Why Michigan football QB Cade McNamara is a leader Wolverines need


ANN ARBOR, Michigan – Something has long been lacking in Michigan football in recent years and it’s something that has come to the fore: team leadership.

After the Citrus Bowl on New Years Day in 2020, cornerback Ambry Thomas lamented the lack of leadership from the players. The team brought in a Navy SEAL during the offseason to help players become better leaders. But that hadn’t seemed to have set in during the actual 2020 season when the Wolverines looked lost and rudderless throughout the shortened pandemic year.

Fast forward to this year, and with a new starting quarterback in Cade McNamara, change is on the horizon. While Michigan has played a quarterback on and off since Jim Harbaugh took over, what they haven’t had is a calling signal as a leader. While Jake Rudock, Wilton Speight, John O’Korn, Brandon Peters, Shea Patterson and Joe Milton all had their moments of solid playing on the pitch, none of the above was necessarily one the team would admire. Many of those who were dedicated field generals tended to be those in the harbor office or elsewhere – from Jake Butt to Devin Bush to Ben Bredeson, etc. But with the quarterback position being the most important on the pitch, it’s crucial that the Wolverines produce not only a player who can play but someone who other players inherently believe in.

“Cade’s leadership – since I’ve been here, I haven’t seen a quarterback really take matters into his own hands the way he did,” said fourth-year left tackle Ryan Hayes. “He really tries to lead, he really puts in that effort, he’s not afraid to tell you when you need something or wants something from you. So it’s nice to have – a nice change.

You can see McNamara’s leadership skills on display in a Twitter video posted by Michigan’s official football account on August 19, when he spoke about the privilege of playing in The Big House.

That’s an important message, especially because the Wolverines lost all three games at Michigan Stadium a year ago – although that wasn’t quite the home’s normal advantage, given the lack of fans. . But its message should be prescient in that it is the home ground and the sacred ground of college football.

So why has McNamara been such a beneficial leader? What did Hayes see of him in this role? Truly, McNamara naturally escalated, merging the entire offense together, something Hayes hadn’t seen in his previous three years in Ann Arbor. Not to mention that he is not afraid to speak up and tell other players what is expected of them while encouraging them all the same.

“At times over the past few years people haven’t done what they need, the practices haven’t (turned out) the way they wanted,” said Hayes. “No one really took on this role to bring everyone together. Different (position) groups have done it, but he’s really trying to put the offense together as a unit. “

We’ll see how skilled McNamara is in the role in less than two weeks.

when Michigan hosts Western Michigan for the 2021 season opener in Ann Arbor.

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