Heading into the 2021 season, Michigan football fans wanted to see head coach Jim Harbaugh create an identity for this program.
An identity has eluded the Michigan Wolverines since Josh Gattis took over the program’s offense. Gattis was hired to provide Michigan with an SEC-type offense. Michigan football fans have undoubtedly heard the phrase ‘speed and space’ over and over again. So much so it’s being mocked by most of the school’s rivals.
Unfortunately, the Wolverines haven’t had a quarterback to get their playmakers the football consistently over the past few seasons. That could also remain a glaring need in the immediate future.
Ironically, speed and space are nowhere to be found when it comes to the Michigan offense aside from running backs Hassan Haskins and Blake Corum. The Wolverines have turned back the clock thus far in 2021 trying to create that identity, and the offense is clearly being catered to Jim Harbaugh.
The Wolverines have seemingly turned back the clock to about 1934 by running the football an unsettling amount of time over the first two weeks of the season. Last week against Washington, Michigan football ran the football a whopping 56 times totaling 343 yards.
Michigan football needs to find out what they’ve got in Cade McNamara.
Some will point to the fact that the Wolverines didn’t need to pass the football during their 31-10 beat down of the Huskies, but we’ve yet to see if quarterback Cade McNamara can answer the bell when the pressure is on.
Can McNamara lead the Wolverines down the football field in crunch time, needing a score to tie or win by passing the ball effectively and efficiently? And I don’t just mean nickel and diming a defense with check-downs; can he make a clutch throw and lead a winning drive against a ranked opponent?
Although the Wolverines ran the football exceptionally well last Saturday, McNamara only completed seven of his 15 pass attempts for a mere 44 yards.
Instead of simply pounding an inferior opponent into the ground, Harbaugh should be grooming his young quarterback with the weeks ahead at the forefront of his mind. Throwing for less than 50 yards and completing under 50% of your pass attempts will not beat the likes of Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, and Michigan State.
This Saturday against Northern Illinois, the Wolverines need to focus on passing the football and finding pass-catchers the program can rely on down the stretch with the program’s top receiving threat, Ronnie Bell, out for the year with an injury.
Through the first two games of the season, McNamara has totaled 180 passing yards on 16 completions. He’s thrown for just two touchdowns and has averaged 6.9 yards per attempt.