When Michigan takes on Hawaii on Saturday night they’ll be as highly favored as it gets.
Michigan is currently a 51.5-point favorite. Hawaii has had a rough go of it to start the year. They dropped their season opener to Vanderbilt 63-10 and lost to Western Kentucky last week 49-17.
Despite Hawaii’s less than stellar play, sophomore quarterback J.J. McCarthy aims to have a high level of focus. McCarthy wants to have the same approach this week as he would against the best teams on Michigan’s schedule.
“Definitely kind of look at these games in the front end of the season as an illusion,” McCarthy said on In the Trenches with Jon Jansen. “These nameless, faceless opponents, we’re not worried about them. They’re running different schemes and all that and we gotta understand that, but it’s just all about how are we getting better? We’re expected to win these games but what strides are we making? What steps are we making to get better as a unit so when it comes down the line, we aren’t just doing this all the way down to when we play a good opponent. We always want to be here, just always looking to get better.”
This week McCarthy will be going against a Hawaii defense that doesn’t play a lot of zone and doesn’t blitz in abundance. McCarthy expects to have a lot of time in the pocket and for Hawaii native and Michigan wideout Roman Wilson to have a good game.
“A lot of it just has to do with just personnel right now because they play a lot of man coverage. They man up in the backend and it’s just seeing what guys we can attack,” McCarthy said. “They don’t bring too much pressure, so I know that I’ll have time. And, of course, my offensive line, I know they’ll have time no matter what they bring. That’s the god honest truth right there. It’s just personnel-wise, definitely seeing who is gonna guard number 14 (Roman Wilson). Because that man is going to have one fun night.”
McCarthy said he will have around 60 family and friends in attendance at The Big House for his first collegiate start. McCarthy will strive to showcase what he’s been working on during fall camp.
“A lot of it had to do with relaxing in the pocket,” McCarthy said about fall camp improvements. “Subtle pocket movements, being able to understand defensive scheme a little bit better. With that experience, it was huge coming naturally. As always, just getting better chemistry with my receivers, offensive line, and running backs, all that stuff that comes with building experience.”
This is a major opportunity for McCarthy to build experience and state his case for the starting quarterback job. McCarthy told the media on Tuesday that he’s always felt ready. The difference now? He gets to take the first snap of the game.
“Right when I stepped in the door here, I was always prepared to be the guy. Snap one, game one, whatever it was. Now it’s just having that reassurance that I’m going to be in there snap one, so it kind of clears all the worry and indecisiveness going into it and just builds more confidence.”