Michigan Football: Wilton Speight Sheds Weight, Starts Strong

Chris Balas, Senior Editor

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By all accounts, Michigan redshirt junior Wilton Speight has gotten off to a great early start in spring football. The returning starting quarterback hasn’t changed his mindset after a solid first season, with one exception … he wanted to improve his mobility.

He and head coach Jim Harbaugh sat down in the offseason and change the approach.

“I lost 20 pounds since the Florida State game,” Speight reported. “Coach and I talked … we just said, whenever you finish the season the way I did or 15-0, you want to get better, to do better than last year. That was one of the things Coach and thought I should do. That’s what I did to have more speed, quicker feet in the pocket, feel healthier. I feel I’ve got a little more pep in my step.

“I just did a four-hour practice and feel I could probably do another four-hour practice right now, so that was not the case toward end of last season. With the injury and stuff, I wasn’t able to really do anything.”

He got there by dieting and changing his workout. He played most of last season at 250 pounds, got to 254 by the bowl game and is now 234 pounds. Asked if he had offseason surgery, he replied with a smile, “I can’t remember.” But he does feel very healthy at his new weight.

“I kind of embraced the Big Ben [Roethlisberger] comparison. Now I’m really chilling out on that,” he said.

The first two months with new passing game coordinator Pep Hamilton have worked out well, he continued. Hamilton and former assistant Jedd Fisch, now at UCLA, have similar philosophies, Speight noted.

“It’s only been a couple months, but it’s been a great experience,” he said. “He obviously knows a lot about football. The best thing is there’s not much transition or change between him and Coach Fisch. Both know a ton about football. They’re football rats, on film on all the time. I notice a lot of similarities, which has bee nice for me.

"One thing that kind of helps is oach Pep played the position, but it’s not like, ‘Coach Pep’s here, so now I can learn all this or that.’ When you’re at a place like Michigan you’re going to continue to have assistant coaches go be head coaches or be coordinators somewhere else. The Michigan standard is to have the next guy up be just as good.”

It's the same at his position, he noted, which is why he hasn't rested in making sure he improves to solidify his hold on the starting spot.

He's off to a good start.

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