Michigan Wolverines quarterbacks coach Matt Weiss was one of the new hires by Jim Harbaugh this offseason. Wednesday provided the opportunity for the Michigan media to speak in person with the man in charge of the signal-callers. Starting quarterback Cade McNamara was obviously the bulk of the conversation.
Here is everything that Weiss said about the third-year passer, who will take the first reps in the season opener against Western Michigan.
On Cade McNamara’s overall development this offseason
Cade’s done a great job. Obviously, he’s our starter. Looking forward to seeing what he can do in a game. It’s been a long process building up to this. Obviously, still a work in progress. We’ll be better in Week 3 than we are in Week 1. Be better than we are in Week 3. But looking forward to seeing what he can do on the field
Getting him off to a fast start
I don’t think there’s any secret to it. He’s gotta do what he’s been doing all spring and all fall – go through his progressions, be true to the reads. He doesn’t have to go out and win the game for us, he just has to go out and do his job. That’s been the focus when we talk to those guys and that’s what we expect him to do on Saturday at 12 o’clock.
How he separated himself from the pack
Cade is really impressive in his ability to make decisions, to see things, do the right thing. He has experience in the offense, he’s played in games before. All those things are impressive and we feel like we can win with him. Yeah, we’re excited for him.
His first impression of McNamara
First impressions, I would say that he really wants to be good which goes a long way. He works hard. I think he has the respect of his teammates because they pick up on that, too. As I said, he picks up on things well, he makes good decisions. He’s somebody that maybe people are always gonna question or doubt in terms of he’s not enough of this or he’s not enough of that. But ultimately, when you watch him play, he gets the job done and he’s a guy that has a bright future.
On previous comments of McNamara’s pro prospects
I said he’s the type of guy that will surprise people and end up playing beyond college football. Exactly what I’m talking about—the ability to read things, the ability to see things, make good decisions, understanding of the game, his approach. All those things, as you said, are like a veteran-type of player.
Reviewing the work that has been put in so far
Cade put in a lot of work and he also did a great job with all the player-led things in the summer of organizing that and having a leadership role and helping our team get better. You want a quarterback to have a collective effect to make everyone around him better. We want our quarterbacks in the room to make each other better, too. Good quarterbacks do that. I think Cade is starting to show that he can, too.
How to prevent injuries to the quarterbacks
Part of the quarterback’s job is to get us out of bad situations. Certainly with Western Michigan, that’s a huge challenge for us this week because they’re a disruptive defense. I think they’re tops in the country, or at the top in the country in TFL’s per play, sacks per play. They wreak havoc. And that creates opportunity when you’re able to handle it, but there’s also gonna be times in that game where there’s gonna be havoc because that’s what they do. Certainly, we talk to quarterbacks all the time about protecting themselves, making smart decisions, don’t make a bad play worse, know when to get down or throw the ball away. But we’re not talking to him about trying to avoid injury or anything like that. That’s gonna take care of itself with his play.
Can McNamara be mobile?
I think Cade has the ability to move out of the pocket when he needs to and to make plays. Certainly, we’re not gonna design many plays with the intent of him running the ball. But when he needs to run the ball, he can run the ball and be an effective runner, absolutely.
Don’t forget about J.J. McCarthy
“Like any player, the younger they are the faster they’ll grow because there are diminishing returns, obviously. He’s come in, he’s 18 years old. Hasn’t played college football. He’s made huge strides. Every day he gets better. It’s a guy with a ton of talent and certainly a guy we’re looking to develop and we’re really excited about. He’s done a great job. He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. And more. We’re excited about J.J., too.”