Nick Sheridan Will Have Michigan Wolverine Fans Singing the Maize and Blues

Jimmy TrombleyContributor IAugust 15, 2009

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 22:  Dexter Larimore #72 of the Ohio State Buckeyes sacks Nick Sheridan #8 of the Michigan Wolverines during the Big Ten Conference game at Ohio Stadium on November 22, 2008 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The Michigan Wolverines opened practice on Monday, and, by many accounts, junior quarterback Nick Sheridan looks significantly better than a year ago.

Good for him.

Now, if Mr. Sheridan would kindly slip down the depth chart, and put down the football and pick up a clipboard (though he may have a tough time surpassing veteran signal-sender David Cone for sideline duties) the Wolverines will be better off.

I would say thanks for all you've done—and to be fair to Sheridan, he seems like a good teammate, a hard worker, a good student and a nice kid who represents Michigan well off the field.

But memories of costly interceptions (five to be exact, with only two touchdowns), a 46-percent completion percentage, one win in four starts, and the feeling of malaise when he entered the game leaves little to be thankful for.

True, the 2008 Wolverines could've made a number of players look far worse than they actually were, and statistics don't tell the entire story, but last year's Penn State game, and the actions of the UM coaches in the off-season, do.

Late in the third quarter, the Wolverines were tied with the Nittany Lions 17-17 in Happy Valley, and looked primed for a major upset after being tabbed 23-point underdogs. Then, Steven Threet re-aggravated an elbow injury. Sheridan entered the game, and the life of the Wolverine team immediately made its exit.

Sheridan quickly led his team to a 3rd-and-20 hole on their own five yard line before taking a safety after holding the ball too long and throwing it away in the end zone to avoid a sack.

That error began a string of 39 unanswered points in a 46-17 rout.

Did Michigan quit on Sheridan? Maybe.

But Sheridan's presence, and the subsequent downfall of the team in Happy Valley, is not coincidence...but rather a tell-tale sign of the confidence level the Wolverines had in their quarterback.

The courting of Duke point guard Greg Paulus—a highly touted high school quarterback who hadn't played a down in four years—and the current attempt to get fifth-year senior Jason Forcier out of Stanford and into his second stint at Michigan should speak volumes on the faith Michigan coaches have in Sheridan, as well.

With the transfer of Steven Threet to Arizona State, the quarterback hunt has a lot to do with replenishing depleted depth. But make no mistake: Jason Forcier is not coming to Michigan to babysit his little brother—highly touted freshman Tate Forcier.

Jason Forcier would promptly take Sheridan's place on the depth chart, and provide Michigan with an insurance policy until better depth arrives next year. Michigan has received verbal pledges from quarterbacks Devin Gardner (Inkster, MI) and Cornelius Jones (Spartanburg, SC) for 2010.

Fans will argue that Sheridan was never meant to see the field as a walk-on.

But let's be honest. Would Sheridan have earned a walk-on spot if his father, current New York Giants defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan, hadn't served as a Michigan assistant coach from 2002 to 2004?

Sheridan may be a feel-good story, but the only time he should see the field is if he's doing his best Darko Milicic impression of the "Human Victory Cigar."


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