How Michigan's Defense is Preparing Shea Patterson for the Big Ten

How Michigan's Defense is Preparing Shea Patterson for the Big Ten

Football

How Michigan's Defense is Preparing Shea Patterson for the Big Ten

ANN ARBOR, Mich — Michigan starting quarterback Shea Patterson has faced some amazing defenses in his two years playing at Ole Miss.

Of course, some of that has been used as a knock on his ability, as he struggled against both Alabama and LSU last year. However, who really was lighting it up against the national champions?

Only three teams mustered more than 60% completions against the Crimson Tide in 2017, and one of them was the sole loss they suffered at the hands of Jarrett Stidham and Auburn in the Iron Bowl.

But now that Patterson has faced the nation’s top defense in Alabama and the 12th-ranked D in LSU a year ago, he has had the pleasure of going up against the country’s 3rd-rated defense from 2017 — and a team that had the best pass defense overall.

And he’s going up against it every single day.

Michigan’s defense is no joke, and obviously the strength of the team. Under defensive coordinator Don Brown, the Wolverines have been stifling on the defensive side of the ball, only allowing two teams to get to 60% completions or better a year ago — Penn State at 65.4% and Ohio State with an even 60%.

Patterson says that there’s nothing like this aggressive defense he’s had the displeasure of facing every day, but, given his daily grind, it’s making him and the entire Michigan offense better.

“(They’re) second to none, really,” Patterson said. “Playing them every day, I think that’s gonna be a huge benefit for our offense. Because you never know how teams will play us but as far as from a talent and scheme standpoint, coaching staff, I don’t think we could get better prepared.”

In the process, Patterson feels like the offense is becoming more well-rounded through the strife.

As the offensive players have spoken to the media throughout fall camp, as they’ve said, they’re winning more and more of the battles, and that’s not due to the defense’s deficiency.

We’ll see yet if that translates to the field, once Michigan takes on opponents keen on stopping the Wolverines offensive attack. But, Patterson says that what was once very daunting — and still is — having to face an elite defense every day is helping the offense come together in preparation for the season.

“I think in the spring, it was more so them giving me the fits,” Patterson said. “They’re still giving us fits in fall camp. But, I think as an offensive unit, we’ve come a long ways since the spring, and guys have gotten a lot stronger and faster. And our scheme has gotten better. Not that our scheme has gotten better, but we’ve been able to execute it better.

“But yeah, they’re coming after us every single day and we’re coming after them. Iron sharpens iron. It’s getting us better.”

This year, the Wolverines will face teams in conference that were rated the following in 2017: 2. Wisconsin, 7. MSU, 9. Ohio State, 17. Penn State, 27. Indiana, 34. Northwestern, 46. Notre Dame, 55. Western Michigan, 72. Rutgers, 87. Maryland, 101. Nebraska and 122. SMU.

But, Michigan will get its first opportunity to see how much the offense has improved due to the ‘iron sharpens iron’ mentality when it takes the field on Sept. 1 against Notre Dame. Kickoff is set for 7:30PM at Notre Dame Stadium.

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