The task for the new QB coach Rod Smith
When Spring Practice commences next week, much of the attention will be focused on the quarterback position as Michigan is implementing a new offensive system and is without an experienced quarterback. New quarterbacks coach Rod Smith (who took over for the highly regarded Scot Loeffler) is tasked with the responsibility of bringing Steven Threet, David Cone, and walk-on Nick Sheridan up to speed with the intricacies of the Spread Offense. In the fall, true freshman Justin Feagin (a true dual-threat QB) will arrive and be added to the mix. Coach Smith was the quarterbacks coach at WVU in 2007 after having spent the previous six seasons at the University of South Florida (2001-2006). He served as the Offensive Coordinator/QB coach at USF during the 2005 and 2006 seasons. At Michigan, Coach Smith's first challenge will be to train an inexperienced trio of signal callers whose only previous college coaching has been in a pro-style system. It will also be interesting to see during the Spring if running back Carlos Brown takes snaps at quarterback as he was a dual-threat quarterback in high school. Coach Smith's ability to impart to his charges the intricacies of the spread offense during the course of Spring Practice will be critical in determining whether the team is ready in the Fall. The ability to train someone from within is made all the more critical by the fact that it does not appear right now that there is any immediate help coming from the outside. Not only does it appear that 2008 super recruit Terrelle Pryor will commit elsewhere, but also that 2009 super recruit Russell Shepard [a 5-star dual-threat QB from Houston (TX) Cypress Ridge] will not attend Michigan as well as Shepard just verbally committed to LSU last week. Thus, rather than waiting for a big recruit to come "save" Michigan, it is Coach Smith's job to work with the talent the Wolverines have and prepare them to run Michigan's offense of the future. He has his work cut out for him. Go Blue!