Jim Harbaugh has long held a reputation of being a developer of quarterbacks, but at times it has come with mixed results at the University of Michigan. The next shred of hope comes in the form of Joe Milton, who outlasted the opted-out Dylan McCaffrey and Cade McNamara for the starting job and is drawing rave reviews for his performance in the lead-up to the season.
Harbaugh addressed the media on Monday and spoke about his quarterback, who is all but officially named the starter for the Michigan Wolverines.
“(He’s) showed a lot of great things,” Harbaugh said. “Joe’s been running with the ones and really...he’s made a lot of strides, getting a lot of reps, as well as Cade McNamara, who’s closed all gaps as well. He’s playing extremely well. Really good. Really good command of the offense. Showing a real savviness and also a lot of talent. Been really good between the receivers and Joe and Cade. It’s fun watching.”
Harbaugh would not officially name Milton as the man for the job on Saturday night given the unpredictability of daily COVID testing. But, the words at this point kind of speak for themselves.
“Joe’s been running with the ones,” Harbaugh said. “Naming a starter at this point, it’s a daily thing. Right up (until) game time. So tough for me to say that definitely anybody’s going to be starting. They have to test on Friday before we leave for the trip and they have to test negative on game day to be able to play.”
When asked to name some of the strides he has seen from his third-year signal-caller, Harbaugh said that not throwing with maximum velocity on every throw and putting touch on his passes have done wonders for putting his game together.
“The biggest one (is) Joe’s got an extremely strong arm, but he really took to heart to throw passes with touch,” Harbaugh said. “Necessary passes with appropriate (velocity). I think he made a lot of growth in that way. Putting appropriate elevation on the ball. Has really made it a catchable ball, if you can picture that. There’s been a great dialogue between the receivers, tight ends and backs and Joe’s done a great job in that regard. And a lot of others. He’s definitely done a great job of preparing mentally. Practicing extremely well in all phases of quarterback play. He’s ready to play a game.”
Milton and the Wolverines open the season on Saturday night in a 7:30 p.m. kickoff at Minnesota.