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Michigan QB Cade McNamara Says He Wasn't Expecting to Split Starts with J.J. McCarthy

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 3, 2022

Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Consider Michigan Wolverines quarterback Cade McNamara among those a bit surprised that he'll split starts with J.J. McCarthy to start the 2022 season.

"I'd definitely say it's pretty unusual," he told reporters. "It was kinda a thing 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."

Brad Galli @BradGalli

Michigan QB Cade McNamara said the decision to have JJ McCarthy start Week 2 was “unexpected.” <a href="https://t.co/XAtX7yuHLW">pic.twitter.com/XAtX7yuHLW</a>

Head coach Jim Harbaugh told reporters this week that his plan was to start McNamara on Saturday against Colorado State and to give McCarthy the nod against Hawaii on Sept. 10.

"No person, that's biblical, no person knows what the future holds," he said. "It's a process and it's going to be based on performance, but we're not going to withhold any good thing. Both have been tremendous quarterbacks. We think that both are capable of leading our team to a championship."

"Some people have asked, 'How did you come to that decision? Was it based on some kind of NFL model?'" he added. "No, it's really based biblical. Solomon, he was known to be a pretty wise person."

Harbaugh seemed to be referencing the Judgement of Solomon parable, with the story going that two women went to King Solomon, laying claim to the same child. Solomon's response was that the women should cut the child in two and split it evenly. One of the women said that she would rather see the child go to the other woman than see him killed, and Solomon awarded her the child.

Andy Staples @Andy_Staples

Now re-reading the story of Solomon.<br><br>So is Harbaugh going to threaten to cut a QB in half and hope an offensive lineman screams "No. Please. Don't kill him. Just make him QB2."<br><br>And then Harbaugh names that QB the starter?

McNamara, 22, served as Michigan's starter last year, throwing for 2,576 yards, 15 touchdowns and six interceptions while completing 64.2 percent of his passes. He helped lead Michigan to a 12-2 record, the school's first outright Big Ten title since 2003 and a College Football Playoff berth.

But McCarthy, highly recruited out of high school ahead of last year, saw some playing time as well in 2021 as the backup, throwing for 516 yards and five scores while adding 124 yards on the ground and two touchdowns.

While he was affected during spring practice by a shoulder issue in his throwing arm, he's clearly impressed since.

"Cade is arguably one of the most improved players on the team. J.J. did not have spring practice, but he has ascended to where he's at, based on his performance," Harbaugh said. "That's a really, really good thing. There's no demotion for Cade McNamara. It is a promotion for J.J., based on what he's been able to do as well."

It's unclear how long the two will split starts or playing time. McNamara started his season by going 9-of-18 for 136 yards and a touchdown in the Wolverines' 51-7 hammering of Colorado State on Saturday. He led Michigan on six scoring drives.

Sam Webb @SamWebb77

.<a href="https://twitter.com/CoachJim4UM?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CoachJim4UM</a> on Cade McNamara's performance - "i thought he was really good. He had a couple balls that were dropped... i thought he had a really good game"

McCarthy played limited snaps, finishing 4-of-4 for 30 yards. But he impressed nonetheless, also rushing three times for 50 yards and a touchdown.

angelique @chengelis

Harbaugh on JJ McCarthy “he was electric when he got in, no question about that”

Brad Galli @BradGalli

Jim Harbaugh on managing how Cade McNamara and JJ McCarthy feel during the QB battle: “I don’t think I have to manage anything.”<br><br>He called them both warriors.

For now, it would appear that Harbaugh is happy with his quarterback platoon. It will undoubtedly remain a focus of the Wolverines' season, however, especially after McNamara's comments on Saturday.

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