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Every Big Ten East Division team’s biggest question after spring football

Spring Football has come to an end, and the East division has stolen all the attention, but did all the questions get answered?



Michigan Wolverines

Is Wilton Speight Ready to Lead Offense to the Next Level?

There is no question that senior Wilton Speight is the No. 1 quarterback on the Michigan roster. Head coach Jim Harbaugh made that clear well before the spring game. However, this offense is predicated on the ability for the run game to open up the pass game — such is the nature of the pro-style offense.

Speight was far from bad last season, finishing fifth in the conference with 211.5 passing yards per game. However, the offense sputtered at times in the passing department despite having stars like Amara Darbough and tight end Jake Butt in the fold.

All you need to know is that despite leading the conference in scoring offense, Michigan relied on its run game for over 40 touchdowns on the season (just 18 passing TD’s for Speight). That can’t be the case in 2017 with both De’Veon Smith and TD machine Khalid Hill (who combined for 20 rushing touchdowns) graduated.

Michigan may have to rely more on the passing game while the run game gets its feet so to speak.

The spring game wasn’t much help for fans or coaches to continue to gain confidence that Speight can take this offense to the next level. He finished just 9 of 26 for 78 yards and a pair of interceptions. He was also “sacked” three times in the no-contact jersey.

It was just one practice and there were still plenty more to go both in Ann Arbor and in Rome, but failing to impress in front of a big audience is never a good thing. Speight needs to prove he can be the leader and not just the game-manager that he often was last season.

Can he be the one taking games over and not needing his run game as a crutch in 2017? It likely will get answered quickly thanks to tests from Florida and Cincinnati to start the season.

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Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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