Nick Sheridan's goal: To start at quarterback for University of Michigan football team
Nobody expects Nick Sheridan to start at quarterback for Michigan this year - nobody except Nick Sheridan.
“I’m competing to be the starting quarterback here,” Sheridan said. “That’s my expectation.”
Sheridan and Steven Threet co-authored the worst season in Michigan football history, going 3-9 last year.
Sheridan, a 2006 Saline High School graduate, started four games, including the tone-setting season-opening loss to Utah, but neither he nor the lead-footed Threet, who’s since transferred to Arizona State, seemed to fit coach Rich Rodriguez’s spread offense.
Sheridan completed 46 percent of his passes, Threet was a statue in the pocket, and both players finished with more turnovers than touchdowns.
With freshmen quarterbacks Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson joining the mix this fall, sentiment is that Sheridan has seen the field for the last time as a Wolverine.
“I think fans are hoping that anything new is better than what it was,” Sheridan said. “I don’t look too far into that. The fans are expecting or hoping or whatever they are that these two freshmen come in. I hope that they turn out great, too. It’ll make our team better.
“But it doesn’t bother me that people don’t think I’m going to be competitive versus these kids or that I’m not in the competition. That’s OK. They don’t decide who plays on Saturday, so I’m not too concerned about that.”
Rodriguez has said the best quarterback will play when the Wolverines open the season Sept. 5 against Western Michigan, and ESPN analyst Shaun King - who played for Rodriguez at Tulane and still keeps in contact with his old coach - said he expects both Forcier and Robinson to see the field early.
“I would assume that Tate’s going to start, but I think that Rich is going to play both of them,” King said. “Kind of let them dictate it and see what goes along and who will ultimately be the starter for next year and beyond.”
Robinson, a Florida state sprint champion, is considered the most athletic quarterback on the roster, but a bit raw as a passer. Forcier, an early enrollee, has the advantage of going through spring practice, when he took most of the reps after Sheridan fractured his right leg in March.
Sheridan said he’s healthy now and has been participating in off-season workouts since mid May.
More than that, the former walk-on said he’s better for what he went through last year - he completed 63 of 137 passes with two touchdowns and five interceptions - and determined to help lead Michigan back to its place among the conference elite.
“The expectations at Michigan are always going to be to compete for a championship, and I don’t think that’s ever going to change,” Sheridan said. “That’s our goal every year. That was our goal last year, and, obviously, we fell short.
“We haven’t won a Big Ten title here in a few years, and we’re going to go out there and try compete for one and try to put ourselves in a position to do that. That never changes at Michigan.”
Photo: Ann Arbor News file photo. In the photo: University of Michigan quarterback Nick Sheridan scrambles for yardage against the University of Minnesota last season.