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A look at J.J. McCarthy and center Olu Oluwatimi’s ‘great relationship’

The rapport between quarterback and center is as important as it gets in football.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 08 Michigan at Indiana Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Michigan Wolverines love their center Olusegun Oluwatimi. The transfer from Virginia meshed well with the team right away and in just a handful of months the team thought so highly of him they named him an alternate team captain.

Michigan has a 19-year-old quarterback in J.J. McCarthy, and leaning on a Rimington Award finalist like Oluwatimi has been a major positive this season.

“If you look at any good offensive line, you’ll see a good center. They’re usually the guys that make the whole thing go. And Olu is not only physically talented, but he’s really intelligent,” co-offensive coordinator Matt Weiss told Jon Jansen on Tuesday. “He’s a really hard worker, knows the whole game plan, and it’s huge for J.J. as a first-year starter to have that type of guy out there with him that can help him fix some of that stuff.”

Weiss said that McCarthy and Oluwatimi have a “great relationship,” and all you have to do is head to social media to see that’s very true.

Oluwatimi was already seasoned before he came to Michigan this spring, but he’s been as advertised and then some since he’s put on the maize and blue. On the Inside Michigan Football Radio Show on Tuesday evening, McCarthy talked about his relationship with Oluwatimi and how their communication in practice helps the two mesh really well on gameday.

“The really cool thing about Olu and I’s relationship when it comes to pre-snap stuff is that during practice if we don’t see a look or if we see a look that we’re confused by we will always stop and ‘okay, what are we seeing here? Where’s it going? Where’s the point? Where’s the blitz coming from?’ It’s being very process-oriented throughout the week.”

That process throughout the week leads to Oluwatimi picking up the lion's share of what the defense is doing, with McCarthy ready to speak up if he’s able to see something his center is missing.

“When we hit gameday it’s very instinctual and it’s very fluid. Him being a vet like he is, he’s seen so many fronts, so many blitzes. He picks it up usually 98% of the time and then that 2% of the time I’m back there seeing things that he can’t see from a down stance.”

Oluwatimi has been part of a Michigan offensive line that has protected Michigan J.J. well this season — McCarthy has averaged 4.16 seconds to throw, the 10th-most time among qualified passers.

If Michigan’s going to make a playoff run, the relationship between McCarthy and Oluwatimi will be crucial.