Michigan Football 2018 Preview: Quarterbacks

Michigan Football 2018 Preview: Quarterbacks

Football

Michigan Football 2018 Preview: Quarterbacks

SET-UP

It’s no secret that Michigan struggled mightily from the quarterback position a year ago.

Wilton Speight returned as the starter, and didn’t connect with his wide receivers as he had in 2016 — which made sense, because of the youth at the position — and then was lost for the season due to his neck injury.

John O’Korn replaced him, and showed flashes of brilliance against Purdue, but struggled down the stretch, and was replaced by redshirt freshman Brandon Peters. Peters wasn’t asked to do much, and did what he was asked well until he was knocked out of the Wisconsin game in the second-half with a concussion. When he returned for the Outback Bowl, Peters didn’t look like the player we saw in several games previous.

Now, the Wolverines are in much more of an optimal position, quarterback-wise. Shea Patterson, the former five-star Ole Miss star, transferred in and was named the starter for Michigan midway through fall camp. Dylan McCaffrey has a year under his belt, and true freshman early-enrollee Joe Milton has a cannon for an arm, but needs time to learn the playbook and the system.

If things go to plan, Michigan fans will see Patterson most of the time, with Peters, McCaffrey and Milton spelling him if the Wolverines potentially potent offense does its job early on.

Superlatives:

most Likely to be position MVP

shea patterson michigan media

Very little to say here, because if Patterson — who threw for more than 3,000 yards in 10 games at Ole Miss — stays healthy, he should be the guy all the way through.

Interesting note, though: Patterson has 7 games in which he’s passed for more than 300 yards. Michigan, since Jim Harbaugh arrived in 2015, has only had five games in which quarterbacks have passed for more than 300 yards. While it may have been against lesser competition, Patterson has two games in which he passed for more than 400 yards. Michigan only has one QB who has thrown for that much — Jake Rudock passed for 440 in the double overtime game at Indiana in 2015.

Coaches say:

Jim Harbaugh on the quarterbacks, in general:

“Quarterback position – there’s been great competition there. Maybe – you talk about the competition making each other better at the position – it may be no more evident than at the quarterback position. Very happy how that’s progressing. Seeing good things, seeing really good things, throughout the roster.

Nick Eubanks on Shea Patterson:

“He’s a playmaker. It’s something, kind of a guy we haven’t seen before. He’s really doing some amazing things at practice. You really hate to see it, from a defensive-end, defending him, but at the same time, you love to see it. It’s really good to see.”

Mr. Dependable

brandon peters michigan vs rutgers

Brandon Peters will win this distinction, as he knows the playbook, and, if asked, can come in and run the offense effectively. He now has the requisite experience, and knows what it takes to lead the team.

Breakout player

Dylan McCaffrey.

McCaffrey won scout team player of the year last year, and has shown some things in both spring ball and fall camp. He brings a different kind of moxie and leadership that perhaps the other quarterbacks don’t provide.

Freshman to watch

Joe Milton is the only one, and he should get to see time in the allotted four games without burning his redshirt.

Milton will be the starter sooner than later — basically once he knows the offense and gets the playbook down. He earned high praise from basically everyone who’s seen him play, and with his cannon of an arm, he brings a different element that no Michigan quarterback has had in quite some time.

Tarik Black on Joe Milton:

“Joe Milton’s arm is very strong. That’s what I’ll say – he’s got a rocket, man. It’s kind of hard to catch from him sometimes. He has to take a little bit off at times, he just doesn’t know how strong his arm is sometimes. He’s really good.

“From the beginning, he used to make a lot of little mistakes, but now he’s gotten better. He continues to get better. He’s been working with Coach Pep and Coach Harbaugh, getting those things right. I definitely see the progress.”

Contact/Follow @WolverinesWire@isaiahhole

Latest

More WolverinesWire
Home