By Teddy Rydquist
The second of two Big Ten Football Media Days in Chicago, Illinois, Jim Harbaugh took the podium and addressed a group of reporters on Friday.
Touching on a variety of topics, one of the most interesting things the Michigan head coach said revolved around the team’s quarterback position.
“Where it stands right now, and that could change later or not, is I see them both playing,” Harbaugh stated. “That’s where it is now. They’re both, you just see that you want to get both on the field.”
While this would be a new approach for the Wolverines under Harbaugh, the two-quarterback system has been used before by some of the nation’s best teams.
Ohio State, for example, rode Dwayne Haskins’ arm to a 13-1 season and a Big Ten championship in 2018, but still tried to get Tate Martell on the field. The issue the Buckeyes ran into was that Big Ten opponents did not respect Martell as a passer.
McCaffrey’s dual-threat abilities will be able to keep Michigan from becoming one-dimensional when he is on field. Averaging 9.9 yards per rushing attempt, McCaffrey also showed he was capable of hurting defenses from the pocket. His 56-yard touchdown pass to Ronnie Bell vs. Nebraska was a sign of things to come.
Alabama was another program that utilized this approach last season. Even though he was unseated by Tua Tagovailoa, Jalen Hurts still appeared in 13 games for the Crimson Tide as a junior. The reps he received and being able to get into the flow of a game week in and week out helped Hurts hit the ground running when he had to replace Tagovailoa in the SEC Championship Game vs. Georgia.
Serving as Alabama’s co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach, new Michigan OC Josh Gattis has firsthand experience managing two quarterbacks.
This is exactly what it sounds like Harbaugh plans to do.
“I’m not really talking about playing them both at the same time (on a play), when I say both in games it’d be, they’re both playing quarterback during the same game,” he elaborated.
“And the way it stands now, in every game.”
Michigan opens fall camp on Friday, August 2. With the season-opener vs. Middle Tennessee taking place on August 31, the staff will have plenty of time to make sure both quarterbacks are up to speed on the new offensive system.
You can follow Teddy Rydquist on Twitter @TeddyRydquist.