Chad Henne should wear his red practice jersey 24/7 until 9/2/06
Michigan started its Fall Football Practice Schedule this week in preparation for its first game which will be played three weeks from today on Saturday, September 2, 2006 vs. Vanderbilt. So far, so good as there are no new injuries to report out of the first week of fall camp. During practices the quarterbacks wear red jerseys which signify to the other players not to have physical contact with them during any drills. The quarterbacks wear the red jerseys granting them this special exemption because the coaches do not want to run the risk of having a virtually irreplaceable skill position player suffer a season-ending injury in a freak accident during a practice drill. In light of the depth, or more accurately the lack thereof, at the quarterback position this year I believe that starting QB Chad Henne should have to wear his red practice jersey at all times until kickoff for the first game on September 2nd. I do not want anyone on campus accidentally bumping into Chad or dropping something on his foot or having any physical contact with him. It is imperative that Chad remain healthy for this season as the back-ups do NOT appear ready to take the reigns on a moments notice. Chad has started 24 consecutive games for the Wolverines (tied for 7th longest active streak in the NCAA) but even he is not immune to injury. If Chad were to suffer an injury then Coach Carr would be forced to look to the #2 man. The question to be answered during fall practice is will the guy designated #2 be ready?
The early favorite to be #2 on the depth chart was redshirt freshman Jason Forcier. However, after a shaky spring practice, Coach Carr announced that he would wait until true freshman David Cone arrived and then things would be re-evaluated. (See my post of May 29, 2006- 2006 Back-up QB's: Long on Talent, Short on Experience). Well Cone arrived in the summer to start working out with his new teammates and to start picking up the Michigan offense according to a recent news item written by Angelique S. Chengelis (a/k/a "The Angel of the Big House") of the Detroit News. I'm guessing that Cone's summer performance did not overwhelm Coach Carr because on Big Ten Media Day on August 2, 2006, Coach Carr said that he expected Jason Forcier to be Chad Henne's back-up. Thus, Coach Carr did not even wait to observe fall practices to sort out who would be #2 on the depth chart.
People need to remember how Chad Henne got his start. Heading into the 2004 season, it appeared as if Redshirt sophmore Matt Gutierrez was going to be the starter until he got injured in pre-season practice and then all of a sudden then true freshman Chad Henne was elevated to the starting spot. Henne was able to step into that starting role in 2004 and lead Michigan to the Rose Bowl. From all reports that I've read so far both Forcier (redshirt Fr.) and Cone (true Fr.) are still learning the offense. If Henne were to go down it seems doubtful that either back-up QB is ready to duplicate Henne's freshman feat of leading Michigan to the Big Ten title. Therefore, it is imperative that Chad try to avoid injury by wearing his red practice jersey at all times until the season starts. Go Blue!