Greg McElroy offers spring preview about Michigan, raises questions for Jim Harbaugh
Greg McElroy has taken a look at Michigan as the Wolverines have started spring practice, and the ESPN analyst outlined some areas that should be top of mind for Jim Harbaugh.
“How much more can I get out of JJ McCarthy,” McElroy said. “We know that last year he took a pretty significant step from Game 1, or technically Game 2, when he came in and officially became the starter, until the very end. I thought he performed adequately, I mean you look at the numbers, 65% completion, 22 touchdowns against just 5 interceptions. Top 25 marks as far as passer efficiency, and yards per attempt, which yards per attempt with their offense should be significant and of course, passer efficiency, that’s gotta be significant if you’re going to complement the run game.”
McElroy also praised how McCarthy played on the road and in hostile environments, and played “pretty well” against TCU in the College Football Playoff semifinal. McElroy added that Michigan will maintain its identity of running the ball and have strong defense, and shouldn’t abandon those principles in the name of McCarthy’s improvement.
McCarthy could also utilize his legs and the intermediate passing game more, and McElroy added that the “sky is the limit” in terms of his potential.
On defense, Michigan last year was 7th in scoring, 6th in total defense and 7th against the run, McElroy said. However, Michigan was 19th in sacks, but the Wolverines must replace a couple of All-Big Ten performers.
“The preseason expectations of the chaos that this group could create, I’m not sure this group ever eclipsed those expectations,” he said.
McElroy then examined the possibility of Michigan improving from last year, as Mike Morris was the only player with more than 5 sacks.
“They just couldn’t find the consistent edge presence, that they relied so heavily on 2 years ago,” McElroy said. “Hopefully they can get back to that level this year.”