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Jim Harbaugh praises Cade McNamara’s ability to extend plays

McNamara rarely takes a sack.

Michigan v Wisconsin Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images

It was 3rd & 7, Cade McNamara looked like he was about to get sacked for a safety, but he somehow dodged and ducked Wisconsin defenders. McNamara was cool and collected, scrambling to his right and out of danger while keeping his eyes downfield. McNamara found his safety valve, Blake Corum, hit him with an accurate toss and a dangerous situation turned into a third down conversion.

McNamara evading pressure has been a common occurrence through Michigan’s first five games, he’s only been sacked once all season. Part of McNamara staying upright is because of admirable offensive line play, but a big chunk of the credit resides in his ability to avoid danger.

During No. 9 Michigan’s (5-0) 38-17 win on the road against Wisconsin, McNamara’s evasiveness was something that impressed Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh.

“There were some real bright spots from the game. One that really struck me the most was how he was able to extend the play, buy time,” Harbaugh said. “Some free runners — talk about not taking a sack, there were a couple instances where there were free runners at him and he was able to sidestep. He had that sense, where to escape in the pocket and then find a receiver, find an outlet for the ball.”

This trait is something that has developed recently, according to Harbaugh.

“That’s something that’s really new, just that ability to play dodgeball as a quarterback — move out of the way and then keep your eyes downfield and find a receiver. That was outstanding,” Harbaugh said.

McNamara was 17-of-28 attempts for 197 years and 2 touchdowns, and had a few really good throws deep down the field and into the endzone.

Harbaugh credits McNamara’s attitude and success with his ability to listen and strides to improve.

“I would just say that everything Cade’s doing, I would just say the whole team, the way they take coaching, they really listen. They hear,” Harbaugh said. “And they take that instruction and embrace it wholeheartedly, and do their very best to execute it and try to do extra. They want more, they want new, they want things that stimulate them. It’s that way with Cade and a lot of our players. A great majority of our players are like that.”