Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy will be making the first start of his career on Saturday night when Michigan takes on Hawaii at Michigan Stadium.
The sophomore quarterback told the media on Tuesday night that he’s very confident heading into the game.
“Right when I stepped here in the door, I was always prepared to be the guy. Snap one, game one, whatever it was,” McCarthy said. “Now, it’s just having that reassurance that I’m going to be in there snap one. It kind of clears all the worry and indecisiveness going into it, and it just builds more confidence.”
McCarthy has every reason to be confident after looking stellar in Week 1, rushing for 50 yards on just three carries and going 4-for-4 for 30 yards passing. A big reason why McCarthy is so confident is because of what has transpired during his first year with Michigan. McCarthy has been in Michigan’s system for over a year, he received valuable reps last season as a true freshman.
“I really took that experience factor seriously when I actually lived it. Being here for a whole year just does monumental amounts to my game,” McCarthy said,
Whether it’s with his mind, arm, or legs, McCarthy feels he’s improved every facet of his repertoire.
“I also feel like reading defensive coverage has become instinctual now,” McCarthy said. “Understanding different keys on the defense that I can look at to simplify the thought processes going into each snap. Another is the running game. Being able to run the ball, avoid those hits, add a couple tools to my bag to get away from defenders.”
McCarthy said that he’s improved his 40-yard dash from being in the 4.8s and now believes he is in the 4.4s or 4.5s. McCarthy credits strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert with getting his speed down, and co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Matt Weiss with helping him become a more dangerous runner.
“Coach Weiss, coming from the Ravens and being with Lamar (Jackson), he has so much wisdom and knowledge about the quarterback run game. I do feel like it adds a different dimension to our run game,” McCarthy explained. “It allows more space for blocks, it allows the second-level defenders to worry about me with the ball. It does a lot for us, it makes bigger holes, creates more space on the perimeter, it does very good things.”
McCarthy has a huge opportunity in front of him against Hawaii. If he shows off all the ways he has improved “monumental amounts”, there’s a very good chance that he’ll be starting more games at quarterback in the weeks to come.