From the outside looking in to Schembechler Hall, the competition between Michigan Wolverines quarterbacks J.J. McCarthy and Cade McNamara has been described as a fierce one, with McNamara’s comments following the Colorado State game perhaps hinting at resentment building within the ranks.
To McCarthy, however, the noise surrounding him and McNamara is just that — noise.
“It’s been awesome,” McCarthy said Tuesday evening. “What better way to have a guy that’s that intelligent, that motivated, that driven, and just be able to observe him every single day and replicate some parts of his game that I can improve in mine. It’s just been an honest blessing for both us to be in this position that we’ve been in and just growing from each other.
“There’s so many outside voices that try to make us dislike each other in a way, and we’ve kinda taken that to heart. There’s been a couple practices where we’ve been like ‘man, the media really doesn’t want us to like each other,’ and we just kinda laugh at it. We take on that challenge and embrace it.”
When asked specifically about McNamara’s post-game comments, McCarthy commented he hadn’t heard them — appearing to put to bed a rumored connection between the comments and an Instagram post by McCarthy the same evening.
“I actually didn’t see, was this his postgame?” McCarthy asked. “I actually didn’t see it.”
For the sophomore, the final decision on who will remain the starter the rest of the season isn’t as important as improving his skills in the early going.
“There was no ‘okay, I’m ahead of him’ or anything like that,” McCarthy said. “It was just, you know I feel like I’m growing, I feel like I’m excelling with my guys, and it’s been like this constantly. That decision is something that’s out of my control. For me to decide what I’m doing every single day and how I’m improving every single day is my obligation.”
In his choice of words, McCarthy emphasized an ultimate point — him and McNamara are teammates first, competitors second. No matter who ends up starting, McCarthy will continue to lean on McNamara to refine his game.