It's happened before: Don't count Michigan quarterback Nick Sheridan out of the Wolverines' QB competition
“No,” Sheridan said. “Not at all. Nope.”
The question referred to whether or not he felt people were writing him off in the public perception of Michigan’s three-headed quarterback competition or if he gets frustrated about answering questions about his competitors, Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson.
And to be sure, there were many thrown at the junior quarterback - the first time any of the three contenders for the position faced the media this fall.
Sure, part of the reason Sheridan fielded questions about Forcier and Robinson has to do with quarterback competitions being sexy copy for media and, frankly, what fans care about. And it also has to do with Michigan’s policy of not letting freshmen, which Forcier and Robinson are, speak to the media.
Sheridan, though, has almost become an afterthought - much like he was last season when it appeared that Steven Threet would win the job last preseason after transferring in from Georgia Tech.
Except Sheridan played well enough in training camp to win the job and the start in the season-opener against Utah. It’s part of why none of this bothers him, be it questions about the freshmen quarterbacks or the fact that many are already anointing Forcier, even though Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said last week he won’t name a starter until game week and possibly even game day.
“I think I have a self-driven ambition to work hard,” Sheridan said. “So as far as you guys (the media) adding fuel to my fire, I’ve been written off before, so that’s OK.
“You’re just doing your job.”
So why could Sheridan win the job, despite the tea leaf reading that Forcier seems to be in line to take the thing based on Rodriguez’ praise for the Californian?
First, is experience. He’s been in the system for a full year, played in the system last year and has demonstrated the ability to have a brief flash of success against Minnesota last year when he threw for 203 yards and a touchdown. There’s also that he feels like he’s stronger - he weighs between 215 and 220 pounds - and athletic enough to handle what a spread option quarterback needs to do.
He wouldn’t, though, say any of that. Instead, he deflected the question, throwing out the old clichÃ©s of doing what’s best for Michigan and trying as hard as he can when he’s out there.
There’s little doubt he’s doing that.
“You can tell Nick has been in the system a year and he’s an older guy because he’s seeing things a whole lot quicker,” Rodriguez said. “But those other guys, yesterday’s practice in particular, they made a lot of plays as well.”
For almost a week and a half now, the three are competing still. And Rodriguez said they’ll start to analyze what’s going on further - both with what the quarterbacks have grasped and who could b inching ahead - at the end of the week, which leaves exactly two weeks until the Sept. 5 opener against Western Michigan.
And Rodriguez said both Forcier and Robinson are on pace to where they’d like them.
So what does he think it’ll take for any of the quarterbacks to win the job?
“The guy who makes the best decisions and takes care of the football and makes plays, you know, limits the negative yardage plays and penalties and turnovers,” Sheridan said. “The guy who does that the best is going to play the most.”
Is that Sheridan? And what makes him think he’s the best guy for the job instead of the two freshmen? None of this, though, is to say Sheridan will actually win the job.
“I don’t know,” Sheridan said. “You have to ask Coach Rod about that. I don’t know how to answer that.
“That’s the typical question. What do I bring that they don’t?”
The answer of whether he does or not will start to shake out over the next couple of weeks.