The biggest storyline associated with the Michigan Wolverines entering the 2022 college football season is the kickoff quarterback competition between the seniors. Cade McNamara and sophomore JJ McCarthy. During the Big Ten Media Days, McNamaru was asked what he thinks of the competition at the moment.
“I think I’m only growing because of the competition,” McNamara said. “I said it a little earlier that I think I’m recovering faster (than) if I was comfortably sitting in the quarterback’s room. I make sure the team wins. And as a member, I don’t think there is any other way of thinking (besides) that you have to be confident in yourself and help the team with that. I’m just going to do everything I can to continue to get better and do my best to help this team win.”
Main coach Jim Harbaugh told the Big Ten Network this week that Michigan would go with “whoever plays better,” and the coach explained that rationale during his speech in Indianapolis.
“That’s definitely within the realm of possibility, right?” Harbaugh said when asked about the play of the two quarterbacks. “I mean, there are only three scenarios: Cade in the starting lineup and JJ in the reserves, or JJ in the starting lineup and Cade in the reserves, or they both play like last year.”
Harbaugh delved into how the competition was good for the Michigan quarterbacks.
“It all started with those two guys, right?” Harbo said. “I mean, when it’s a competition, it’s okay. Combat, not normal – does not help your team. Competitive, not belligerent – great for a team. great support. When Cade arrived, he cheered the team. It was really good.”
In any case, Harbaugh explained that the team had and has a plan for both quarterbacks — like Michigan did in 2021 when McNamara started and McCarthy played situationally.
“From a coaching standpoint…we got them both ready every week for the start,” Harbaugh said. “But we also prepared, like, ‘Hey JJ is really good at this’ or ‘Cade is really good at this. That’s where we can fit that into the game plan and let’s go ahead and work.” And the guys knew it was going to happen because we had just practiced too. But most of the time when you have a situation like who’s going to start, we’re talking about it because there’s either a guy who – most of the time, right, disagrees with the quarterback. So it’s completely uncharted waters. The thing is, they’re both so good that, “Who’s going to win the starting quarterback job?” Let’s see who plays better.”
Nick Kosko contributed to this report.