Why Michigan is starting different quarterbacks in its first two

The Michigan quarterback battle was one of the intriguing of the offseason, nevertheless it nonetheless has not been determined with a Week 1 recreation towards Colorado State on the horizon. Instead, the No. 8 Wolverines will give Cade McNamara and J.J. McCarthy an opportunity to start out a recreation every earlier than making a call, marking a continuation of the competitors into the 2022 season. 

Coach Jim Harbaugh introduced Saturday that McNamara, the incumbent starter, will begin the season opener towards the Rams whereas McCarthy, final yr’s backup, will take the first-team snaps in Week 2 vs. Hawaii. A full-time starter and backup will then be made in Week 3 based mostly on every quarterback’s beginning efficiency. 

We have made a decision,” mentioned Harbaugh in an announcement. “Both quarterbacks have performed nice — accomplished every little thing they may have … to win the beginning job. Coming out of camp, I simply really feel like we’ve two quarterbacks, Cade McNamara and J.J. McCarthy, that we really feel very assured that we are able to win a championship with both of these two behind heart.” 

McNamara threw for two,576 yards, 15 touchdowns and 6 interceptions final yr, whereas McCarthy threw for 516 yards, 5 touchdowns and two interceptions serving as a backup and changeup possibility.

“It’s a fantastic factor for our crew however there’s just one ball and just one quarterback will be on the market at a time,” mentioned Harbaugh. 

Let’s break down what this implies for Michigan transferring ahead … 

The schedule permits indecisiveness

The previous adage says that if in case you have two quarterbacks, you even have none. That is not essentially the case right here, although.

Would Harbaugh make the choice to go along with a unique starter within the first two weeks if Michigan performed a tricky nonconference schedule? Probably not, however he would not have to fret about that with the Rams and Rainbow Warriors coming to Ann Arbor to start out the yr. 

Harbaugh is utilizing the primary two video games of the season as auditions, after which he will get the luxurious of enjoying UConn in Week 3. The eventual winner of the quarterback battle can then get 4 full quarters underneath his belt earlier than the Wolverines host Maryland of their Big Ten opener on Sept. 24.

It’s not splendid that the competitors has bled into the season — each coach desires an unquestioned No. 1 signal-caller heading into Week 1 — nevertheless it is not essentially a trigger for concern. Harbaugh was afforded the luxurious of not being pressed to make a untimely resolution, and he took it.

Is there upside, although?

It’s one factor to determine between two top-end studs who’ve confirmed to be difference-makers in school. That is not the case right here, although. McNamara was extra of a game-manager throughout final season’s run to the Big Ten championship and berth within the College Football Playoff, and it confirmed within the Orange Bowl when the Wolverines could not muster something offensively towards eventual nationwide champion Georgia.

Is that each one McNamara can present, or is there extra within the tank that he did not present final season? That’s the thriller, and it’s why there’s some doubt whether or not this can be a championship-caliber crew heading into the season. 

Did McCarthy create a tradition of competitors that raised the bar for each participant, or has the previous five-star prospect within the Class of 2021 not lived as much as the hype? Maybe he is been unable to go McNamara regardless of numerous fanfare. Those appear to be the one two choices, and for this reason there’s lingering doubt about the way forward for Harbaugh’s Wolverines. 

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