No quarterback wants to be called a ‘game manager’. That title implies a quarterback has limitations, a player that wins games by limiting their mistakes, not by consistently stellar play.
Offensive coordinator Josh Gattis was clear that QB1 and QB2 on the U-M depth chart won’t be game managers. Joe Milton and Cade McNamara will be asked to make all the throws and all the right checks within the confines of Michigan’s offense.
“We don’t play with a game manager, we play with true quarterbacks,” Gattis said. “You’ve gotta be able to score with the football. Nothing is different about either one of them. Nothing is different, the game will not be called different. There’s not a different offense that we run for any of our quarterbacks. We ask those guys to perform all the same tasks at hand.”
The quarterback competition has been a long process between Milton, McNamara, and Dylan McCaffrey (who has opted out of the season). With McCaffrey now out of the equation, Milton and McNamara are making one another better.
“Both of our quarterbacks have displayed tremendous talent. To be able to make great decisions, to be accurate and have great arms. They’ve done an exceptional job bringing each other along,” Gattis said.
Playing on the scout team last season, McNamara didn’t get a lot of full speed reps and Gattis noted he had to ease himself into the swing of things this camp but has done an amazing job preparing himself. When it comes to Milton, Gattis called him one of Michigan’s most improved players. “If we’re talking about improvement, improvement comes in a number of different ways,” Gattis said. “Leadership, physically and, obviously, being able to learn the offense. Joe’s been exceptional, I really love our quarterback room, period.”
Behind Milton and McNamara is true freshman Dan Villari, but he’ll need time to get acclimated to the speed of college football and Michigan’s scheme. Heading into the 2020 season, it’s Milton and McNamara as the two strongest options, and if either of them are to play at a high level they’ll have to keep bring each other along.