The Wolverine

2020 Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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52 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2020 FOOTBALL PREVIEW QUARTERBACKS BY JOHN BORTON I t's the most lauded, vilified, scrutinized and lionized po- sition within Michigan football — or anywhere else, for that matter. The quarterback stands at the heart of every football team. He touches the ball on nearly every play, and if he's not good, the team generally faces the same outcome as a snowball on equatorial asphalt. It's a meltdown. So any little disruption in the preparation process for quarterbacks tends to represent a big deal. Michigan's ef- fort to replace two-year starter Shea Patterson encountered a huge disruption in the spring. The COVID-19-induced cancellation of spring football wiped away 15 practices worth of intense scrutiny of the quarterbacks, dili- gent charting of every throw, their own growth in working with the offensive unit, etc. That's not good, acknowledged Michigan offensive coordinator Josh Gattis, who stands ever eager to flip the switches and light it up. Staying in the dark a little longer wasn't his preferred option, but he has also seen encouraging moments — through Zoom meetings, interacting with the young men ready to battle it out. "We missed that significant chunk of time, with spring football practice being canceled," Gattis said. "I've really been encouraged in the steps we can control, the mental reps, the engagement in the meeting rooms, at how our guys have done — especially our quarterbacks. "They've been really engaged. We've challenged all three of those guys to take on bigger leadership roles on the team." Those three at the heart of the fight for the No. 1 job are redshirt junior Dylan McCaffrey, the 6-5, 220-pound veteran with the most time on the field; redshirt sophomore Joe Milton, the 6-5, 245-pounder featuring the strongest arm; and Cade McNamara, a 6-1, 205-pound redshirt freshman who generated a buzz with his late- season and offseason efforts. Redshirt sophomore Joe Milton, who was Michigan's Scout Team Player of the Year on offense in 2018, has the size, strength and arm to be a difference maker. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN SELECTING THE LEADER Michigan Seeks Someone To Run The Show In 2020

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