Michigan needs QB Jake Rudock to cut down on turnovers

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) Michigan quarterback Jake Rudock has turned the ball over five times in two games, leading some to wonder if Shane Morris is going to get a shot to take some snaps in a game.

Jim Harbaugh sounds as if there's no doubt Rudock's role is very secure.

In fact, Morris may redshirt this season.

Harbaugh explained why Wilton Speight, not Morris, took the final snaps Saturday when the Wolverines were simply hiking the ball and taking a knee to run the final seconds off the clock in a 35-7 win over Oregon State.

He insisted that Morris is still the team's top backup.

''He's the No. 2 quarterback, but not the No. 2 guy to go into the game to take two kneel downs at the end of the game,'' Harbaugh said Monday.

Is Morris a candidate to redshirt, giving the junior two more seasons eligibility?

''It's a consideration, yes'' Harbaugh said. ''You don't know how it's going to play out. You don't have a crystal ball.''

If Rudock is hurt, as soon as Saturday against UNLV (0-2) or later in the season, it appears Morris would play. But if the graduate transfer from Iowa can stay healthy, Morris may not play at all after starting in two games and appearing in 10 the previous two years for the Wolverines.

Rudock still appears to have Harbaugh's confidence despite throwing four interceptions and losing a fumble for Michigan (1-1) against the Beavers and Utah. Only Hawaii's Max Wittek, who has six turnovers, has given up the ball more than Rudock this season at the highest level of college football, according to STATS.

Harbaugh, of course, would like Rudock to manage the game better and cut down on turnovers. He is not getting down on Rudock, publicly at least.

''I don't think he's lost a tight grip of his mind in any way,'' Harbaugh said. ''He's making good decisions.''

Michigan might be without starting cornerback Jourdan Lewis, who has started two games this year and nine in his career, because he was diagnosed with a concussion during the win over the Beavers. Harbaugh said he couldn't predict when Lewis would be cleared to play.

Running back Drake Johnson is closer to making a contribution against the Rebels and the following game at home against BYU, according to Harbaugh. Johnson, who has had two knee surgeries at Michigan, had one carry for 3 yards against Oregon State and was cheered by the crowd as he jogged to the off the field. Harbaugh also said Tyrone Wheatley Jr., Chase Winovich, Mike McCray and Wyatt Shallman are getting closer to returning to play after all four have been ''working through something'' that has held them out.

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Online:

AP college football website: collegefootball.ap.org

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Follow Larry Lage at www.twitter.com/larrylage

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