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Published: Tuesday, 11/11/2008

Rodriguez not ready to commit to QB starter

BY JOE VARDON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

ANN ARBOR Michigan has a quarterback conundrum, not controversy.

Wolverines coach Rich Rodriguez said yesterday Steven Threet, his starting quarterback for most of the year, is still experiencing lingering effects from a concussion and is questionable for this week s noon game against Northwestern UM s home finale.

If Threet can t play, or perhaps even if he can, Nick Sheridan could get his second straight start and have a chance to build off his stellar outing in last week s 29-6 win over Minnesota.

I don t want to make a determination until we see how they practice, Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said Threet is feeling better than he was last week but some headaches still persist from a shot he took in the fourth quarter against Purdue Nov. 1. If the redshirt freshman Threet is able to practice today, Rodriguez said he will split reps with Sheridan.

It sounded like Rodriguez was ready to give Sheridan another start in the moments immediately following last week s game. Sheridan set career highs in completions (18), attempts (30), and yards (203), and threw a touchdown pass and no interceptions against the Gophers.

When asked if he was at least curious to see if Sheridan could repeat that performance against Northwestern, Rodriguez mentioned the 42 points UM scored in Threet s last game.

He didn t really get a chance to build off of that, so you have to go back and really see how they re performing in practice, Rodriguez said. In Steve s last game he performed pretty solidly, and Nick s last game he played his best game. To me, it s encouraging that both are improving. That s a good situation to have if both of them are ready to play this weekend.

After a tight battle in training camp, Sheridan started UM s season opener but gave way in the second half of that game to Threet. Threet started the rest of the games until last week, but was relieved by Sheridan on a number of occasions because of injury or performance.

For the season, Threet is 98-of-193 (51 percent) for 1,083 yards, nine touchdowns, and six interceptions. Sheridan is 47-of-84 (56 percent) for 465 yards, two touchdowns, and five picks.

I don t even think about [who will start] because it will drive you nuts, said Sheridan, a sophomore and former walk-on. And it drives you guys [the media] nuts not knowing, so that makes me happy a little bit. I don t focus on it because it doesn t change how I prepare for the game.

Rodriguez said freshman Justin Feagin (seven carries, 49 yards against Minnesota) would remain at quarterback this week but may also work at slot receiver the position Rodriguez said is Feagin s future at UM.

NO HUDDLE: Senior kicker K.C. Lopata was named the Big Ten s special teams player of the week for kicking a career-high five field goals against Minnesota. Lopata went 5-for-5 and tied a school record, making kicks from 44, 34, 26, 48, and 23 yards. Rodriguez said running back Brandon Minor is battling a sore shoulder, ribs, and wrist and is questionable for Saturday s game. If Minor can t play, Sam McGuffie and Michael Shaw will see more time. Shaw led the Wolverines with a career-best 71 yards on eight carries last week. With this being the last game at the Big House for UM s 16 seniors, Rodriguez said senior tight end Mike Massey may start over freshman Kevin Koger and play the first few snaps. Massey started against Wisconsin but has been Koger s backup since.



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