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What to watch for in the Michigan Spring Game

Football is (almost) back!

Vrbo Fiesta Bowl - Michigan v TCU Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images

It seems like the Fiesta Bowl was just yesterday, but the spring game is upon us! With the preseason expectations for the Michigan Wolverines being as high as ever, there’s a lot more intrigue in regards to this year’s game.

Here are some things to keep an eye on while watching.

J.J. McCarthy

There are a couple different reasons why all eyes will be on QB1 during the game. First off, he’s QB1; all eyes are always on the guy who is going to be leading the team. However, there are some other points of interest as well.

McCarthy recently told reporters he put on around 10 pounds of muscle so far this offseason. Since practices have started, there have been pictures and videos of McCarthy posted on social media, and he certainly does look bigger. A bigger, faster, stronger McCarthy is something everyone is very excited to see in game action.

While this won’t be close to being completely answered during the spring game, I’m excited to see the development of McCarthy’s decision making. We all know what McCarthy can do as a quarterback. He’s a special player. Going back to before the 2022 season when McCarthy was battling for the starting job with Cade McNamara, the one concern with McCarthy was his decision making. He sometimes tries to force a play that isn’t there. This ended up not being a big issue last year, but the two pick-sixes that happened in the Fiesta Bowl can’t happen in big games again.

McCarthy has all the talent in the world and there’s a reason he’s considered one of the top returning passers in all of college football. When those mistakes get fixed, he’s going to be even better, and it’ll be exciting to watch how he’s improved that part of his game.


In this new era of college sports with the transfer portal, there are always a lot of experienced guys coming in each year. The Wolverines hit the transfer portal hard this offseason, and there are a lot of newcomers to be excited about.

New additions to the Wolverines include Ernest Hausmann (LB, Nebraska), LaDarius Henderson (OL, Arizona State), Josaiah Stewart (EDGE, Coastal Carolina), AJ Barner (TE, Indiana), Myles Hinton (OL, Stanford), Drake Nugent (OL, Stanford) and Jack Tuttle (QB, Indiana).

It’ll obviously be intriguing to see all these guys in action, but there’s a couple in particular I’m especially excited to see.

First is Hausmann, the top ranked player in Michigan’s transfer class. Hausmann is going to be a great addition to an already loaded linebacker room. He is only a sophomore, yet he comes in with a ton of experience; he started a ton of games last year for Nebraska and totaled 54 tackles. Hausmann is going to be a stud.

With the way the Wolverines utilize tight ends, it’s impossible to not be thrilled about Barner coming in from Indiana. Barner is going to be a senior this season and had a solid few years at IU. It’s also a great sign to see he was voted a team captain a year ago. He’s going to be a great culture fit and a valuable asset.

Quarterback play

I’ve already touched on McCarthy, but it’ll be exciting to see all the quarterbacks compete against each other. This is especially something to be excited about because we didn’t really get to see that last year.

The battle of McCarthy vs. McNamara was supposed to be a huge part of last year’s spring game, but an injury to McCarthy kept him out and McNamara quarterbacked both teams before coming out.

This year, we will actually see two different quarterbacks going against each other. Obviously, we all know McCarthy is going to be the quarterback next season, but it’ll still be fun to see these guys compete against one another.

The backups are a crucial part of the team, too. Injuries happen and everyone needs to be ready, and Michigan has a lot of talent at the position who will be on display.

Davis Warren has taken tremendous strides, Alex Orji was very fun to watch last year as a freshman, and we get to see Jack Tuttle in the maize and blue for the first time.

It’s going to be a good battle for that second-string position, and seeing all that talent on display during the spring game will be awesome.

It feels great to be talking about Michigan playing football again and getting to see the 2023 Michigan football team for the first time will be exciting!