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Fall Camp Update: The Quarterback Battle

We're now less than three weeks away from Michigan's season opener as Cade McNamara and JJ McCarthy continue to battle for the starting quarterback position.

We're getting closer and closer to the start of Michigan's football season and there's still a highly competitive position battle taking place at quarterback between JJ McCarthy and Cade McNamara. Both quarterbacks are doing some really good things and our practice observer sees the decision being a tough one, but also knows what he would do if he were Jim Harbaugh.

McNamara quarterbacked the Wolverines to heights unseen in a long time last year, which is certainly a nice feather in his cap. He didn't exactly stuff the stat sheet, but he was still the guy. Can Michigan attack the 2022 season in the same fashion? That seems to be what head coach Jim Harbaugh plans to do.

"Cade is a slightly better version of the quarterback he was last year," the observer said. "The thing is, Michigan can win 10 games with that quarterback and Harbaugh is convinced they can repeat with the same formula as last year, even down in Columbus. He thinks they broke through with a strategy last year and OSU is not conditioned to be a great run-stuffing team."

Harbaugh certainly likes how McNamara goes about his business, as do the fans in "Camp Cade". On the flip side, there's a pretty big part — maybe even the majority — of the fan base that wants the job to go to JJ. Even though that buzz is certainly loud, McNamara has been unflappable all spring and fall.

"I’ll give Cade McNamara this - he’s tough as nails," our observer noted. "You have a good majority of his OWN fan base rooting for him to fail so JJ can take over, and it doesn’t faze him. He just battles. The kid has really got something.”

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McNamara may have something, but enough talent to hold off JJ might not be it. Our observer has been very impressed by McCarthy throughout fall camp, but...

"JJ is dynamic," he said. "This offense is special when he’s running the show. It could be top 10 in the country but he does make some mistakes. He’s not as polished as Cade. In an ideal world, he’d be the guy and they’d let him work through his learning curve but I don’t know that that’s how they’ll do it. 

"It's crazy considering their first four games. It’s the perfect recipe to go with JJ and see the rewards in October and November.”

So if McCarthy isn't the guy, what happens? Talented gunslingers aren't built to hold a clipboard and the clock really starts to tick down if No. 9 isn't on the field this season. 

"The luxury Michigan has is I don't think JJ transfers even if he’s not the guy," the observer said. 

It certainly feels that way. If you spend any time with McCarthy, he doesn't come off as a transfer guy. He's committed to Harbaugh and the Wolverines and will get his chance at some point if it's not this season.