'Locked-in' Cade McNamara named Michigan's starting quarterback

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Ann Arbor — No surprise here, but Cade McNamara is Michigan’s starting quarterback heading into the season opener.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, who had said McNamara was the No. 1 quarterback coming out of spring practice, said Monday that McNamara has made “constant improvement” in a number of areas. Michigan opens against Western Michigan on Saturday at Michigan Stadium.

Quarterback Cade McNamara will start Michigan's season opener against Western Michigan.

McNamara, 6-foot-1, 212 pounds, started the last of Michigan’s six games last season after taking over for starter Joe Milton while trailing by 17 at Rutgers and leading the Wolverines to a triple-overtime victory. Milton since has transferred to Tennessee, where he was named the starter on Monday. McNamara’s primary competition has come from freshman five-star recruit J.J. McCarthy. Dan Villari and Texas Tech transfer Alan Bowman also are part of the quarterback room.

“The biggest one, consistency of doing his job,” Harbaugh said Monday at a news conference, explaining how McNamara has taken his game to another level. “Also, call it a talent of making everyone else around you better — maybe that is the most important job of a quarterback.”

McCarthy is the backup, but Harbaugh would not say how much or if he will play in the opener.

“All options will be open about playing J.J. or anybody else on our roster,” Harbaugh said.

McNamara was 43-of-71 for 425 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions last season. He started against Penn State, what would be Michigan’s final game, and suffered an injured shoulder.

“My role on the team is specifically what has changed," McNamara said. "I always wanted to be the starter, and last year after winning the starting job at the end of the season, I never went through an offseason as being the starter so basically my role is what has changed. My job is to be consistent. I’m just striving to be as consistent as I possibly can.”

Harbaugh described McNamara as “locked in."

“Really knows his assignments,” Harbaugh said. “Great work ethic and just the unselfishness is probably the biggest thing that sticks out about his leadership. The desire to get the ball to the playmakers and make people around him better, including the offensive line.”

achengelis@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @chengelis