Michigan Football: Beating Georgia comes down to J.J. McCarthy

(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

Michigan football has implemented a ‘Beat Georgia’ drill and while that’s all well and good, unleashing J.J. McCarthy is what will make it happen.

Bruce Feldman broke some Michigan football-related news that sparked a conversation as the Wolverines have started doing a “Beat Georgia” drill at practice, similar to the “Beat Ohio State” drill which was put in place prior to the 2021 season.

I don’t have an issue with it. It’s maybe looking ahead but at the same time, Michigan football isn’t shy about its goals and if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best and in college football right now, that’s Georgia.

The Bulldogs are the two-time national champions and they are loaded once again this season. Ohio State is another team expected to contend for the national championship, but there’s no doubt that Michigan football sees itself as a contender too.

Here’s what Bruce Feldman said on the Moving the Sticks Podcast that got people talking:

"“A couple of years ago, one of the things that helped flip the switch at Michigan was, they started to really embrace the, hey, we’re going after Ohio State year-’round, and they put in this ‘Beat Ohio’ period, which is essentially 9-on-7 and getting after them,” Feldman said. “Now, I’ve heard they have a ‘Beat Georgia’ period, too. Now, that needs to happen probably in the recruiting office more than anything else, but …“I think Jim Harbaugh knows … he watched and saw what happened with Georgia and Ohio State,” Feldman continued. “They’re a different kind of team than Ohio State. Ohio State with [quarterback] C.J. [Stroud] and their great receivers, they recruit at a high level. But [Michigan has] really good players, too.”"

The key to winning it all is J.J. McCarthy

When Feldman talked about Michigan having really good players, in one sense, he was really talking about McCarthy:

"“I don’t think people realize how talented [junior quarterback J.J. [McCarthy] is because you get caught up with the great offensive line and really good running backs. It’s not like an air-raid offense. But J.J. is really gifted, and I think we need to see it this year.”"

Michigan football has the defense, the running game, and the offensive line. What it needs is the quarterback to become elite and for that to happen, Michigan needs to open up the offense.

The Wolverines don’t have the wide receivers that Ohio State does. But there is plenty of talent — more than enough when considering the tight ends and running backs.

I love watching Michigan ground and pound people into dust. But for the Wolverines to take that next step, McCarthy has to reach the next level. He threw 22 touchdown passes last season.

This year, I’d like to see him throw for 300. We saw what he can do over the last three games of 2022 against Ohio State, Purdue, and TCU.

If that translates over to this season and he takes care of the ball as well as he did all year (outside of the TCU game) this could be the best offense in college football.

I’ve been saying it for a while, but McCarthy is a first-round talent. I believe he’s got top-10 ability and in what could be his final season and the Wolverines’ best shot at a national title in 26 years, Jim Harbaugh has to let J.J. be J.J.

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McCarthy is the X-factor and as much as this drill will help put the idea of beating Georgia in players minds, the real key to winning the national title is truly unleashing McCarthy.