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Wilton Speight should take note of Baker Mayfield’s tough performance

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Mayfield had a performance that could help Wilton Speight and any other quarterback grow at the position.

Oklahoma v Ohio State Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The most important thing in life is to be yourself, but that doesn’t mean we don’t borrow from other people. Being oneself is often inspired by the actions of others, and their positive attributes strengthen the character of the other. Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight can definitely learn some things from what Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield did to the Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday.

Mayfield had a game that featured all the attributes a team and coach would ever like to see in a quarterback, propelling Oklahoma to a 31-16 victory. “We should have won by more.” Mayfield said after the game, not satisfied with a fifteen point victory.

Coming from behind, trailing 10-3 at the Horseshoe is no small feat, it takes a Herculean effort. Mayfield showed the strength of a Hercules during the second half, picking Ohio State’s defense apart with both his arm, and legs. Mayfield was 27-35 for 386 yards and 3 touchdowns.

It isn’t just the stats that are impressive, Mayfield’s demeanor while both on the field and on the sideline is what was the most impressive in the midst of these eye popping numbers. Mayfield’s demeanor is what should have Speight taking note.

Mayfield has a swagger about him that is hard to defeat. He’s a natural born leader because of it. When things aren’t going well, Mayfield is on the sidelines clapping his hands and letting his teammates know “we can do this”. By default, a football team looks to the quarterback to be a vocal leader. Mayfield answers the call good times or bad. When there’s a big play or touchdown, you can see Mayfield firing his team up by pounding his chest and yelling with the type of enthusiasm Jim Harbaugh would classify as being unknown to mankind.

If we want to equate football to the sport of boxing, Mayfield is ready to step into the ring and beat his opponent into submission. He is not waiting for the right moment to strike, he knows he has the ability to demolish his opponent, so why wait and let him get some hits in? ATTACK. And attack he did.

Everything about Mayfield’s game has the element of toughness attached to it. He isn’t afraid out there, physically or mentally. The brain controls the body, so it’s a highly valuable trait for a quarterback to have his brain and body completely in sync. Because of this, Mayfield made some lights out plays, one of which gave Oklahoma much needed breathing room. In the red zone on third down in the fourth quarter, Mayfield evaded a heavy pass rush, accelerated up field, but at the last moment before running he sees an open Trey Sermon and throws a laser to him for a 10 yard touchdown.

The throw to Sermon was one of toughness. It wasn’t an easy throw nor decision, it took guts. The split-second type of guts that are in control of the result. Mayfield knew what he was doing, the recognition to create that play and the way he fit the ball in on the run with authority was heroic.

Mayfield made countless throws with the Ohio State defense closing in on him, and it didn’t matter. He would evade the defenders, or take the hits that were inevitable and throw an accurate pass anyway. Mind and body in sync, mechanically and mentally, even when defenders are in his face. Speight admitted after Michigan beat Cincinnati that when a defender is in his face, his mechanics can become out of whack.

What Mayfield did to Ohio State is what every Michigan fan wants to see the Wolverines do to the Buckeyes at the end of the season. Not only what Mayfield did during the sixty minutes of game-time, but what he did after. He did the football equivalent of beheading the enemy. If this was Game of Thrones, Baker Mayfield became every bit the badass John Snow is. He ran around the field with Oklahoma’s flag, and then did the unthinkable, he thunderously slammed the flag into the middle of the field, surrounded by his teammates.

Wilton Speight doesn’t need to be completely like Baker Mayfield, but there are a lot of attributes to point to that could be useful for Speight to give a try. Speight has gotten this far by being himself, but it doesn’t hurt to take note of what works for peers of his. Especially when it’s a winning recipe like the one Mayfield cooked up against Michigan’s biggest rival.