The biggest topic of discussion for any football team usually revolves around the quarterback position, and Michigan has two good ones vying for the starting job.
At Big Ten Media Days Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh made it clear there will be a competition and that he has faith in both Cade McNamara and J.J. McCarthy.
McCarthy will be back to full strength for training camp after being sidelined throughout spring ball due to lingering arm soreness, and McNamara, well, he’s coming off a season where he was the starter for a Michigan team that beat Ohio State and won a Big Ten Championship on their way to a College Football Playoff berth.
Training camp gets underway next week, and the first quarterback on the field should come as no surprise.
“Cade’s the starting quarterback, when we line up he’s gonna be with the first team,” Harbaugh said.
There’s a caveat, though. McCarthy will get to state his case.
“Now eventually over the training camp, J.J. will get the same opportunity that Cade will,” Harbaugh said. “They’re both gonna get a ton of reps, there will be time to have that competition and determine who the starting quarterback is for the first game.”
There’s a delicate balance to any quarterback competition, but in the end, Harbaugh says the best of the two will be the one who’s the starter. McNamara was the first Michigan quarterback to attend Big Ten Media Day during the Harbaugh era, a well-deserved honor due to his leadership and play last season. Nonetheless, McCarthy is a leader in his own right and eager to see more playing time.
Competitive not combative is the way Harbaugh defines the competition between McNamara and McCarthy. Both players will push one another in August, McNamara has the leg up right now, but he knows he can’t get comfortable because McCarthy is talented with a sky-high ceiling.
“We’re going to know who the best player is by who plays the best. Cade McNamara is going to be really tough to beat out for the starting quarterback job. J.J. McCarthy is going to be really tough to beat out for the starting quarterback job,” Harbaugh said.
The tough competition will only serve the Michigan team well and the quarterback who earns the job. Neither player is owed anything, and to much is given much is tested — training camp will serve as a great test for both young men to show their stuff and let it rip.