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It’s JJ’s Job

The quarterback controversy at Michigan, if there really ever was one, should be over now. With his spectacular game against Hawaii, JJ McCarthy is the winner of the competition. He should and will get the starting nod from Jim Harbaugh.

JJ has so much upside, and he has matured into a really dangerous quarterback. His ability to make plays with his feet, extend plays, gives him an added dimension. But, it is not just that ability, but he can throw accurately, and he can throw deep off of a scramble or a run. With all the respect in the world to Cade McNamara’s game, he just can’t match JJ in that category. As a coach, you want to make it as tough as you can on the opposing defensive co-ordinator, and JJ McCarthy will give opposing DC’s headaches.

I don’t know how to explain it, but the entire offense seems to be more efficient when JJ is at the helm. Now, remember, it was Hawaii, and they are not in the same zip code as Michigan geographically, or talent wise.  But, even with that, things seemed more crisp, there was an expectation that every play could break. The offensive line created big creases for Blake Corum. They protected against the Hawaii defensive front beautifully when JJ went back to throw. Receivers were wide open. It was masterful at all levels. With JJ on top of his game, and everybody else on top of theirs, it appeared easy and JJ was the beneficiary. Now, don’t get me wrong, JJ was a huge part of it, but that offense was in synch and rolling.

That’s why JJ will be the starter.

Now, a word about Cade McNamara. When he got in the game, he could never get in any rhythm. When he handed it off on a run pay, it got stuffed, he was then faced with 2nd and long. When he went back to throw, an offensive lineman missed a block, Cade was sacked. If it could go wrong, it did go wrong. Then, wanting desperately to make something happen, he threw an interception. It was a tough night for Cade, and yet, he supported the team, and JJ when it was JJ’s night to be crowned. I give him a ton of credit.

Remember, this guy took Michigan to a Big Ten Title, a win over Ohio State and the National Playoff semi finals just 10 months ago. He was elected a captain by his teammates entering this season. He is a great story. He will be a really good insurance policy. And, I predict, you will hear more from Cade McNamara during this season.

It’s a long year. It’s now time to get better with every snap. The outside noise of the quarterback battle is over. The defense, which has been in my eyes, the most pleasant surprise of the young season, must continue to get better. It is the job now for the coaching staff, and Jim Harbaugh to maintain a focus and a hunger throughout this roster. These players must take nothing for granted on every play. They must never take a game for granted. On both sides of the ball, this team is good enough, I feel, that they will be favored in every game they play until the last one. And, that means nothing! If we learned anything this past Saturday, ie App State beats Texas A&M, Marshall beats ND in South Bend, Wash St beats Wisconsin in Madison, it is that no game is a sure thing.

Every week, play like you are the underdog. I really like this team. It’s only two weeks in, but, I really like the way this season is shaping up. The enemy is complacency.

Go Blue.

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