ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Heading into the 2013 season as a true freshman, quarterback Shane Morris appeared to have an ideal situation before him.
With a soft schedule, especially in the non-conference, Morris would most likely receive a good chunk of game experience getting snaps late in blowouts.
Unfortunately for Morris, and for Michigan, that was not to be as seemingly every game outside of Minnesota was close, allowing very limited opportunity for the former Warren De La Salle product to take the field.
Fast forward to 2014 and Morris, now a sophomore, and with one start in his career in a bowl loss to Kansas State, feels far more prepared to step-in under center.
“A year of experience definitely helped a lot,” Morris said at Michigan’s media day Sunday. “You learned how the game of college football kind of works, it’s a lot faster than high school, so definitely having a year under my belt helps a lot with that.
“And just learning, knowing a lot more about the game of football; defenses, the offenses, it’s been a big difference.”
While Morris spent his first season engulfing himself in the playbook of former offensive coordinator Al Borges, January brought a new offensive coordinator in Doug Nussmeier.
With a new man in charge of the offense, that means a whole new playbook to start learning all over again.
“Learning a whole new offense has been tough but Coach Nuss has done an excellent job of teaching us and helping us through it and making us learn the offense,” Morris said.
“We all know it really well and it’s definitely helped a lot. We’re doing well throughout camp, the first week, it’s been a good week and our offense has done well.”
Comparing this offense to the last, Morris says the brunt of the success or failure offensively lies firmly on the quarterback’s shoulders.
“A lot more responsibility is put on the quarterback in this offense,” Morris said. “We have to know a lot more about the line and what everyone’s doing and it’s definitely helping us understand the whole entire offense more so, it’s very good for us and it’s going to help our offense be the best it can be.”
With Devin Gardner back for one final season after struggling through 2013, Morris is hoping the added competition at the position can be a positive for Michigan.
“Devin and I have a very good relationship,” Morris said. “We both push each other everyday and that’s really what we’re trying to do is make each other better and both be the best we can be. We just help the team out in that way.”
However the competition shakes out, Morris believes he’s ready for either role.
“I feel like I’m ready to be the starting quarterback at Michigan, definitely,” Morris said. “But Devin’s also a great quarterback and he’s been here a long time and we’re both pushing each other to be the best we can be.”