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Jim Harbaugh’s not rushing to name Michigan’s starting QB

Harbaugh’s letting the competition run its course naturally.

NCAA Football: Big Ten Football Championship-Iowa vs Michigan Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh said that Michigan’s two quarterbacks vying for the starting job are both tone setters on the team.

Cade McNamara and J.J. McCarthy are both competing for the No. 1 job, but right now Harbaugh isn’t ready to name a starter due to the competition continuing to go back and forth.

“They both just continue to elevate their game on a daily basis, in every little way.” Harbaugh said. “It’s pretty tight.”

Harbaugh said McNamara and McCarthy are “both playing at high starter-caliber”, that there’s no immediate rush to declare one of them the starting quarterback before the season gets underway.

“It’s a real option — I mean, there’s three as I see it,” Harbaugh explained. “One of them is going to separate and be the starter and then we’ll roll that way with the starter and a backup. The other guy could be the starter and the other be the backup, that would be option two. And option three is we’d have to see him play games to make that decision.”

Harbaugh was asked if this competition will be similar to what happened with Tom Brady and Drew Henson two decades ago, where one player would get a quarter here, the other a quarter there — Harbaugh didn’t want to get into hypotheticals on the subject.

“Some people like to say, ‘if you don’t have a starting quarterback then you don’t have a quarterback’. I put that into the category of people that they’re born originals and they die copies,” Harbaugh said. “They just hear something, and they parrot it.”

Both McNamara and McCarthy will likely both have time to prove they should be the clear-cut No. 1 option. While every opponent should be taken seriously, the fact Michigan starts the season at home playing programs that have struggled mightily in recent years (Colorado State, Hawaii, Connecticut) should give Harbaugh more time to decide.

“This is a very good unique situation. We have two quarterbacks that are playing at a high starter level and we’re gonna keep competing and it’s possible there’s a starter by the first game, and then possible that it plays into the season.” Harbaugh said. “Then we pick the one that’s gonna help the team win, who’s gonna be the best person to play quarterback to win the game.”

This isn’t coach speak, this is where the competition is, and right now it’s hard not to think this competition is still chugging along when the season starts in two weeks.