Will Harbaugh’s confidence in McNamara pay off in East Lansing?
Barring a shocking decision by head coach Jim Harbaugh that falls somewhere between moron and genius, junior quarterback Cade McNamara will lead the Michigan Wolverines onto the field for the first offensive practice of the post. noon this weekend in East Lansing.
In his third year with the program, McNamara served as a firm hand to guide Michigan to a perfect 7-0 start. It wasn’t flashy and he certainly won’t appear on Heisman’s watchlist anytime soon, but the Reno (Nev.) Junior quarterback has done almost everything that needs him. been requested so far.
Here’s how McNamara stacks up against the other 13 QBs in the Big Ten conference after the first seven weeks of the season:
- COMP: # 9 (92)
- AT: # 11 (146)
- COMP PCT: # 8 (63.0)
- YDS PASS: # 9 (1115)
- TD: # 11 (5)
- INT: No. 2 (1)
- AVG GPJ: # 10 (159.3)
- EFF: # 9 (137.1)
Overall score B10: 8.6
For Harbaugh, the bet on McNamara – and I certainly think it was a bet – will pay off this weekend in East Lansing one way or another.
On the eve of what promises to be an epic clash between Michigan’s No.6 and Michigan State’s No.8, much of Michigan’s fanbase remains preoccupied heading into Saturday. The concern centers on the growing belief that Harbaugh’s decision to ride with McNamara will come back to haunt the Wolverines when it matters most – and that matters hugely this weekend.
Despite a much-loved (and unproven) true first-year quarterback who wowed fans in limited reps, Harbaugh has remained loyal to McNamara’s steady hand as the Wolverines get into the teeth of their Big Ten schedule. In fact, Harbaugh says he’s happy with the results so far.
“I’m happy with Cade,” Harbaugh said on the “Stoney and Jansen” radio show on 97.1 WXYT-FM earlier this week. “He does a lot of things. I know people think they’re quarterback experts – and corners too, because it’s obvious when you see a guy get beaten.
“But Cade does a lot of things right.”
If there’s quarterback controversy in Ann Arbor, it certainly doesn’t exist within the walls of Schembechler Hall – at least not yet. As fans clamor for McCarthy to get more reps, Harbaugh once again takes a slow, steady approach with his highly rated real freshman QB.
“He’s starting to come in because he deserved it,” Harbaugh said. “He didn’t get the starting position in training camp, but he came in, he played well and he won more. We will continue to put more on his plate – and I think that’s something that is ultimately difficult for an opponent.
The biggest question for Michigan heading into this weekend is, is the passing game good enough when it matters most?
The vast majority of Michigan fans regularly asked themselves the same question week after week, even as the wins continued to pile up. Is that McNamara the guy? Can he make the big throws in the big times? Can he be the type of quarterback Michigan needs to get over the hump?
As a game draw near that will almost certainly require some great playmakers to make some big plays, it looks like Michigan fans are on the verge of getting their answer on McNamara somehow. .