Wilton Speight knows the leash is looming, but at least the Michigan junior quarterback didn't lose his starting gig.
Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh is sticking with Speight as the starting signal caller against Cincinnati (1-0) on Saturday despite an inauspicious opening performance against Florida in which he got pulled for three possessions in the second quarter.
Speight was just 11 of 25 passing with two interceptions. He also threw one touchdown pass while finishing with 181 yards.
Helping Speight keep the job was the fact that senior John O'Korn guided the club to only three points in his three possessions. Also, Speight played better after he returned from his benching.
Harbaugh, a former quarterback, paid close attention to how Speight responded to the benching. He liked what he saw.
"If you can't handle that type of situation when something goes bad, it's the wrong position to be playing," Harbaugh said at his Monday press conference.
"I thought he did very well. Sometimes that breaks a guy. Sometimes they can bounce back from it the next game. Sometimes they can bounce back from it in the same game. And sometimes they can't."
Speight passed for 2,538 yards, with 18 touchdowns and seven interceptions, last season. But he was pushed in fall camp by O'Korn and it only became clear he was retaining the job during the week of the season opener.
In fact, it was a defense loaded with new starters and contributors that fueled Michigan's 33-17 victory over the Gators.
The Wolverines limited Florida to 192 yards and nine first downs while forcing three turnovers and racking up 11 tackles for losses, including six sacks.
Sophomore middle linebacker Devin Bush had two sacks in his first career start. He said the constant chatter about all the standout departures helped fuel the defense.
"I knew there was a lot of talk about how we lost a bunch of guys to the (NFL) and lost a star player (in Jabrill Peppers), so we came out with a chip on our shoulder," Bush said.
Now the Wolverines look to continue to silence such talk when they face the Bearcats.