Let’s get to know what team Michigan will play in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 29 in Atlanta.
Kirkland Crawford, Detroit Free Press
ATLANTA — Michigan redshirt freshman quarterback Dylan McCaffrey is back on the practice field doing some light work as he continues to heal from a collarbone injury that shortened his 2018 season.
McCaffrey, who served as Shea Patterson’s backup for the first half of the year, suffered a season-ending broken collarbone late in the fourth quarter of a blowout win over Penn State on Nov. 3.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has maintained since then that McCaffrey would be ready for spring practice. So far, that prognosis looks to be on track.
“He’s starting to do some things, yeah, he’s about seven weeks now into healing,” Harbaugh said. “He can throw the ball now, starting to do some other things in practice as well.”
The 6-foot-5 McCaffrey looked promising in backup duty, rushing for 99 yards and a score on 10 carries while going 8 of 15 for 126 yards and two touchdowns through the air in six appearances.
He’s expected to be back next season. But he won’t be alone.
Patterson announced his plans to return for a senior season last week, which means Harbaugh will have a returning starter at quarterback for the second time in his Michigan tenure.
Michigan also has true freshman Joe Milton, who appeared to either pull even or perhaps ahead of redshirt sophomore Brandon Peters.
Milton and Peters are both in Atlanta for the Peach Bowl and will serve as Patterson’s primary backups once more.
Time will tell how everything shakes out, but Harbaugh likes his quarterback room at the moment.
“Dylan’s out, so Joe Milton, Brandon Peters and (walk-on) Mike Cessa are our quarterbacks. And (walk-on) Max Wittwer has started to practice (after a high school injury),” Harbaugh said. “Those are the quarterbacks on the roster. As far as who would go in (as a backup), they’re all available. But especially Joe and Brandon.”
McCaffrey will be a redshirt sophomore in 2019, Peters will be a redshirt junior and Milton — who has only appeared in three games to this point — will be a redshirt freshman. They’re all behind Patterson, now a rising senior.
Only one will be the starter.
Asked what his message would be to the rest of the room, Harbaugh chose to offer only praise.
He did point out that crowded quarterback rooms have been around forever. And his approach to that is the same now as it’s always been.
“They’re really good, the guys we have at quarterback on our team are really good,” Harbaugh said. “I think all of them will be NFL players and I love coaching them. I love the way they compete and improve.
“You have the ability or you don’t, you have the license on the team to be good and to play and contribute. I don’t think that’s really changed from where it’s ever been. There’s still just one ball. Only one quarterback can play at a time, that hasn’t changed.”
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