practice in the morning,” he said. “Coach Harbaugh wants to do it in the hottest time of the day, so it’s 1 to 4, specifically to shape the body and mold the mind.”
Harbaugh said he hasn’t decided if running back Drake Johnson will play against Utah, but Johnson - injured last season in the finale against Ohio State - is cleared and practicing. Harbaugh said defensive tackle Bryan Mone could miss the season with a broken bone in his lower leg.
NOTES: Michigan recently signed a lucrative deal with Nike that begins in August 2016, and that includes a partnership with the “Jumpman” brand. Harbaugh described his surprise when Michael Jordan actually called him. “My phone rang and it was a number that I didn’t know. I said hello, and I didn’t catch the whole name - you know how sometimes cellphones cut out,” Harbaugh said. “I said, ‘Excuse me? I didn’t get - phone cut out, who is this?’ And he said, ‘This is Michael Jordan.’ I said, ‘Come oooon! Come on. Who is it?’” Harbaugh said wife Sarah was “very, very impressed” that Jordan called him. … Michigan elected LB Joe Bolden and FB Joe Kerridge as captains.
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