Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy: Ohio State sign-stealing since 2019
League: NCAA Football
Posted on: 03 Jan, 2024 at 05:46 PM
Credit: Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy voiced frustration with the ongoing sign-stealing narrative around the No. 1-ranked Wolverines ahead of the College Football Playoff national championship on Monday night.
McCarthy claimed Michigan used legal means only to study and understand opponents' hand signals and their correlated play calls only after learning Ohio State had ripped off signs from the Wolverines.
"About 80 percent of teams in college football steal signs," he said. "We actually had to adapt because in 2019, 2020, Ohio State was stealing our signs. Which is legal. We had to get up to the level they were at and make it an even playing field."
Michigan (14-0) advanced to the CFP title game in Houston with an overtime win in the Rose Bowl, stopping Alabama inside the 5-yard line to secure a shot at the championship in a season otherwise defined by distraction.
McCarthy said he's not spending another ounce of energy defending Michigan or talking about his NFL future.
"All I really care about is winning football games," he said.
McCarthy spent time before the Rose Bowl as he does every game, shoeless, still and meditating with his back against one goalpost staring across the distance of the field to the other goalpost. He said he captured a few more minutes postgame on New Year's Day, reflecting on what it took to be in that moment with Michigan.
"The extra work, all the different things that I did this past offseason and this season, just reflecting back on those and how hard I pushed myself," McCarthy said of where his mind went during the quiet minute postgame. "Training seven or eight times per week. Going to an extra trainer and throwing up every single time I was there.
"I'd do it all over again if I had the choice."
With a nod to Tom Brady, head coach and former Michigan quarterback Jim Harbaugh said this week that McCarthy is the best Wolverines QB in program history.
"I've said it before, this is the greatest quarterback in the University of Michigan college football history," Harbaugh said. "Got a long way to go to get to where Tom Brady eventually got to, which is the G.O.A.T., he's lapped the field when it comes to that. But in a college career, there's been nobody at Michigan better than J.J. We talk about an amalgamation of quarterbacks -- he's that guy."
--Field Level Media