Shane Morris

Harbaugh has named UM”s starting QB — just not publicly

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Michigan released its depth chart Monday and declined to publicly name a starting quarterback, instead putting an “OR” between the two combatants for the job, Iowa transfer Jake Rudock (pictured, right) and junior “incumbent” Shane Morris (pictured, middle).  That, though, doesn’t mean Jim Harbaugh hasn’t done so privately.

On the Big Ten teleconference Tuesday, Harbaugh acknowledged that both Rudock and Morris know who will start the opener against Utah Thursday night. And, according to the coach, keeping the upcoming opponent in the dark about the identity of the starter is merely icing on the cake.

“I feel like I want both of them to prepare that they’re going to be the starter, I want both of them going into this game with the mindset that they’re one play away or starting, that’s the mindset I always want our quarterback and backup quarterback [to have],” said Harbaugh. “They know [who will start vs. the Utes]…

“We know who’s going to start, we know who’s going to go in second or who is going to go in next. We want them both to prepare like they’re going to be the starter. I don’t know how to make it any more clear than that.

“If [keeping Utah guessing] is another positive or byproduct of it, then we’ll take that as well.”

Most observers believe that Rudock has the inside track to the job based on his experience — he was a two-year starter with the Hawkeyes — although Morris has reportedly had a strong camp.

Michigan declines to name starting QB in initial depth chart

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Like his colleagues in Tuscaloosa, Tallahassee and ColumbusJim Harbaugh is going to take as long as possible to declare a starting quarterback.

The Wolverines released their initial depth chart Monday in advance of their Thursday night opener at Utah, and senior Jake Rudock and junior Shane Morris share the first team spot. True freshman Alex Malzone and redshirt freshman Wilton Speight are still in a dead heat for the third spot.

Rudock, a transfer from Iowa, completed 213-of-345 passes (61.7 percent) for 2,436 yards (7.1 per attempt) with 16 touchdowns against five interceptions last year for the Hawkeyes. In limited action, Morris connected on 14-of-40 passes (35 percent) for 128 yards with no touchdowns and three picks.

Additionally, De’Veon Smith will start at running back, and Amara Darboh or Drake Harris will start at one receiver spot while Jehu Chesson or Grant Perry will share the other spot.

Michigan faces the Utes at 8:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1. The network is pulling out all the stops for Harbaugh’s debut.

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PETA investigated two (Michigan) Wolverines and a wallaby

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Some people have dogs as pets. Others have cats. Others have fish, and perhaps some have other animals like lizards or frogs or turtles or snakes. How many have a wallaby?

Recently, Michigan football players were seen around the Ann Arbor campus posing for photos with a young wallaby, which was allegedly trying to be sold by the Michigan student-athletes. The wallaby, originally purchased in Michigan, was discovered on the Instagram page of Michigan wide receiver Jack Wangler, which was shared by quarterback Shane Morris. Per MLive.com, Wangler said the animal was not living in the apartment shared by he and Morris, but the animal was merely visiting. However, it was Wangler who reportedly answered the phone when a call to the phone number attached to the listing for the wallaby was called.

The People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, PETA, organized a deal with the Detroit Zoo to provide a safe home for the wallaby. Instead, the wallaby was returned to the breeder that originally sold the animal. The wallaby was reportedly returned in excellent condition, according to a PETA representative, and doing well. Still, it was PETA’s preference the wallaby be given a chance to live out its life in the zoo alongside its own kind.

Ultimately a wallaby doesn’t belong in a private home any more than a wolverine does,” PETA Foundation deputy director of captive animal law enforcement Brittany Peet said, per MLive.com. “These students and the University of Michigan had an opportunity to step up and set a great example by allowing the wallaby to spend the rest of its life with other wallabies in a natural habitat in an accredited facility. Unfortunately, they dropped the ball.”

Nice football puns there, Peet.

Shane Morris: Michigan starting QB job is mine to lose

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When Michigan added Iowa transfer quarterback Jake Rudock, many suspected the former Hawkeye would have a pretty good chance of walking in and taking the starting job. This is far from a given, of course, and Shane Morris is not about to just let him take it.

“I think I can win the starting job because I have the mentality to do so,” Morris said Saturday at Michigan’s quarterback camp, per MLive.com. “Right now it’s my job to lose and I’m just going to keep working hard and fight off any competitors that are trying to take it away from me.”

To reiterate his point, Morris later said with a smile “He came here to take my job and I’m just not going to let it happen.”

Earlier this year, before the Rudock transfer had been made official, Morris said Michigan could bring in 100 quarterbacks to compete for the job and he would take them all on.

Confidence from a quarterback is what you want to have, and judging by this quote alone it would appear Morris has plenty of it. Last season Morris played in five games behind starter Devin Gardner. In those five games, Morris completed 14 of 40 pass attempts for 128 yards and he was picked off three times.

Rudock played in 12 games for Iowa last fall, competing 61.7 percent of his passes for 16 touchdowns with five interceptions thrown. Going off of numbers alone, it may just be Rudock looking to keep Morris from taking his job. But this is a brand nw era under Jim Harbaugh, and the slate should be clean for every player heading into the fall.

Ex-UM AD Dave Brandon named CEO of… Toys ‘R’ Us

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Gentleman — and ladies — fire up your keyboards and start your one-liners… not yet… hold on… now!

Tuesday, Toys “R” Us announced the naming of the toy company’s new CEO.  While such a development normally wouldn’t even remotely fall under CFT’s purview, the name of its new leader causes it to: Dave Brandon.

Brandon, of course, spent four years as the athletic director at Michigan.  He (ahem) “resigned” his post in late October of last year, a move that came after a month in which Brandon was assailed from numerous corners for various missteps, from the handling of the Shane Morris head injury to the corporate nature of home football games — along with the pricing — to an embarrassing string of emails from the AD to various fans.

And then there’s below, which plays off the whole Coke-for-tickets debacle a month before Brandon’s resignation:

Prior to becoming AD at his alma mater, Brandon served as the CEO of Domino’s Pizza.  His corporate background led to a growing number of fans over the years decrying that that was how he was running — or ruining, as the case may be — the storied program, especially as the losses piled up.

Regardless, Brandon is now off to his next corporate adventure.

“I consider it a tremendous privilege to assume this important leadership role at Toys ‘R’ Us, one of the most well-known retail brands in the world,” Brandon said in a statement. “I believe our best days are ahead of us and I’m eager to get started. Meeting our employees and vendors is something I very much look forward to, as we begin to work together to drive future growth and create memorable shopping experiences for our customers.”