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#pounditThursday, September 29, 2022

Jim Harbaugh offers ominous sign about Michigan QB situation

Jim Harbaugh in Michigan gear

Aug 31, 2019; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh before the game against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has yet to name a starting quarterback for the 2022 season, and he hinted Wednesday that he might not do so anytime soon.

Senior Cade McNamara and sophomore J.J. McCarthy shared snaps in 2021 and are battling for the starting role in 2022. Harbaugh, however, suggested that he may not anoint either one of them ahead of the season opener against Colorado State on Sept. 3.

“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, via Aaron McMann of MLive. “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.”

It’s hard to say whether this is a vote of confidence in both quarterbacks or not. It is slightly worrying from a Michigan perspective. Running a quarterback competition into the season typically does not work out that well, and the lack of commitment and certainty can come across as a lack of faith in whomever is not in the game. The Wolverines did not do this last season, when McNamara was the clear starter while McCarthy was used as a change-of-pace option due to his superior dynamism.

McNamara seemed to have the edge in spring with McCarthy dealing with some injury issues. Maybe Harbaugh is hesitant to name a starter because he doesn’t want to crush the spirit of either player.

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