The Michigan Wolverines have roared out to a 4-0 start on the season and played better than expected in a number of areas over the first month of the season. Given the lofty expectations of quarterbacks in today’s college football landscape, some have voiced concerns that they are not getting what they need out of Cade McNamara.
McNamara, who has not turned the ball over yet this season but has left some throws on the field, was a hot topic of conversation on Wednesday afternoon in Ann Arbor. Quarterbacks coach Matt Weiss was asked to give his take on how the third-year passer has performed thus far.
“I feel great about Cade,” Weiss said. “I think he’s done a good job all year. He’s done the most important things we ask a quarterback to do. We’ve won games. A big part of the reason is because of him. We haven’t turned the ball over; he’s completed passes when we’ve thrown the ball. He’s been very efficient. He’s avoided sacks. All those things he’s done have been very impressive.
“We’re thrilled with where he is. We want to keep getting better, obviously, at everything we’re doing on offense, and as a team, it’s a work in progress. We’re just going to keep getting better and keep going, but we’re really happy with where he’s at and how he’s played.”
Every mistake that McNamara makes is amplified by Michigan’s low pass frequency compared to the rushing attack, as well as a five-star freshman behind him in J.J. McCarthy. Weiss said that Michigan is not playing favorites with anyone and that the best guy will be on the field regardless of standing.
“Cade is the starter because he’s earned it,” he said. “We’re really happy with both guys, but the idea that Cade somehow waited his turn and that’s why he’s playing. Tt’s all about Coach Harbaugh. ‘The team, the team, the team.’ If you met someone at the gas station who had eligibility and could start for us and help us win, the guy would start. That’s why Cade’s the starter.
“He’s made great decisions. I think we’ve pushed the ball downfield pretty well. I think he’s averaging 10 yards an attempt, which is pretty good when you look at the plays individually. We’ve had some big passes where we’ve thrown the ball down the field. I think we’ve done that well.”
Zero turnovers thus far have been a big feather in McNamara’s cap and his protection of the football will remain critical moving forward.
“It’s a big one,” Weiss said. “It’s really hard to win especially when you get into conference play when the games are going to be more competitive if you turn the ball over. That’s really important. The ball-handling in the run game, the passing game avoiding interceptions, especially against the team we’re about to play. They’re a really good defense. We don’t want to give their offense a short field. We want them to go the long hard way. That’s going to be critical in this game.
“But we’re really in the process of looking at every play, every progression. Did you take the right footwork? Just allowing the play to take care of itself in terms of him doing his job, going through his progressions and making good decisions. We look at each play individually in that way … the coaching point isn’t hey, don’t thrown an interception. Certainly, we don’t want to do that. But if he does his job, makes the right reads, it should all take care of itself.”
McNamara and the Wolverine offense take their show on the road for the first time this season when they travel to Wisconsin. Kickoff is set for noon eastern.