Sophomore quarterback JJ McCarthy was given the keys to Michigan’s offense after the first two games of the year, beating out the man who had established himself as a legend in Ann Arbor.
All Cade McNamara has done in 2021 is defeating Ohio State for the first time in a decade, leading the Wolverines to the College Football Playoff Semifinals.
McCarthy replaced McNamara in the second half of the playoff loss to Georgia, vying for the starting job at the camp. McNamara beat Colorado State in the season opener, but coach Jim Harbaugh started McCarthy against Hawaii in Week 2, and Michigan won unilaterally.
Fast forward to now. McNamara has entered a transfer portal and is now in Iowa. Meanwhile, McCarthy is surrounded by media at his Vrbo fiesta in Paradise Valley’s Camelback inn.
No. 2 Michigan (12-0) will face No. 3 TCU (12-1) at State Farm Stadium at 2:00 p.m. Get the right to proceed to the game. The Peach Bowl over Georgia (13-0) and No. 4 Ohio (11-1).
“We’ve been here before and know there are a lot of things that can distract us from the job at hand,” McCarthy said. It’s like a business trip, not a vacation.
“I think the biggest difference is that we’ve been here before and we know what to do.”
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There is no sea to distract the wolverines, but the mild climate is pleasant. This week’s focus, however, is football and how TCU analyzes his 3-3-5 defensive scheme.
“The beach is one of the biggest distractions we don’t have to worry about,” McCarthy said. will be our number one priority.”
At 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighing 196 pounds, McCarthy was backed up as a true freshman last year as a five-star freshman coming out of the National Factory at Florida IMG Academy. He waited his turn, overcame his shoulder injury in the offseason, and is poised to become the man behind Michigan’s offense. He’s a far cry from the Michigan air assault, and likes to tease defenses with strong offensive lines and good ground. game.
In his first start in college against Hawaii, he threw a huge lead after catching 229 yards on 11-of-12 passes and three touchdowns in the first half. He then went on to do it, but in a more run game that ran back Blake Colm and made headlines.
Corum suffered a meniscal tear in his left knee that required surgery late in the season and was knocked out of the Big Ten Championship Games and CFP. But even with this Dork contender and Heisman on his trophy to watch list, Michigan kept pace. Playing on his feet, McCarthy had 263 passing yards and three of his touchdowns in his 45-23 win over Ohio State. And Donovan Edwards picked up where Colm left off for 216 yards and he had 22 carries for two TDs.
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Quarterback coach and co-offensive coordinator Matt Weiss said he could run the ball with McCarthy this year and has deep running back room that not only Edwards but CJ Stokes and Karel Mullings can do. He said it helped.
“He’s a really good runner and he’s selective when he does it,” Weiss said. “But we love the running back we have. You can’t replace Blake. Had he stayed healthy, he would have won the Heisman Trophy. I’m not going to replace one person, but there are multiple people, good players.”
Linemen love McCarthy not only because they can count on him to play smart, but because McCarthy takes care of them through the platform of his name, image and likeness.
Offensive lineman Ryan Hayes said, “He definitely gives us something here and there. It’s really great. He’s a great guy. JJ is the best.”
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McCarthy likes to use his platform for charitable donations. He donated his over $30,000 to Children’s Hospital.
“I have a great opportunity and I am so blessed to be in the position I am in,” McCarthy said. Being able to do that is my inner driving force, and that I can make this world a better place.”
McCarthy is driven to lead Michigan to the championship game. All his teammates are in.
“He was always a calm, composed, collective guy who never rattled or went off schedule,” Hayes said. “He’s gotten to the next level this year knowing football better and getting used to his skin.
“But he just really knows the game. He’s always had that element as a quarterback, never too high or too low.”
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