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Jim Harbaugh Was Asked About Naming Starting Quarterback

Jim Harbaugh walking onto the field during a football game.

ANN ARBOR, MI - OCTOBER 22: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines looks on from the sideline while playing the Illinois Fighting Illini on October 22, 2016 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Jim Harbaugh has yet to settle a simmering quarterback battle between Cade McNamara and J.J. McCarthy.

Appearing on the In The Trenches podcast, via Clayton Sayfie of On3 Sports, Michigan's head coach said the competition is "like two swords sharpening, as iron sharpens iron." They'll split first- and second-team reps evenly during practice.

Harbaugh will then see if one of McNamara or McCarthy runs away with the job.

"It could come eight, nine practices in," Harbaugh said. "In the past, that's kind of when you want to check. If it's clear at that point then we could have a true starter. But it may not. It may go past that, because they're very close."

However, he wouldn't commit to naming a starter at all this summer.

"We'll see how it goes," Harbaugh added. "There could be a clear starter by the first game, and then that's the way we'll play it. They're both really good; I know that's a good thing for our team."

McNamara helped guide Michigan to a Big Ten title and College Football Playoff appearance last season. However, he averaged just 184 passing yards per game as a junior and surrendered four interceptions in the final three games, including two in the semifinal loss to Georgia.

Drawing limited playing time in his freshman season, McCarthy completed 34 of 59 passes for 516 yards, five touchdowns, and two picks. He also ran for two scores.

The competition appears close with less than four weeks until Michigan opens the 2022 season against Colorado State. Harbaugh has yet to reveal any inclination about which quarterback will start the Sept. 3 contest at Ann Arbor.