Michigan Wolverines Football: Matt Weiss Stressing Importance Of Camaraderie Within Michigan's QB Room
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Importance Of Camaraderie Being Stressed Within Michigan's QB Room

Matt Weiss was brought in on Feb. 22, just one day before spring practices began, by head coach Jim Harbaugh to coach Michigan football's quarterbacks.

He has been impressed with the talent inside the position room, which includes redshirt freshman Cade McNamara — who Weiss recently named the starter coming out of spring ball — freshman J.J. McCarthy, a highly-touted early enrollee signal-caller, and freshman Dan Villari, who was the third-stringer last season. The team will also bring in Texas Tech graduate transfer Alan Bowman this summer.

In addition to grasping offensive coordinator Josh Gattis' system himself and teaching the quarterbacks on the practice field and in the meeting rooms, Weiss is trying to build a camaraderie within the position group. Don't get it twisted — he wants a fierce competition, but he also wants to see his players support each other.

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Michigan Wolverines football redshirt freshman quarterback Cade McNamara threw five touchdown passes in 2020.
Michigan Wolverines football redshirt freshman quarterback Cade McNamara threw five touchdown passes in 2020. (USA Today Sports Images)
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"You want healthy competition," Weiss explained while appearing on the 'In The Trenches' podcast with host Jon Jansen. "You want guys that obviously are going to compete, but at the same time they can support each other.

"There are going to be enough people outside that room and outside that building that are going to tear them down, and it’s really important that the people around them are supportive. You want the other guy to succeed, genuinely. And that goes a long way to how people perform."

Weiss, who was the running backs coach for the Baltimore Ravens the last two seasons, explained how, despite having several different backs get a lot of carries, his position group was extremely close and supportive.

"It’s something you work hard to build," Weiss said. "Whether it’s getting the guys to go out to dinner together every week or the running backs in Baltimore took a trip every year together, they’d vacation together, which I think is pretty unique. Just encouraging that type of stuff to make that bond strong.

"There’s enough for everybody. A rising tide raises all ships. It’s not a zero sum game. You look at the history here at Michigan, especially with great quarterbacks being in the room; obviously, that’s well-documented. Hopefully we get to where they all feel that way and can have the best of both worlds."

Case in point: Weiss took the Michigan quarterbacks out for dinner at The Chop House in Ann Arbor on Friday night, less than a week after the conclusion of the team's spring practices.

Michigan Wolverines football's quarterbacks enjoyed a steak dinner with position coach Matt Weiss at The Chop House.
Michigan Wolverines football's quarterbacks enjoyed a steak dinner with position coach Matt Weiss at The Chop House. (Matt Weiss / Instagram)

The camaraderie will be important, especially with a group that has a likely starter for 2021 in McNamara and another signal-caller thought of by some to be the future at the position for the Maize and Blue.

The Michigan quarterbacks don't just have to support one another, they have to lead the rest of the team in voluntary workouts — that coaches are not allowed to attend — this summer, all while still improving their own games.

"I think a huge thing for these guys as we enter this period where we’re done with spring ball, is they’re going to be throwing to their receivers, and there are no coaches out there," Weiss said. "That’s one thing we tried to work hard on, to make sure they understand the detail we’re looking for in the routes and the things we want to get done. We’re really relying on them.

"This is a great opportunity to develop leadership. But we’re relying on them to coach as well as play quarterback, when guys are out there playing 7-on-7 and doing whatever throwing that they’re allowed to do. No detail is too small.

"There are a lot of ways they can get better from now to fall camp — mastery of the offense, how they can keep studying film, better understand defense, they can work on their drops, work on their footwork, throwing to guys and developing that chemistry is absolutely critical. Certainly, we can progress before we get to training camp."

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