Ask anyone on the Michigan Wolverines football team about sophomore quarterback J.J. McCarthy, and you’ll likely hear a similar theme — he is lightning fast. Not just physically fast, though that’s no small part of his arsenal, but mentally as well.
That combination makes McCarthy not only a speed threat on designed quarterback runs, but elusive when the pressure comes crashing down on him, something veteran linebacker Michael Barrett highlighted in a press availability Monday evening.
“You’ve got to make sure your resume is perfect,” Barrett said. “You got to make sure you have your edges because if he gets outside and we’re in man coverage or something, he can beat you with his feet. He’s a fast one, so he can get out of there. You think you have him but he’ll slip out of a couple of tackles, and we’ll laugh about it because we can’t really tackle him or touch him in practice.
“We just have to make sure we kind of keep an edge on and keep the pocket tight whenever we rush in, don’t pass the quarterback, things like that so you don’t get to escape on us. It’s something you got to kind of focus on when he’s in there.”
To their credit, the Wolverines’ defense is no slouch themselves when it comes to speed. Multiple players have called the 2022 unit one of the fastest in their time in Ann Arbor, an opinion Barrett shares.
“I don’t want to toot my own horn here, but I’m a little fast,” Barrett said. “I feel like we’re flying around as a whole. We have a lot of guys that can move, a lot of guys coming off the edges in the secondary or even the interior. I feel like we have a lot of guys just flying around.”
We’ll see who will be flying around more — McCarthy or the Michigan defense — this Saturday under the lights at the Big House against Hawaii.