Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy enters his junior year with no questions about who will be starting under center when the Wolverines take on East Carolina on Sept. 2, but that didn’t keep questions from coming his way at the podium in Schembechler Hall. He beat out Cade McNamara last season to earn the full-time starting job, but he won’t need to deal with the pressure of a quarterback competition this year.
“Probably the biggest thing this offseason was just being more of a vocal leader and really embracing holding people accountable and holding myself accountable, and just making sure that it’s the win-the-day mentality and not just focusing on week one or week two or the national championship or anything like that. It’s day by day,” McCarthy said during his time with the media on Monday.
There will be a competition for Michigan’s third wide receiver position, with Cornelius Johnson and Roman Wilson presumably keeping their roles. The players who could step up for that spot all have limited game action, but there’s one wideout whose connection with McCarthy precedes their time in the Maize and Blue — sophomore Tyler Morris.
“Tyler Morris, he’s gonna make a big name for himself this year,” McCarthy said. “I’ve had that connection built since my sophomore year in high school. I mean, going back to eighth grade, freshman year when we played 7-on-7 together. And, you know, it’s one of those things where it’s like, I feel like I could close my eyes and throw the ball and I know where he’s gonna be out of his break.”
Year three for McCarthy comes with the highest expectations for the football program since he stepped on campus. Anyone who’s seen this tweet has a pretty good idea of how McCarthy operates when his back is against the wall. Now two Big Ten Championships and a pair of CFP appearances later, McCarthy took time to reflect on everything this program accomplished since he made those thoughts public in 2020.
“It was one of those gut feelings,” McCarthy said. “It was like, you know, the program was not in a place that anyone in this building, anyone in this state wanted it to be at. So when you have that much momentum, it’s almost just like thinking about a bow and arrow like 2020. We were right here and I was just feeling, I just knew that was gonna get let go at some point. So it was just great that it happened when it did and the timing of all that was pretty beautiful. But it’s still going, that arrow is still soaring through the air and it’s reaching new heights.”
With the team not practicing in full pads just yet, McCarthy said the first week of fall camp focused heavily on the pass attack.
“It’s just more reps, more reps at it. I think right now we’re just like, we’re not in full pads. It’s mostly just like thud, wrap up tempo. So we’re not really getting into the thick of the whole run game. So we’re just trying to capitalize on that opportunity for the past game right now,” he said.
There were very few questions about how the team is handling the potential suspension for head coach Jim Harbaugh, and those answers didn’t come with much substance. I want to know what expectations you all have for the start of the season, so let us know in the comments.