Michigan 20, Indiana 10

Tag: John O’Korn

20Nov 2016
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Michigan 20, Indiana 10


De’Veon Smith (image via The Comeback)

Phew! Michigan is a better team than Indiana, but the combination of wind, snow, and the backup quarterback made this one questionable. My game preview failed to take into account the weather, but if I had realized the weather was going to be that nasty, I would have throttled down my 31-17 prediction. Backup quarterback John O’Korn grew up in Pennsylvania, but he played his high school football in Florida, played most of his college football in Houston, practices indoors at Michigan sometimes, and played most of this season in balmy weather. This would have been tough weather for starter Wilton Speight to excel in, so O’Korn did about as well as should have been expected.

Hit the jump for more on the win over Indiana.

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14Nov 2016
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Wilton Speight might have a broken collarbone


Michigan starting quarterback Wilton Speight reportedly has a broken collarbone (LINK), which I had been hearing since Sunday morning. Coincidentally – or not – Speight also suffered a collarbone injury in high school, an occurrence that allowed him to petition for an extra year of high school eligibility.

That means redshirt junior John O’Korn should slide into the starting job this week when Michigan faces Indiana. Speight has been the #2 quarterback all season, and many people suggested he was the best quarterback on the roster in 2015, when Jake Rudock had a great second half of the year and became an NFL draft pick. Even through the spring, when Speight was taking first-team reps, lots of “insiders” – including the mods at Rivals – insisted O’Korn would be the starter. I initially believed O’Korn would succeed Rudock, but after watching them play this spring, I reached the conclusion that Speight would probably be The Guy.

Hit the jump for more on the quarterback situation.

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20Aug 2016
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2016 Season Countdown: #22 John O’Korn

John O'Korn 230x

John O’Korn (image via MLive)

Name: John O’Korn
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 215 lbs.
High school: Ft. Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas
Position: Quarterback
Class: Redshirt junior
Jersey number: #8
Last year: I ranked O’Korn #91 and said he would redshirt (LINK). He redshirted and I am Nostradamus.

O’Korn spent the 2015 season redshirting after transferring from Houston.

He didn’t sit around and twiddle his thumbs, though. He was the scout team quarterback most of the time, and some observers said he was the best quarterback on the roster, and that included the option of starter Jake Rudock. Rudock threw for over 3,000 yards, got drafted, and has completed about 80% of his passes in two NFL pre-season games. To say O’Korn was better than him might be a stretch, especially because here I have him sitting at #22 on the team, and a starting quarterback should be higher than #22.

You may have guessed by now that I’m pegging Wilton Speight as the starter. I like the physical tools that I’ve seen from O’Korn, both at Houston and in the practices where I’ve seen him. He is a better athlete and a more natural quarterback than Speight. They say slow and steady wins the race, and while that’s not always true . . .

. . . it may hold some water in the quarterback battle. O’Korn has starting experience from Houston, he runs well, and he has a strong arm. You keep hearing that he makes more bad decisions or turnovers, though, and that’s a problem for a ball control offense. Jim Harbaugh won’t settle for a QB who throws 25 touchdowns and 25 interceptions, at least not if he can help it. I don’t think O’Korn would be that careless after spending two seasons at Michigan, but I do think Harbaugh would rather have a guy with an 18:5 TD-to-INT ratio than a 1:1.

O’Korn still has some considerable value here at #22. First, he may still earn the starting job, whether it’s for the opener against Hawaii or if Speight doesn’t play up to Harbaugh’s standards. Second, a backup QB is often needed in key situations, just like Speight was needed against Minnesota last season after Rudock got injured. And third, as Harbaugh likes to say, steel sharpens steel. Even if O’Korn doesn’t take a single snap this year, his presence will keep Speight working hard to hold on to the pole position.

Prediction: Backup quarterback

2Apr 2016
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Spring Game Observations

Ty Isaac 806x

Ty Isaac beat Jabrill Peppers to the edge for a long gain (image via MLive)

After watching Brandon Peters last week and now this week, I have very high hopes for him. He’s not ready yet, but he’s adjusting to the college game quickly and is a good athlete. I think he has the highest upside on the team. I still think it’s a neck-and-neck battle between Speight and O’Korn. I want O’Korn to win the job because I think he has better athletic skills and you can do more things with his legs, but it’s a tough choice. (Yes, I realize Speight scored a TD on a naked bootleg, but the guy he burned was walk-on linebacker Jack Dunaway. Also, I’ve seen Peyton Manning score on a similar play, and Manning is nobody’s idea of a mobile QB.)

I’ve said it for a long time, but Isaac was the best runner on the field. He finished with 10 carries for 78 yards, including two long runs. He was also running behind an offensive line that included mostly backups, freshman left tackle Grant Newsome, and center Mason Cole. He’s not without flaws (for example, he doesn’t have the same angry fervor as De’Veon Smith when trying to break tackles), but Isaac looks improved from last year. Kareem Walker looked decent, though the competition he shined most against were walk-ons. Kingston Davis recovered enough from last week’s undisclosed injury to notch a couple carries, but he didn’t have a lot of room to run; he looks like a truck, but he probably needs to shed a few pounds. Of the fullbacks, I’m not in love with Henry Poggi because he’s just not a guy who’s a threat with the ball in his hands. I really like Khalid Hill there, and I think Bobby Henderson can be a Kerridge-like player (though I’m not sure about his hands yet).

Hit the jump for the rest of the position-by-position rundowns.

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