April 20, 2024

How Shea Patterson became a valuable asset for Michigan’s offense

FILE - In this Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, file photo, Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson (2) talks to head coach Jim Harbaugh during the second half of an NCAA football game against Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. Traditional Big Ten powers Wisconsin, Michigan and Michigan State have lost out-of-conference games. Slow starts, however, doesn’t mean the conference is out of the national title hunt. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

The quarterback position has been a liability for the Wolverines during Jim Harbaugh’s tenure, but after eight games into the 2018 season the Ole Miss transfer is showing a lot of promise.

When naysayers criticize Harbaugh for not beating Ohio State or why he hasn’t landed the program a berth in the Big 10 Championship Game, most of the blame goes toward the quarterback. Michigan’s defense has been the team’s strength the past three years and Patterson’s quarterback-play is starting to complement the unit.

The six-foot-two, 205-pounder committed two costly turnovers in Michigan’s loss at Notre Dame in the season opener. However, the Wolverines have been a completely different team since the loss and gone on a seven-game win streak. Patterson has helped Michigan’s offense average 36 points per game this season.

The Louisiana native has adjusted nicely to Harbaugh’s x’s and o’s and thrown for 1,523 yards, 12 touchdowns and three interceptions. His passing numbers are very similar to Penn State’s Trace McSorely, but Patterson has thrown fewer interceptions and has a better completion percentage.

Harbaugh loves to play good defense, control the clock and pound the ball consistently, with a little play-action. Although no Michigan player has over 23 receptions so far this season, Patterson and his receivers are effective on passing downs.

A great signal-caller makes players around him better. True sophomore wideout Donovan Peoples-Jones has blossomed into the player Michigan fans been expecting him to be, with six touchdown catches and junior tight end Zach Gentry leads the team in receptions.

Michigan is in a great position being 7-1 and sitting at No. 5 after the release of the first College Football Playoff Rankings. The Wolverines control their own destiny for the remainder of the season. Harbaugh’s squad also has the best loss of any one-loss team in the country, after losing to undefeated No. 4 Notre Dame.  Michigan welcomes a ranked Penn State team to the Big House this Saturday and travels to a Top-10 Ohio State team in the season-finale.

The opportunity is there for the program to have an unforgettable season and all the Wolverines have to do is to continue winning and let the other teams ranked ahead them fall. No. 1 Alabama plays No. 3 LSU this Saturday, which means one of the two teams will likely fall out of the Top-Four of the Playoff Rankings come next Tuesday.

Michigan has the best defense in the Big 10 and Patterson has helped the offense mold into one of the best units in the league. After having the week off, look for Harbaugh to show some new wrinkles to his offense. The Wolverines want to make a statement to the Committee this Saturday when they play the Nittany Lions.