On Saturday, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh will be back on the sideline after serving a three-game suspension for the Wolverines’ first three games. Harbaugh returns for a Big Ten matchup against Rutgers, and all eyes will be on the quarterback position.
That’s because J.J. McCarthy is coming off his worst start of the season, albeit it came in a 31-6 drubbing of Bowling Green. The Heisman hopeful completed 14-of-23 passes for 143 passing yards with two touchdowns against three interceptions.
According to Harbaugh, McCarthy had seven incompletions compared to five touchdowns entering Week 3. And while he entered Week 4 with seven touchdown passes, McCarthy added five more incompletions to his season total, with three of last week’s passes going for interceptions.
“But law of averages are going to catch up to you at some point. And you do what you can to keep those balls in the air,” Harbaugh said of his quarterback’s interceptions, via On3. “They want to come down. Where were we, where were we just at? We were comparing touchdowns to incompletions ratio, we weren’t talking touchdowns to interceptions because there hadn’t been any. I mean that, there’s no way that’s gonna continue. It’s not going to happen that way.”
If Michigan wants to welcome back Harbaugh in a big way, McCarthy is going to need to step up.
“I mean you want confident, you want aggressive — optimistic! Everything’s going to work out. And there’s a little bit of, sometimes even as a football player, optimistic bias that can get you in trouble, sometimes leave you unprepared,” Harbaugh said. “Certainly does in life. Now, in football or athletics, you’re much better off there than playing scared. It works out better when you play that way. But some precautions got to be taken and some risks avoided and turnovers, ball security — that’s the big one.”
“And J.J. ‘s smart enough to know he didn’t play a very good game. But he’s also smart enough to know that he can learn from it as well,” Harbaugh added.
We’ll see if he’s learned from his mistakes come Saturday.