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#pounditTuesday, September 27, 2022

Articles tagged: Michigan Football

Jim Harbaugh makes announcement on Michigan starting QB

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

Jim Harbaugh on Saturday night made an official announcement regarding his starting quarterback.

Harbaugh shared after his Michigan Wolverines dismantled Hawaii 56-10 that JJ McCarthy would be the team’s starter moving forward.

Though Harbaugh made the announcement, it was the play of the quarterbacks that made the determination.

In two games, McCarthy ouptlayed Cade McNamara.

McCarthy had a “near flawless performance” against Hawaii, Harbaugh said. The sophomore was 11/12 for 229 yards and 3 touchdowns. The one incompletion was a drop. McNamara was 4/6 for 26 yards and an interception, with -17 rushing yards.

McNamara helped lead Michigan to a Big Ten Championship, win over Ohio State, and spot in the CFP last season. He did a lot for the program and deserved to have a shot to continue leading the team. Frankly, he should have been the team’s starter in 2020 too over Joe Milton (Harbaugh really blew that decision).

But it wasn’t Michigan that took his starting job away. And it certainly wasn’t Harbaugh or an unfair coaching staff. It was McCarthy, whose play has been superior.

The Wolverines are 2-0 and host UConn next. Their schedule doesn’t get its toughest until mid-October, when they host Michigan State and Penn State in consecutive weeks.They could very realistically be 11-0 going into the Ohio State game this season, which will be in Columbus.

Cade McNamara hints at frustration with Michigan QB battle

Cade McNamara throwing a pass

Sep 3, 2022; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback Cade McNamara (12) passes in the first half against the Colorado State Rams at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Michigan Wolverines’ in-season quarterback competition has been questioned by a number of observers, and one of the quarterbacks involved does not seem pleased with how the process is being handled.

Coach Jim Harbaugh announced prior to the start of the season that senior Cade McNamara and sophomore JJ McCarthy would start the first and second games, respectively, before a final decision is made on the season-long starter. After Saturday’s 51-7 win over Colorado State, McNamara, the Week 1 starter, signaled that he was not happy with how the situation was being handled.

“I definitely would say it’s pretty unusual,” McNamara said, via Tony Garcia of the Detroit Free Press. “It was kind of a thing that I wasn’t expecting by the end of camp. I thought I had my best camp, I thought I put myself in a good position, it was just the decision that coach went with.

“You know, however, it’s just not my decision. So however it is, whatever my role is — you know I’m honored my teammates recognized me for the role that I have currently. That’s about it.”

McNamara, who was Michigan’s starter throughout the 2021 season, was voted a team captain by his teammates, which is what he is alluding to here.

The quotes make it pretty obvious that McNamara felt he had done enough to win the starting job. After all, he quarterbacked the Wolverines to a Big Ten title and a College Football Playoff appearance in 2021. McCarthy is a more mobile quarterback and a former top recruit, but the sophomore is simply less experienced, and McNamara did not really do anything to loosen his grip on the job. Clearly, the entire process is fueling some hard feelings, which is probably part of the reason why some who would know have been so critical of it.

McNamara went 9/18 with 136 yards and a touchdown Saturday in a game that became a second half blowout, so he did not really get the chance to impress. McCarthy will get his shot next week against Hawaii.

Matt Leinart rips Michigan over handling of QB situation

Matt Leinart at a press conference

Nov 29, 2021; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Matt Leinart attends a press conference to introduce Riley as Southern California Trojans head coach at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jim Harbaugh is allowing Michigan’s quarterback battle to spill over into the regular season, and one former Heisman Trophy winner thinks that is a terrible idea.

Senior Cade McNamara and sophomore J.J. McCarthy competed for Michigan’s starting quarterback job throughout the offseason. Harbaugh announced over the weekend that the competition will not be settled until the Wolverines play their first two regular season games. McNamara will start against Colorado State in Week 1 and McCarthy will get the nod in Week 2 against Hawaii. Harbaugh will then decide which of the two will be named the full-time starter.

Matt Leinart had a strong reaction to Harbaugh’s approach.

The most unusual thing about Harbaugh’s approach is that he came out and announced it. By doing so, he almost boxed himself into the decision. How can he bench McNamara if the senior throws for 400 yards and 3 touchdowns in Week 1? Apparently he is committed to giving McCarthy a shot no matter what happens.

McNamara was the starter for the bulk of the 2021 season, which saw Michigan win the Big Ten and reach the College Football Playoff for the first time. McCarthy, a former five-star recruit, is the more mobile and arguably more dynamic player, but is also significantly less experienced. That showed at times in 2021, as his costly turnover was a key moment in Michigan’s only regular season defeat.

Michigan reveals unusual plan to settle QB battle

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

The Michigan Wolverines are using an unusual tactic to make a final decision on who their starting quarterback will be for the 2022 season.

Michigan has spent the offseason deciding between senior Cade McNamara and sophomore J.J. McCarthy, and evidently still are not making a final decision. In a statement, coach Jim Harbaugh revealed that the first two games of the season will essentially serve as auditions, with Cade McNamara starting against Colorado State in Week 1 and J.J. McCarthy getting the nod in Week 2 against Hawaii. According to Harbaugh, a starter and backup will be decided prior to Week 3 against Connecticut.

McNamara was the starter for the bulk of the 2021 season, which saw Michigan win the Big Ten and reach the College Football Playoff for the first time. McCarthy, a former five-star recruit, is the more mobile and arguably more dynamic player, but is also significantly less experienced. That showed at times in 2021, as his costly turnover was a key moment in Michigan’s only regular season defeat.

Harbaugh had previously suggested the quarterback battle would drag on into the season, and that appears to be the case. It remains to be seen whether such an unorthodox process pays any dividends in the end.

Jim Harbaugh names his 4 goals for Michigan in 2022

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 last season made the College Football Playoff for the first time in program history. Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh has identified a return to the playoff as one of four goals for his team heading into the 2022 campaign.

During Tuesday’s portion of this week’s Big Ten media days, Harbaugh revealed to reporters his goals for Michigan going into this season.

“Our goals would be to beat Ohio State and Michigan State in the same year, win the Big Ten championship and the national championship,” Harbaugh said. “Those would be our four goals.”

Completing all four objectives will not be an easy task. While the Wolverines managed to beat the Buckeyes last season, they have not beaten Ohio State in back-to-back meetings since the 1999-2000 seasons. Michigan lost to Michigan State 37-33 last October as well.

Michigan handily beat Iowa in the Big Ten Championship 42-3 but was blown out by the eventual national champion Georgia Bulldogs in last year’s College Football Playoff semifinals. According to an iteration of ESPN’s FPI rankings and the All State Playoff Predictor from earlier this offseason, six other teams have a better shot at making the playoff than Michigan this season.

With Michigan State set to visit Ann Arbor on October 29, Harbaugh’s four goals could take a major hit well before “The Game” or any postseason play takes place.

Former Michigan coach Gary Moeller dies at 81

Gary Moeller talks

Former Michigan Wolverines head coach Gary Moeller died on Monday at the age of 81, the school announced.

Moeller coached at Michigan for 23 years and served as their head coach from 1990-1994. He went 44-13-3, good for a .758 winning percentage. Moeller’s Wolverines went 4-1 in bowl games. They also set a Big Ten record with 19 consecutive conference wins from 1990-1992.

Interestingly, Moeller came to Michigan from Ohio State. He played football for the Buckeyes and then coached high school ball in Ohio before joining Bo Schembechler’s staff at Miami (Ohio). He followed Schembechler to Michigan, and ended up being with the Wolverines from 1969-1994, save for a brief unsuccessful stint as Illinois’ coach.

The Ohio native last coached in 2003 with the Chicago Bears.

Lloyd Carr succeeded Moeller as Michigan’s head coach and shared positive comments about his predecessor.

“Gary Moeller was a great family man, great friend, great coach and a man of integrity and high character. I admired him, I respected him and I loved him,” Carr said.

Moeller has four children — three daughters and a son who played linebacker at Michigan.

John Harbaugh names 2 college programs that produce NFL-ready rookies

John Harbaugh looking on

Dec 8, 2019; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh jogs on the field prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Most NFL rookies experience a bit of culture shock once they get into organized time activities and training camp. The expectations are high, and in some ways things are very different to what they were used to in college.

But there are two exceptions, according to Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh. Harbaugh cited two schools that produce the most NFL-ready rookies: Alabama and Michigan.

“There are certain college football programs that are built like NFL programs,” Harbaugh said, via Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk. “Alabama is one, Michigan is the other one. The two top ones, I would say. Those are the ones I’m thinking of off the top of my head. So those guys generally come in and they know what to expect. It’s a little flatter for those guys in terms of practice and understanding how it works.”

Harbaugh’s praise is going to mostly come down to coaching. Nick Saban is the greatest college football coach ever in the minds of many, and his Alabama program has produced a huge amount of NFL talent. Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh is not where Saban is purely in terms of accomplishments, but he has also been successful in the NFL and knows what will be expected of players at the professional level.

Baltimore selected Michigan linebacker David Ojabo in the second round of the 2022 draft and added Alabama cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis in round four. Based on Harbaugh’s comments, it’s no big surprise that the Ravens targeted someone from each school.

Colin Kaepernick getting another NFL showcase

Colin Kaepernick smiling

Colin Kaepernick will get another chance to showcase himself for NFL teams on Saturday as part of his work with the Michigan Wolverines this week.

Friday’s NFL transaction wire revealed that Kaepernick will hold an “exhibition throwing event” at halftime of Michigan’s spring game on Saturday along with some draft-eligible players. NFL teams will be permitted to scout the event if they wish to do so.

This is the latest signal of Kaepernick’s desire to return to the NFL. By no means is he guaranteed an audience, though some NFL teams figure to be on hand for other reasons.

Kaepernick will be at the Michigan spring game as an honorary captain. That is essentially a favor from Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, who also coached Kaepernick with the 49ers. Harbaugh seems to be trying to help Kaepernick out in the quarterback’s efforts to return to the NFL by allowing this as well.

Photo: Dec 24, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) smiles after a 22-21come-from-behind win over the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Colin Kaepernick named honorary captain for 1 school’s spring game

Colin Kaepernick smiling

Colin Kaepernick is still hoping for another shot in the NFL. While that shot has yet to come, one college football program is bringing him in for a special role.

The Michigan Wolverines announced Wednesday that Kaepernick has been with the team this week and will serve as honorary captain for Saturday’s spring game.

This move comes down to the long-standing ties between Kaepernick and Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh. The pair went to the Super Bowl together with the San Francisco 49ers, and Kaepernick’s most successful period in the NFL came with Harbaugh at the helm. Harbaugh has been supportive of Kaepernick in the past, and in 2020 Harbaugh said he hoped Kaepernick would get another chance with an NFL team.

Kaepernick has been linked to one team in his comeback bid, but nothing appears imminent on that front. For now, he’ll have to settle for working with the Wolverines.

Photo: Dec 24, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) smiles after a 22-21come-from-behind win over the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan QB has great take on Ohio State rivalry

JJ McCarthy gets ready to throw

Ohio State has spent the better part of the last two decades bullying Michigan on the football field, but Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines finally got over the hump this past season. If you ask Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy, that is all that matters.

Michigan had lost eight straight and 15 of their previous 16 against Ohio State heading into their most recent meeting. They pounded the Buckeyes 42-27 at home. McCarthy was asked about that game during a recent interview with Wolverine Digest. He described the rivalry as “very personal” and said the game was “super, super nice to win.” McCarthy, who is entering his sophomore season, also noted that he doesn’t know anything other than beating Ohio State.

“For us, the whole 10-year stretch of us not winning — that’s all we know is beating Ohio State right now … so we’re going to keep that going,” McCarthy said.

The young man has a point. It may have taken Harbaugh years to beat Ohio State, but McCarthy and many other Michigan players are 1-0 against their rival.

McCarthy is a former five-star recruit who has a solid chance of winning the starting job next season. He made a big mistake when he got some playing time as a freshman (video here), but he was a highly touted prospect for a reason. Michigan may end up relying on him to lead them to back-to-back wins over Ohio State for the first time since 2000.

Photo: Dec 4, 2021; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten Conference championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports