Michigan spring game gets defensive under Jim Harbaugh

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) With Michigan State in the Final Four and the Detroit Tigers preparing for opening day, it doesn't seem as if it's football season in Michigan.

Except when the fans have a chance to see new coach Jim Harbaugh.

An estimated 45,000 fans spent Saturday afternoon watching Harbaugh's debut, as he spent two hours marching up and down the field as Team Blue earned themselves steak dinners with a 7-0 victory in the annual spring game.

''I was very pleased with the whole day,'' said Harbaugh, who stationed himself about 15 yards behind the offenses during the four 10-minute quarters.

''I'm happy with the way these guys have competed and worked all spring, and this was a nice finish. We got them out in front of a great crowd and let them do what they've been practicing.''

Here are a few observations from the spring game at the Big House on Saturday:

MORRIS IN THE LEAD: Shane Morris threw the only touchdown pass of the day, but that's not the reason that Harbaugh anointed him as the No. 1 quarterback after the game.

''We've been posting depth charts all spring, because we want the guys to know where they stand, and based on what he's done this whole time, Shane is ahead at the moment,'' Harbaugh said. ''But this competition is going to rage all summer, starting tomorrow and going all the way to the first game of the season.''

Morris played the entire game for Team Blue, while true freshman Alex Malzone took all the snaps for Team Maize.

''This is going to be a great competition,'' Morris said. ''I'm proud of Alex, because you look at how far he's come this spring, and then you remember that he's hasn't even gone to his prom yet. I'm going to have to work hard to stay ahead of him.''

THREE-WAY PLAYER: On a day where punts and kickoffs were simulated, it didn't seem as if there would be much to do for return specialist Dennis Norfleet. However, he ended up busy, playing both nickel defensive back and wide receiver.

''You definitely could see him playing three ways this fall,'' Harbaugh said. ''About three-quarters of the way through camp, we tried him at the nickel, and he did a great job. We like him there.''

TRICK PLAYS FROM THE PAST: Former coaches Gary Moeller and Lloyd Carr were the honorary captains, and were given a chance to call some of their favorite trick plays. Wide receiver Jehu Chesson threw two passes, completing one for 30 years, while Morris caught a throwback pass for no gain.

''Those were all on Coach Carr and Coach Moeller,'' Harbaugh said. ''I didn't even know what the plays were going to be.''

DEFENSE DOMINATES: It wasn't a surprise, given the way things usually work while a new offense is being installed, but the defense dominated on both teams. Team Blue's touchdown was the only time either team seriously threatened to score.

''They've been progressing all spring, but we have the advantage,'' linebacker Desmond Morgan said. ''They've got a lot to learn, and they had to play with their offensive lines split up between the two teams.''

GOOD EATING: Harbaugh kept alive one of his traditions from his previous college jobs. By winning, the members of Team Blue will get the steaks on Saturday night, while Team Maize will dine on spaghetti.

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