Must Read: Brady Quinn Breaks Down Michigan 2018 Expectations

Must Read: Brady Quinn Breaks Down Michigan 2018 Expectations

Football

Must Read: Brady Quinn Breaks Down Michigan 2018 Expectations

CHICAGO — Former Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn is well-versed in the rivalry between the Wolverines and the Fighting Irish. He played in four games, having gone 2-2 against Michigan — a school he nearly committed to.

Now twelve years removed from quarterbacking at the college level, Quinn is paying attention to the rivalry from the broadcast booth, as a color analyst for Fox Sports.

And once he heard that the rivalry between two of the winningest programs in all of college football was being renewed, Quinn was elated.

Having strongly considered going to school in Ann Arbor once upon a time, the former Notre Dame signal caller still has his finger on the pulse of what’s been happening in the Jim Harbaugh era. In an exclusive with WolverinesWire, Quinn shared what he saw out of Michigan last year, as well as his expectations for the maize and blue in 2018.

“(2017) was a step back – that’s the only way to put it,” Quinn said. “I think there’s high expectations placed on Michigan and rightfully so. Jim Harbaugh is a good coach. They’ve got a ton of talented players there. And 8-5 is not good enough. Many programs would be satisfied with that, but that’s not the standard you’re held to at Michigan.

“They’ve got to figure out how to get things going again. It’s going to start on offense – I think that’s why you saw so many changes on their offensive staff, bringing in a guy like Ed Warinner, a guy like Jim McElwain, who’s always seemed to able to get the most out of his players whether it was at Colorado State – or even the guys he had at Florida. People seem to forget, he won a couple SEC East division titles. It was mostly defensive led, but he also got the most out of who he had there at quarterback.

“I’m excited to see who’s going to be the guy. In my opinion, it’s probably going to be Shea Patterson. I think he’s going to be the most talented passer Jim Harbaugh has had at Michigan since he’s gotten there. So that should bode well for their offense, and being able to open up that offense. You’re only as capable as your quarterback is.

“I mean, look: you’ve got a strong running game, at least you should with the two running backs coming back, in Evans and Higdon. The offensive line, there’s some question marks there. But, I think over time, they’ll get there. I think Jim Harbaugh is going to rely on his recruiting and his coaching staff to be able to get those guys ready to play. Two studs on the outside: Donovan Peoples-Jones and Tarik Black. Those guys should be able to go and make some big time plays. And then you’ve got a litany of tight ends, led by (Gentry).

“Defense, they return eight starters. Don Brown should be able to keep the standard that he set there, getting this team to play at a high, high level defensively. Whether it’s with the studs they have up front, led by Gary, or the two cornerbacks – Lavert Hill and David Long are two of the better cornerbacks in college football, especially as a tandem.

“But there’s a lot of talent on this defense. I think this team – depending on how things go against Notre Dame, could all of a sudden be one of the teams we’re talking about in consideration for playing in the college football playoff.”

Of course, as a former quarterback himself, Quinn is eager to see what Michigan does at the quarterback position this upcoming season.

As the Wolverines open up against his alma mater in Notre Dame, with the presumed starter Shea Patterson, Quinn expects the Michigan offense to take a step forward — though that might not equate to a victory in Week One.

But, he’s heard the detractors — namely coming from Michigan’s other two rival fanbases — that Patterson has racked up stats against lesser competition, but can’t seem to pull things together in the bigger games.

Given that his two worst games in his ten starts were against Alabama and LSU, Quinn doesn’t think that assessment paints a full picture, given how top-tiered those defenses are. He’s gotten to see what Patterson can do from under center, and explains to WolverinesWire why Michigan fans should be excited about their new quarterback.

“I don’t know many quarterbacks that played very well against Alabama or LSU last year,” Quinn said. “Maybe a guy like DeShaun Watson. I think Johnny Manziel did it one time – he got a lot of praise for that. I hope we’re not making that the standard, because there’s a lot of quarterbacks that are gonna look bad if that’s the standard!

“But, I think there’s something to, I think, him having better performances versus some of the lesser opponents and that maybe he’s padding his stats. But, the bottom line is the guy can create. He can make plays by buying time with his feet. He can make throws downfield. He keeps his eyes downfield, which is huge. Especially when you’re talking about an offensive line that could need to work on some things, and is going up against one of the best defensive lines in the country in Ohio State at the end of the season. That’s going to come big time into play then. And, in particular, against Notre Dame early. Depending on how that all shakes out.

“But he can make all the throws. He’s got a live arm. He’s got the ability to throw with touch – but with pace. We always talk about a two-ball – there’s your fastball, there’s your high-arcing deep ball, but there’s also got to be that ball you can throw in between. That’s one that has enough zip and enough arc to get over the secondary-level defenders, but in behind them and in front of the deep safety when you drop those throws in. And he can do that. He’s displayed the ability to do that at Ole Miss.

“Again, I think he’s going to open up a lot of things for this offense this season.”

It won’t take long for both Michigan or Notre Dame fans to find out, should Patterson win the job. The two long-time rivals will be taking the field against each other in Week One at Notre Dame Stadium for yet another night game come September 1.

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