On Monday, coach Jim Harbaugh confirmed that Speight would be out for "multiple weeks" with an unspecified injury. Speight sustained his injury early in a Week 4 win over Purdue. John O'Korn, the one-time Houston transfer, will start on Saturday against Michigan State as Michigan looks to move to 5-0.
O'Korn's body of work in Maize and Blue from this season is limited, but promising. He completed his only pass attempt for 37 yards in the opener against Florida, giving Michigan's offense a much-needed jolt. O'Korn also went 18-of-26 for 270 yards, a touchdown and a pick when he relieved Speight against Boilermakers. The Wolverines' red zone offense was a concern heading into that game with one touchdown on 10 attempts. However, with O'Korn under center, Michigan went a perfect 3-of-3 on red-zone touchdown attempts. It's worth noting, too, that all three of those touchdowns capped off long drives of nine plays, 11 plays and 13 plays, respectively.
Though Speight was named the starter at the beginning of the season, the offense has had its well-documented share of struggles, particularly in the passing game. That's not all on Speight, but his numbers (three touchdowns, two pick-sixes and a 120.9 passer rating) are what they are.
That O'Korn has shown he can move the offense and finish drives should give Michigan confidence going into its rivalry game. Now in a starting role, though, O'Korn will immediately be tested. Michigan State's defense has allowed a modest 5.5 yards per pass attempt and given up just one touchdown.
Given how tight-lipped Harbaugh is with injuries, we won't know about Speight's availability until he's actually available on the field. In the meantime, O'Korn has an opportunity to earn the job full-time during a difficult three-game stretch. If it works out, Michigan may be better off offensively for it.