ANN ARBOR - Michigan quarterback Steven Threet sat in the front row for the school's basketball game against Ohio State Saturday night.
For Threet, it was the first Buckeyes-Wolverines event he took in live this school year.
A separated shoulder kept Threet out of the annual football contest between the rival schools in November, and coach Rich Rodriguez decided to leave him home rather than allow him to travel with the team to Columbus.
"Obviously, it's the Michigan-Ohio State game and you'd love to be a part of it, but I understand the decision," Threet said earlier last week in an interview with The Blade - his first interview since before UM's game against Purdue Nov. 1. "They need to travel, I think, 70 players, and my inability to play or even signal in the plays made me drop out of the 70 players who could help the team win.
"I understand the decision, and it's not something I can really get upset about because of the condition I was in."
It was just one of many disappointments in Threet's first season as the Wolverines' starting quarterback.
Some of them - like being left home for UM's finale against the Bucks - were out of his control, but he's trying to gather from all his experiences in a rocky 2008 and turn them into positives this year.
Threet, a rising sophomore, was the Wolverines' primary quarterback in what was the worst season in school history - a 3-9 record and no bowl appearance for the first time in 34 years. He endured an early season position battle with Nick Sheridan, a painful team transition to the spread option offense under
Rodriguez and elbow, shoulder and head injuries that forced him out of parts of five games.
The Adrian High graduate completed 102 of 200 passes for 1,105 yards with nine touchdowns and seven interceptions. He helped UM put up a season-high 42 points in a 48-42 loss to Purdue but suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter of that game that derailed any progress he and the Wolverines' offense were making together.
"I do feel like we were making good progress," Threet said. "I think it carried over to the next game against Minnesota [a 29-6 win with Sheridan under center]. It wasn't me at quarterback, but you saw us execute the system and play well.
"It was all a part of the roller coaster. We had a tough game against Northwestern, a tough game against Ohio State. It's about the consistency, not only getting to where we can score 42 points, but making plays and making them more often."
Threet said he is healthy now and participating in offseason workouts, and none of his injuries required surgery. He's looking forward to spring practice where another tough test awaits - the beginning of a position battle against incoming freshman and highly touted recruit, Tate Forcier.
Forcier, who enrolled at UM for the semester that began earlier this month, is supposed to fit the dual-threat model of quarterback Rodriguez seeks to run his offense. Threet said he gets along with Forcier - he is also friends with Sheridan, who figures into the quarterback competition as well - but is entering 2009 counting on being UM's starter.
"I think most quarterbacks would see themselves that way," Threet said. "You want to go out and compete and do your best, and the coaches will pick who they think will most help the team to win.
"It comes down to the guys we have here wanting Michigan to win more than wanting themselves to be on the field or be that guy."
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Michigan quarterback Steven Threet sat in the front row for the school's basketball game against Ohio State Saturday night. For Threet, it was the first Buckeyes-Wolverines event he took in live this school year.