By no means was Steven Threet a good quarterback for Michigan last year -- he barely completed half his passes and finished 2-6 as a starter -- but at least there was some indication the redshirt freshman could evolve into a competent starter. He was a well-regarded quarterback recruit in 2007, after all, and had respectable efforts in the losses to Notre Dame and Illinois, with no support whatsoever from his surrounding offense. With a better cast and more experience, he could be a doesn't-get-you-beat kind of player down the road.
More importantly for the upcoming season, Threet was the only buffer preventing the starting job from falling to either an incoming freshman (early-enrolling Tate Forcier or late signee Denard Robinson) or the most hopelessly overmatched quarterback in the country (Nick Sheridan, a former walk-on who Threet supplanted in last year's opener and held off until injuries took their toll down the stretch). That's why it was such a blow when Threet announced Sunday he's transferring from Michigan to parts unknown, leaving Rich Rodriguez's vaunted offense right back at square one behind center.
It's hard to blame Threet, a big pocket guy who -- after initially transferring from Georgia Tech in '07 -- again finds himself a square peg in a round hole in Rodriguez's spread option system. Forcier and Robinson are better fits athletically and Forcier was probably the favorite to assume the job this fall, anyway, for his higher "ceiling," if nothing else. But Threet was a viable insurance policy against the inevitable pratfalls of a true freshman, where Sheridan is just a walking disaster:
The Wolverines hotly pursued and had commitments from a pair of primetime, athletic quarterback prospects last year, Shavodrick Beaver and Kevin Newsome, and lost both during the subsequent on-field collapse. Now their loss becomes clear: Threet's departure all but guarantees the offense is doomed to another rebuilding year, and that's only if Forcier is enough of a revelation to hit the ground running in 2010. If not, the spread 'n shred is stuck in the starter's block for the foreseeable future.