By Mark Wright
RM Brinton Making Case for Michigan Starting QB Position
ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN -- Quarterback competition seem to be all the rage these
days. Interestingly enough, several returned missionaries for the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are right smack dab in the middle of a
number of them. Mormon News recently reported on former Ricks QB Mark Dunn,
who is now battling for the starting spot at Kansas State and Brandon Doman
who's the front-runner at BYU in a three-way race to be the starting
quarterback for the Cougars. Now, it's time to re-introduce Spencer Brinton,
who is running neck-and-neck in the race for starting quarterback at the
University of Michigan.
As previously reported in Mormon News, Brinton served a two-year mission in
South Africa and was offered a scholarship to play at Michigan on the basis
of some game footage shot during his freshman year at San Diego State
University. The Michigan quarterback heir apparent, sophomore John Navarre,
apparently had the position locked up until Michigan Coach Lloyd Carr
watched the film on Brinton and signed him without ever actually seeing him
play or even meeting him in person. Although Brinton is a little rusty after
completing his mission, he's definitely making up for lost time in a hurry.
"Right now, John's the starter and I'm just trying to climb the ladder,"
Brinton said. "When you're away [on a mission], the thing that scares you
is, will you come back too fat or too skinny? But I've been surprised at how
fast I've gotten back into it."
While quarterback competitions can be divisive and damaging to a team's
unity, at least for now, both quarterbacks are saying and doing all the
right things. When Brinton first arrived on campus last spring, Navarre
invited him to his apartment for a cookout so that the two could get
acquainted. Both players also believe that their competition will only
enhance their individual skills and level of performance. "No matter who's
playing, we won't be backbiting," said Navarre, who performed decently in
four starts last season. "What I've learned from quarterback competition is,
you've got to be perfect. One guy pushes the other and both get better."
The continued uncertainty regarding the quarterback position may be harmful,
but Michigan Coach Lloyd Carr is mum on whether or not Navarre will remain
the starter or even who's the leader thus far. "You're always competing,"
Carr said. "I will not try to predict the future. The unknown in this
situation is how quickly Spencer will adapt to our system, how quickly he
will return to form after a two-year layoff. Those are all unknowns. The
reports I get on him from (informal workouts) this summer are his running
and lifting are excellent. From that standpoint, I'm encouraged. But until
he gets behind center and faces the pressure of a game, we're not going to
So, at least for now, Coach Carr is willing to play a waiting game, watching
to see how the players respond before making the tough call. But for now, he
just smiles and hopes that both quarterbacks continue to push each other to
improve their game. After all, the best way to resolve a quarterback
competition is the clear answer that will come from the on-field performance
of the players themselves.
Once again, Carr might have trouble making up mind at QB
Detroit MI News 12Aug01 S2
By Bob Wojnowski: The Detroit News
Navarre not a lock as U-M's No. 1 quarterback
Detroit MI News 9Aug01 S2
By Angelique S. Chengelis and Dave Dye: The Detroit News