Should Carlos Brown switch to QB?
With the departure of Chad Henne (graduation) and Ryan Mallett (pro-style offense), Michigan has two remaining scholarship quarterbacks (i.e., Steven Threet & David Cone) and a walk-on (i.e., Nick Sheridan). It has been reported that Coach Rodriguez plans to add at least a pair of quarterbacks to the roster although he typically likes to carry five (5) scholarship quarterbacks. In discussions of Michigan's quarterback situation, an interesting name has popped up: Carlos Brown. Brown (So. in 2007) was a dual threat QB in high school. In his senior year at Heard County (Ga.) High School, Brown played both running back and quarterback. He completed 27-of-52 passes for 541 yards and 7 passing touchdowns while running for 1,512 yards and scoring 21 rushing touchdowns on 135 carries.
Brown has worked out at three different positions in two years while at Michigan. Brown came to Michigan as a running back in January, 2006 (as an early enrolee), practiced some at quarterback as a freshman, switched to cornerback in 2007 Spring Practice, almost left the program, and then switched back to running back by the end of Spring Practice after Kevin Grady got hurt and was out for the 2007 season. Brown (who wears jersey #23) is extremely talented but has yet to break out like he had hoped. His situation is eerily reminiscent of that of another supremely talented player who wore #23 for the Wolverines: Jim Betts. Betts arrived to Michigan as a freshman in 1967 back when Bump Elliott was the Head Coach. Back then true freshmen were not allowed to play. Betts had played quarterback in high school at Benedictine High School (Cleveland, OH). Betts practiced as a quarterback in 1967 as a freshman but he was switched to running back in 1968. During the 1968 season, Betts was switched to wide receiver where he wound up catching 4 passes for 29 yards that season. Betts had played 3 positions in his first two seasons at Michigan but he got a new lease on life when a new head coach (Bo Schembechler) took over the team prior to his junior year of 1969. Coach Schembechler promptly switched Betts back to the quarterback spot for his junior season and Betts became a fantastic back-up to starter Don Moorhead.
Michigan's current roster of scholarship quarterbacks (Steven Threet and David Cone) are prototypical drop-back passers. Depending how successful Coach Rodriguez is in recruiting dual threat prep quarterbacks over the next few weeks, switching Brown to QB for his junior season may be a viable option. Brown, like Pat White at WVU, has tremendous speed and the spread offense seems tailor made for Brown's skills. Coach Rodriguez emphasizes that the QB has to be able to make quick reads, hit holes, and throw well. Brown may well decide a switch to QB is in order. The arrival of Coach Rodriguez and the spread offense could give him a new lease on life. Go Blue!
*Note: Top Photo of Carlos Brown (23) from 2006 Media Day by JOHN T. GREILICK/The Detroit News
*Note 2: Bottom Photo of Jim Betts (23) from TK Legacy Michigan Signature Series Card.