According to University of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, Cade McNamara will be the starting quarterback when Michigan takes on Colorado State next Saturday. That being said, Harbaugh also said that J.J. McCarthy will start the second game of the season when the Wolverines host Hawaii at the Big House.
Here is what Harbaugh had to say about his decision to start Cade McNamara against Colorado State and J.J. McCarthy against Hawaii.
“Both quarterbacks have played great – done everything they could have and, in every way, to win the starting job,” Harbaugh said. “Coming out of camp, I just feel like we have two quarterbacks, Cade McNamara and J.J. McCarthy, that we feel very confident that we can win a championship with either of those two behind center. It's a great thing for our team but there's only one ball and only one quarterback can be out there at a time.
“So we're not ready to say who that starting quarterback is, but the decision that we have made is Cade McNamara will start the opener against Colorado State and J.J. McCarthv will start the second ball game against Hawaii, and then after week two we will make a decision going into week three on the starter and backup.”
Jim Harbaugh explains his decision to push QB battle into the season
On Monday, Harbaugh spoke to the media about his decision to push the Michigan QB battle into the season.
It's a process. It is a process. I mean, no person — it’s biblical. No person knows what the future holds. It’s a process and will be based on performance. But we're not gonna withhold any good thing. Both have been tremendous quarterbacks. We think that both are capable of leading our team to a championship. So that's good. We're gonna keep cultivating that.
People have asked: ‘How’d you come to that decision? Was it based on some kind of NFL model?’ No. It's really based biblical: Solomon. He was known for being a pretty, pretty wise person.
Harbaugh added that it is a good thing that neither QB has emerged as the clear-cut starter
I can't see it other than a good thing. They're actually both playing their best football since they've been here. Cade is arguably one of the most improved players on the team. He's playing his best football. JJ did not have spring practice, but he’s ascended to where he's at based on his performance. That's a really, really good thing. There's no demotion for Cade McNamara. He's playing his best football. It is a promotion for JJ, based on what he's been able to do as well.
FULL INTERVIEW: Jim Harbaugh discusses the Cade McNamara / JJ McCarthy QB battle, Michigan's wide receiver group, and the outlook for the season after capturing the Big Ten Championship pic.twitter.com/r5emKEJhws
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When asked if both quarterbacks will play in the opener, Harbaugh said that will be the case.
Yes. You don't withhold something good that can help the football team. So yes, I can see that.
Jim Harbaugh said he will evaluate McNamar and McCarthy based on their performance.
Based off performance. There’s not one criteria that you could plug in and say, ‘This will be the factor. That’ll be the factor.’ And I want both the quarterbacks to keep playing their game. And keep enhancing what they do really well, improving some of the things that they need to work on, but definitely not trying to play somebody else's game or the other quarterback’s game, or hit a metric or a number that is going to be the deciding factor — because there won't be one, other than we play the best players and based on performance. That’s the metric. Meritocracy.
As far as judging the quarterbacks fairly when they are not going to be starting against the same opponent, Harbaugh mentioned again that both McCarthy and McNamara will likely see the field in the first three games.
It’s not gonna be exactly the same, but where we're at right now is that it's practice versus games. We think we'll have a better understanding after the two play in the games. And we talked about earlier: This is this something we have to withhold. There's a great chance that we can play both of the quarterbacks in this game, the next game and in the third game as well.
I don't know. You just don't know. That’s the point. I mean, you can speculate, you can predict, but no man knows the future.
Nation, do you agree with this decision from Jim Harbaugh?