The upcoming controversy of the Michigan football team defender should be the story of its offseason. And in his first public comments since last season’s unceremonious ending, Cade McNamara put his foot down when asked about the obvious competition.
“I am a starting defender in the Big Ten Championship,” said McNamara, who will be a senior in the fall. “And that’s how I see it.”
McNamara won last year’s defenders’ competition – if you can even describe it that way – without much fuss. And he thrived as an unmistakable defender and experienced game manager, bringing Wolverine to the best season of decades, while receiving third-team awards from the All-Big Ten.
But the voices to J. J. McCarthy, a super-talented quarterback freshman, never calmed down. And as soon as Georgia, boasting of an otherworldly defense, stopped the Michigan attack and seemed to expose McNamara’s flaws in the Orange Bowl, those voices grew louder. Some have argued that McCarthy could raise Wolverine’s ceiling thanks to his dynamic arm strength and elite mobility.
This laid the groundwork for what figures would be the dramatic songs and dances that led to early September against Colorado.
However, McCarthy’s potential impetus for McNamara’s usurpation was temporarily postponed. McCarthy is on the side with a shoulder injury – one that does not require surgery but does not yet allow him to throw.
McNamara’s early advantage.
“Cade looked good,” Michigan coach Jim Harbo said Tuesday. “He was really sharp. It was a good continuation of the season. ”
McNamara’s goal is to overcome last season, rekindle the magic and turn it into another successful year, both for himself and for the team. He believes it promotes the knowledge needed to fulfill this role.
“I think I know what I need,” McNamara began. “I think I know what the team should look like. I think I know what I need to do to make us do it. I think I know the level we have to perform. Also, the critical points we need to accomplish. Our Big Ten Championship could stop at Penn State. It will take a lot, but this team is obviously our goal – to recreate it and do more. ”
And so McNamara spent the early part of the offseason honing his skills, trying to take his game to the next level. He recently spent a spring break in Los Angeles, working with his guru defender Jordan Palmer, carefully disassembling the film and reassessing his biometric data. He has prepared a strict sleep schedule – he claims it works best when you wake up earlier – and a nutritious diet. During physiotherapy, he discovered certain areas of his body that can strengthen in the simulator.
“I think I have a very good plan of things I want to develop in the future,” McNamara said.
This includes strengthening aspects on the field, too. He focuses on working with his feet in his pockets, hoping to maintain a better base; so, he says, he can be more accurate in his intermediate throws.
McNamara also held most of his press conference, preaching the importance of leadership, the intangible value he brought to the table last season. Of this main governing group – which included McNamara, Aidan Hutchinson, Josh Ross and Andrew Vastardis – only McNamara remained, the rest – in the NFL.
Their departure seems to be more on McNamara’s plate, but he’s hardly worried.
“Half the team wasn’t here now when we were 2-4,” McNamara said, referring to the horrific 2020 season. “My task as a leader is to make sure that we are not satisfied. … Now I have established myself as a voice in this team. My task as a leader will be to build leadership.
“… I think this team has a long way to go and I am happy to be at the forefront and push this development.”