The Wolverine

2021 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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THE WOLVERINE 2021 FOOTBALL PREVIEW ■ 57 State, he separated the AC joint in his shoul- der struggling for extra yardage on a scram- ble. Not long after, COVID concerns separated the Wolverines from finishing their schedule. "It was very disappointing," McNamara said. "I wasn't the only guy banged up. There were a lot of guys on the team that were pushing through injuries, giving ev- erything they could for the sake of the team. "For those guys, for the seniors, who had given everything they had, even with a less- fortunate year as far as record, it was very disappointing." Turning The Page McNamara clearly led the way in spring ball. Although he'll continue to be chal- lenged by Michigan's other quarterbacks — including Texas Tech transfer Alan Bowman in fall camp — he's ready to lead U-M to a much different 2021. "Cade's a great player, a great quarter- back, great guy, a leader on the team," fresh- man offensive lineman Zak Zinter noted. "He's super solid in his reads, and able to put the ball on the guys when he needs to. He's just a really great player." He's also much more comfortable with Josh Gattis' offense now, two years into it. He's drawing leadership leverage from that post-spring designation as No. 1. "I am a competitive leader, who is very verbal, doing everything he can to make sure his team wins, every game," McNamara stressed. "I'm holding my teammates ac- countable and holding myself accountable. Doing everything I can to help my team win is the most important thing." "You can't walk into the University of Michigan and act like you're the leader," Gary McNamara observed. "That would be a humongous mistake. That first year, sitting out, he made the comment to me: 'I feel like I can't be myself, until I put myself in posi- tion to play. Then the leadership piece will come with it, and then I can be me and just play football.'" His son has put himself in position — without question. "Cade is very built for it," Gary McNa- mara said. "When your kid's a quarterback at Michigan, it's nerve wracking. It's much easier to play or coach than it is to be a par- ent in the stands. "But he's built for it. He likes it. There have been times I've asked him the question: 'How you doing? Is everything cool? If you go into a restaurant and someone is taking a picture of you, are you all right with that?' "He's like, 'That's just the way it's sup- posed to be, dad. I'm good.'" He's good, and determined to make Mich- igan great again. ❏ Jansen Calls McNamara The Obvious Choice Jon Jansen has been around some quarterback battles, including Brian Griese and Tom Brady in 1997. The former Michigan All-American turned media personality insists the latest version tilts heavily in the direction of redshirt freshman Cade McNamara. "We'd all be foolish not to think that Cade McNamara is the leader in the clubhouse," Jansen said on his 'In The Trenches' podcast. "He's the one that has the experience, from starting a game last year to getting into a few games. He's the only one with that Big Ten game experience. "He's also been around the team a little bit longer, so guys know him a little bit more. He has a little bit more cache, when he says to receivers, 'Hey, let's go out and work on these routes,' or, 'Let's see if we can find some defensive players, so we can have some seven-on-seven.' You've got to have that from your quarterback." Of course, Michigan needs more than just someone who has seen the field at quarterback. Jansen — one of the very few operating in a media setting that actually sees spring practices — insists McNamara possesses more. "What I saw from Cade was the development, and some of what we saw last year, but also some development in terms of directing his offensive line, directing this offense, picking up blitzes, getting the ball downfield for opportunities," Jansen said. "One thing I talked about last year — and I've talked about since the spring game — is Cade McNamara does a really good job of giving his receivers a chance to make a play. He puts loft on the ball when it has to be there. He puts some zip on the ball on some of those crossing routes. "I like his accuracy. There are a lot of things you can like about Cade McNamara, and where he's going with his development." — John Borton In McNamara's first career start, against Penn State, he separated the AC joint in his shoulder struggling for extra yardage on a scramble. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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