2006 Back-up QBs: Long on Talent, Short on Experience
The depth chart is looking a little shallow at the QB position once you look beyond starter and All-Big 10 candidate Chad Henne (junior). With Henne firmly entrenched in the starting role, back-up Matt Gutierrez transferred to Division I-AA Idaho State to presumably take over the starting job at that school. The loss of the experienced Gutierrez, who would have been a 5th year senior this year, has left quite a void at the #2 spot on the depth chart. Currently, redshirt Sophmore Jason Forcier, who ran the scout team offense last year, is listed by default as the back-up quarterback. The projected #3 QB on the depth chart is David Cone, a true freshman-to-be, who won't even be enrolled in U-M until August, 2006. After that we have walk-ons including 5th-year senior Jeff Kastl who did see mop-up duty in 2 games last year and threw one incomplete pass. Uh, is it too late to ask Gutierrez to come back if we ask really nicely? Or, maybe, Mallett can take a whole lot of summer classes and graduate REALLY early so he can start at U-M this fall.
Actually, Forcier was pretty heavily recruited coming out of high school and is highly regarded for his running as well as his throwing ability. As the scout team QB last year he focused on playing the role of the opponent each week. The problem is that he did not have very much time to learn the Michigan offense. As their new #2, Forcier has been receiving a crash course this season regarding the main points of U of M's offense. The learning curve has sometimes been steep and the final spring practice was not very encouraging. Coach Carr's comments about Forcier were not exactly reassuring. One of the comments was along the lines of that he will have to re-evaluate things once David Cone arrives. Well who the heck is David Cone and when is he arriving?
David Cone is a lightly recruited QB (read: U-M was only major school to offer) from Statesboro, GA. Cone attended QB Coach Scott Loeffler's quarterbacks' camp last summer. Going into the camp, Cone had not received any major scholarship offers but Loeffler, a legendary judge of QB talent, was impressed with Cone's accuracy and command. According to "The Wolverine", U of M offered Cone a scholarship during the camp and Cone officially signed his letter of intent in February, 2006. He will enroll in U-M in August of this year. Cone has not even set foot on campus and he already has a real chance to play himself into the #2 spot on the depth chart.
I really hope Henne's good fortune holds out and he is able to stay healthy for a third consecutive season. If he doesn't, Forcier and/or Cone are going to get a shot of a lifetime. I just hope they can rise to the challenge. Go Blue!