No. 7 Michigan sticking with shaky Speight against Air Force
ANN ARBOR — Jim Harbaugh appears to be growing impatient with questions about quarterback Wilton Speight.
“Wilton is the starting quarterback and we’re forging on,” Michigan’s coach said sternly.
When asked a follow-up question about third-string quarterback Brandon Peters, Harbaugh shook his head and rolled his eyes.
The seventh-ranked Wolverines (2-0) do not appear to have a quarterback controversy because Harbaugh seems to believe Speight gives them their best chance of winning, including against Air Force (1-0) on Saturday at home.
Speight, though, has not done much to win over a demanding fan base.
Michigan supporters voiced their displeasure with boos during last week’s 36-14 win over Cincinnati , a game that was closer than the final score indicates. With a returning starter at quarterback, the Wolverines were expected to have success through the air. That hasn’t happened yet. Speight has connected on barely more than half his throws and he has thrown three touchdowns and two interceptions, both of which Florida returned for scores in the opener won easily by Michigan.
Air Force coach Troy Calhoun, though, doesn’t see a lot of weaknesses when he watches the Wolverines with the ball.
“They’re going to have games where they score 50 points just with their size,” he said. “Extremely electric across the board especially when you look at their backs and their receivers and having a veteran quarterback.”
Here are some other things to watch when the Wolverines host the Falcons:
LEAN ON ME: The Wolverines haven’t had to rely on Speight’s passing because handing the ball to Ty Isaac has worked very well. He ran for a career-high 133 yards against the Bearcats after having 114 yards rushing on 11 carries against the then-No. 17 Gators.
“He’s seizing the opportunity and making the most of it,” Harbaugh said. “Good for him and good for us.”
TALE OF THE TAPE: The Wolverines’ offensive line may be able to push the Falcons’ front around. Michigan’s offensive linemen are 6-4 and 309 pounds on average, 2 inches taller and nearly 30 pounds heavier than the average size of Air Force’s defensive line.
FRESH FACES: Air Force won its seventh straight game in the opener, a 62-0 win over VMI two weeks ago. The Falcons seemed to need the rout and the extra time to prepare because they’ve had to replace 32 seniors from a year ago. The defense figured to be a work in progress, losing 11 of their 12 top tacklers, but limited VMI to just 95 yards for the second-fewest in school history.
WELCOME BACK: Air Force and Wisconsin are the two FBS programs that have their coach, defensive coordinator and offensive coordinator all working at their alma mater.
OPPORTUNISTIC D: Michigan’s defense has scored three touchdowns, tying Texas for the most in the nation by a defense, and has given up just 17 points to opposing offenses
“Nobody has played better defense than they have in the nation thus far,” Calhoun said.