It's still the off-season and college sports news is, at best, sparse. So to pass the time we're making up our own news. Over the next three weeks (or so) we'll be previewing portions of Michigan Football's upcoming 2010 schedule. Specifically, we'll be previewing the most dangerous players on each team Michigan will be playing this year. Some will be on offense, some on defense, and all of them will be people worthy of your scorn. We've got a full 2010 football schedule, so we'll break down the key cog to each opponent one at a time, starting with Michigan's 2010 Season opener against the University of Connecticut Huskies, and their (presumed) starting quarterback, Zach Frazer.
Who Is He, Exactly?
Ah, Zach. We hardly knew ye at Notre Dame. Hard to believe, but back in the day (re: five years ago), Frazer was one of the more sought after high school quarterbacks in the country. A member of the 2006 recruiting class, Frazer was a four star quarterback and HS Army All American performer. Despite being a product of Mechanicsburg, PA, Frazer chose Notre Dame over home state favorite Penn State. Didn't work out the way he planned, did it. You might recall some guy named Clausen coming in and winner 6 heismans and 8 National Championships at quarterback for Notre Dame. You don't? Well that's because you're not Beano Cook. Anyway, Clausen came in and was immediately anointed the Irish savior, letting Frazer read the writing on the wall.
Transferring in July of 2007, Frazer chose UConn at his final destination and sat our the 2007 season due to transfer restrictions. In 2008, Frazer got his first taste of game action, though I think he'd like to forget most of it. After tossing one touchdown and no interceptions in a win against Louisville, Frazer lost his next three starts throwing one touchdown and six interceptions. The worst outing was a relief appearance four passing attempt, three interception game against Pitt in the season finale. 2009 didn't start out any better. Frazer tossed four interceptions and only two touchdowns in his first two games before getting injured against North Carolina. Frazer sat out the next six games partly because of injury, but also partly because his replacement was winning. However, he was inserted back into the starting line up against Rutgers. Then promptly threw three more picks.
So, Explain Why We Should Hate Him
Things started to turn around. In his last five games, including a bowl win over South Carolina and a (HAHAHAHA) win over Notre Dame, Frazer threw seven touchdowns to just two interceptions winning four straight to close out the season. None of Frazer's numbers are overwhelming, but a hot quarterback is something to keep in mind as Michigan opens its season.
At 6'4", 233 lbs, the only person I can think of like Frazer is Steven Threet. Yes. I wrote that. Frazer has a Threet-like arm (very strong) but also has Threet-like mobility. Picture a winnebago racing at Indy. In spite of this he's getting better. Going into his senior season, Frazer's got four years at UConn under his belt (remember, he red-shirted). He also has the benefit of the team's leading rusher (Jordan Todman) and four members of his offensive line returning as well.
Last season the Huskies spent most of their time on the ground, passing just 41% of the time. But when you've got two inexperienced quarterbacks, that's to be expected. With a senior under center that number should climb north of 50% this season. Frazer's also going to have a lot of help on the wings returning. Five of the top seven receivers return, so Michigan's depleted secondary will receive a stern test early in the season.
Give Me His Weaknesses, So That I Might Exploit Them
One systemic issue that may still remain is that this is just Frazer's second year under offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead, so there's the possibility that growing pains may yet emerge. On the physical side, while Frazer is reportedly "football fast", the damning Threet mobility comparison still holds. Last season the Huskies gave up 21 sacks (for comparison, Michigan allowed 28), so pressure on Frazer could and should result in some sacks and turnovers. Craig Roh, I'm looking in your direction.
There's also the aspect of Frazer having to look over his shoulder at Cody Endresif things start to go south. Endres is arguably the more athletic and purer passer of the two, but Frazer's more polished. UConn fans seem split down the middle on who should start, but it's not hard to tell who the papers want under center. Frazer's a game manager, not necessarily a game changer like Endres is, so get after him early.
If Michigan can pressure Frazer, the Wolverines should be able to put away UConn. If Frazer has all day to sit in the pocket, it's going to be a long September afternoon for the home team. Frazer's the key to the game, so get your hate on early, Michigan Fans.