Joe Milton seemingly beat out Dylan McCaffrey for the starting quarterback job with the Michigan Wolverines prior to the latter opting out of the season. Now, it appears that the third-year signal caller is once again in a battle for his job.
After a 9-for-19 throwing performance with 98 yards and two interceptions, Milton was pulled in the second half of Saturday’s 49-11 loss to Wisconsin for redshirt freshman Cade McNamara, who had a fair amount of success in limited playing time.
With the season past the brink of disaster, head coach Jim Harbaugh says that there will be competition this week with both passers repping with the No. 1 offense.
“We’re going to open it up,” Harbaugh said. “There will be competition. Both will see action with the ones throughout the week.”
Milton has not been the same player since the opener at Minnesota, nor has the offense been able to generate much of anything consistently. Harbaugh was asked about the lack of success in the downfield passing game on Monday afternoon.
“There’s probably quite a few statistics that you could point to. Especially the last game where we weren’t successful,” Harbaugh said. “As I said, going forward, new week striving to be 1-0. Gaining the momentum. Recognizing when you lose the momentum, getting it back as fast as possible. Hold on to it as long as you can. Executing plays, getting first downs and getting stops on defense. Eventually moving the ball and scoring. As well as many well-executed play calls and defensive calls. As many as we can stack in the execution by the players, that’s what we’re striving for.”
As far as what the points of emphasis or criteria that will decide the battle, Harbaugh was tight-lipped and unwilling to share the things his staff will be looking for ahead of Saturday night’s game at Rutgers.
“Just coaching both of them,” he said. “Those are the things that you do, you coach with your players. I don’t think it’s something, in all honesty, for public consumption. Hope you understand that part of the player-coach relationship.”
So, it appears this will be a gametime decision that we do not find out about until the players take the field on Saturday night. The contest is set for an 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff from Piscataway and will be broadcast via Big Ten Network. Michigan is set as a 9.5-point favorite heading into the game.