Harbaugh Adds Tough Leadership Component to Lacking Offense

By Mackenzie Richardson
EFN Staff
Published: 02/07/2015

Michigan’s recruiting class contains many solid players, but does it include the starting quarterback?

Jim Harbaugh was given a short amount of time to save a recruiting class that declined to just six recruits after Brady Hoke was fired.Coming off of a disappointing 5-7 season, Michigan’s offense was mostly to blame for the inconsistency and eventual collapse of the team.Coming into the 2015 season, Michigan’s offense is even more questionable with the loss of key players to the NFL, transfers and graduation.

Signing day brought possible answers to the Wolverines, particularly on offense and especially at quarterback with the additions of Zach Gentry and Alex Malzone.This isn’t to say that Shane Morris doesn’t have a shot at starting this year.Shane Morris does have a slight advantage, having some experience, but the incoming competition will be fierce.

Zach Gentry, a four star recruit out of Albuquerque New Mexico, is a 6’ 7” 237 Ibs pocket passer, capable of withstanding pressure and hard contact.Despite his impressive height and size, he is an agile athlete.While his mechanics may need improving, he is the type of pocket passer that won’t be easily rattled.He has the composure and awareness to extend plays with his feet.While he’s fast for his size he won’t be the fastest Division 1 quarterback, but he will be capable of picking up decent yards if need be.The right coaching and some practice in mechanics could make Gentry remind you of Tom Brady.It might even be enough to get the starting job.

Alex Malzone is another four star pocket passer.At 6’ 1” 203 Ibs, he isn’t the biggest quarterback but he makes up for it with his quickness and accuracy.As a passer he can read defenses well, and recognize openings in the defense, allowing him to deliver an accurate and catchable ball.His confidence shows when he throws a 30+ yard pass through a small window between a safety and his receiver.This has its perks and its drawbacks.His accuracy shows best in situations that require patiently, but quickly, identifying open receivers, but a coach may find Malzone’s confidence in throwing long passes into tight spaces arrogant.That said, he has the completions to back up his confidence.

Malzone reminds me of Shane Morris in his first game at Michigan.Shane Morris showed impressive speed and accuracy in the game against Central Michigan two years ago.Malzone, as a freshman, may find the speed and physical play of College football difficult to handle at first, but his potential is just too good for Harbaugh to pass on.

Harbaugh’s offensive system requires his pieces to be set in place according to his plan.To rebuild Michigan’s offensive unit he’ll need players who can be molded into what he needs.Morris has shown to be moldable, but he is coming off a season of injuries that could slow him down.Gentry and Malzone as freshmen are his moldable pieces but they lack experience.This is the challenge for Harbaugh.

In the end, it won’t be surprising if Shane Morris is the starter, but it will not be an easily won position.Consistency and comfort in the new system will come into play when the starter is chosen.