The Wolverine

2022 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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46 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2022 FOOTBALL PREVIEW WELL-ARMED CREW Michigan QBs Feature Talent And Swagger BY JOHN BORTON [ QUA RT E R B AC K S ] M ichigan in 2022 lacks nothing at the most scrutinized position on the field. The Wolverine QBs collectively feature passing accuracy, scrambling ability, pressure- situation savvy and more. Without question, they don't come up bankrupt in the confidence category. U-M fans missed out on the pitched battle they hoped to see in spring ball 2022: senior Cade McNamara versus sophomore J.J. McCarthy. The latter's sore shoulder severely limited his throwing, putting off the football-slinging showdown until fall camp. It's safe to say, though, that neither contestant will be conceding an inch. McNamara let everyone know where he stands partway through spring ball. Asked how he views the quarterback competition, he delivered the quote of the preseason. "I'm a Big Ten championship-winning starting quarterback," McNamara declared. "And that's how I see it." End of discussion. Well, actually no. The discussion will rage on into the fall, with Mc- Carthy having his say as well. The 2021 true freshman said plenty in his rookie year, often without opening his mouth. In addition to making frequent appearances to run the Michigan offense, he'd round up fellow frosh like running back Donovan Edwards and wideout Andrel Anthony for post- game throwing sessions. Along the way, he let it be known how much he loves Michigan, and that he's in it for the long haul. All of which is nothing but good for the former Michigan quarterback in charge of the Wolverines. Jim Harbaugh will let it all play out this offseason, remain understated and quietly know he's headed into the fall loaded at quarterback. "We're going to play the best players," Harbaugh noted on the "In The Trenches" podcast with Jon Jansen. "And the question comes back, 'Well, how do we know who the best players are?' Because they play the best. It's really that simple." The complex cogitations from the outside won't cease until someone takes the field on Sept. 3 against Colorado State — and probably not even then. Either way, both of Michigan's top QBs will play, and look to replicate the championship formula they directed in 2021. Here's how it all shapes up under the perpetual microscope. THE BIG TWO McNamara's matter-of-fact declaration can't be argued, and he'll boast a Big Ten cham- pionship ring to back it up. He's the first U-M quarterback since Denard Robinson in 2011 to lead the Wolverines to a victory over Ohio State, and the first since Chad Henne in 2004 to guide Michigan to a league title. Former Michigan offensive lineman Doug Skene likes to say if a team can run the football and not throw it to the other team, you'll go a long way. McNamara and Michigan embodied that look in 2021. The Wolverines rushed for 3,001 yards, while McNamara threw for 2,576 with 15 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions. He represented the steady, safe option at quarter- back, and Michigan rode Senior Cade McNamara threw for 2,576 yards and 15 touchdowns last year. More importantly, as he said in the spring, he became "a Big Ten championship-winning starting quarterback." PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL YEAR-BY-YEAR PASSING EFFICIENCY STATS Year Yards Per Pass Passer Rating TD/INT 2012 8.1 130.39 20/19 2013 8.2 139.45 21/13 2014 6.3 109.68 10/18 2015 7.4 136.60 21/10 2016 7.4 138.25 20/7 2017 6.4 110.32 9/10 2018 8.1 149.78 24/9 2019 8.0 138.15 25/9 2020* 7.1 127.17 9/4 2021 8.1 143.86 21/9 * Team only played six games

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