FOX Sports Analysts Share Expectations for Shea Patterson and Michigan

FOX Sports Analysts Share Expectations for Shea Patterson and Michigan

Football

FOX Sports Analysts Share Expectations for Shea Patterson and Michigan

Many Michigan fans’ hopes in 2018 are relying on incoming transfer quarterback Shea Patterson, the former top signal caller in the 2016 class, and a five-star recruit who spent his first two seasons at Ole Miss.

The quarterback battle will likely come down to Patterson and incumbent Brandon Peters, who’s also from the 2016 recruiting class. Prognostications have Patterson winning the battle, and he’s seen as something of a generational talent, but we won’t know for sure until Michigan takes the field against Notre Dame on September 1 if he’ll a. be the guy, or b. that he has what it takes to take the Wolverines to the next level.

WolverinesWire had exclusive interviews last week at Big Ten Media Days with four of FOX Sports’ premier analysts, and we asked what they see in Patterson, their expectations of him and how his play could affect Michigan this season.

Joel Klatt

Klatt was asked what kind of quarterback Shea Patterson is and if it’s a misconception that he’s a spread offense, rushing quarterback like many believe him to be.

“He’s much more skilled as a passer than that,” Klatt said. “He can stand in there and pass the football. Is he athletic enough to hurt a defense with his feet? Yes. Does that make him a true dual-threat player? Probably not, right? That offense, I don’t think, is ever going to be bread-and-butter quarterback run. Was Andrew (Luck) mobile enough to hurt people with his feet? Yeah. Does that make him a dual-threat quarterback? Not necessarily – speaking of Andrew Luck and a very similar offense.

“What will help Shea is that he’s got a lot of great quarterback minds around him. Jim Harbaugh, namely. Pep Hamilton. Jim McElwain. All these guys – they’ve had the ability to get quality quarterback play. So, again, it sounds like I’m talking myself into it, but they’re going to be a very good team, and I think Shea’s going to have a really good year.”

Bruce Feldman

“The stuff I’m curious about is: if Shea Patterson’s the guy – we know he has a great release and a really strong arm and he’s a pretty dynamic athlete – how will he fit in with what Jim Harbaugh wants? Will he end up being the guy?”

He continued, when asked how Michigan could win the conference:

“If Shea Patterson plays like a five-star guy. I mean, that’s a big if. 

“I think what’s interesting to me here is, Dwayne Haskins, another five-star guy, another guy with a terrific arm — I think there’s probably a little more benefit of the doubt for him. I don’t think (Ohio State’s) defense is better than the Michigan defense. What I do think is, the running backs, as good as the Michigan guys are, I think, maybe, Dobbins and Weber are a bit better. I think the receiving corps is more experienced.

“But, again, if Shea Patterson is as good as people thought he was coming out of high school — and he’s definitely talented — and Jim Harbaugh can take him to the next level, and Pep Hamilton can get him to push even past that, who knows? I don’t think there’s a big gap between what (Ohio State has) given how loaded that defense is. They should be able to play with anybody.”

Robert Smith

Smith didn’t talk specifically about Patterson, but he did weigh in on why Michigan struggled in 2017, and why he thinks Shea Patterson could be the key to the team’s success in 2018.

“Well, I think the running game over the last few years, you look at the Michigan running game against the more top tier defenses – Penn State, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin – averaging less than three yards a carry against those teams,” Smith said. “But it’s not just an offensive line issue or a run scheme issue. I think they’ve suffered to a degree at the quarterback position the last couple of years with execution issues. And if you’re not backing safeties out of the box, it’s easier to get an eighth or a ninth man inserted into the box and make it more difficult to run the football. So, I think that’s been more of the problem.

“I like Higdon and Evans. I think they’re good runners. But I think they’re going to be better with Shea Patterson at quarterback.”

Brady Quinn

Starting with the knocks by rival fanbases that Shea Patterson racked up numbers against lesser competition, Quinn gave a full analysis of Shea Patterson’s game:

“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.”

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