Why Shea Patterson's Teammates Are Confident in His Ability

shea patterson michigan

Why Shea Patterson's Teammates Are Confident in His Ability

Football

Why Shea Patterson's Teammates Are Confident in His Ability

ANN ARBOR, Mich — Michigan’s offense is going to look different in 2018, by virtue of a big change at quarterback.

Of course, much has been made about former five-star quarterback Shea Patterson transferring to the Wolverines from Ole Miss. But coming from an Air Raid offense with the Rebels, and having playmaking ability with his feet, having a dynamic playmaker at signal caller is a departure from the traditional pro-style quarterback that fans have gotten accustomed to seeing under head coach Jim Harbaugh.

And now, with a fall camp under his belt, and with the attention having turned to Notre Dame, his teammates are impressed, too — on both sides of the ball.

“In the time I’ve been here, he’s been the hardest quarterback I’ve had to play against, practice-wise,” senior safety and team captain Tyree Kinnel said. “Because he does a lot. He’s smart with the football. The play’s never over with him. We’re guarding receivers for a long time, because he’s making plays in the backfield. He’s a good thrower on the run, so he’s definitely a guy – he’s smart with his decisions as well. He’s definitely a tough guy to go against in practice.”

But having that dynamic, playmaking ability also presents some challenges — sometimes for his own players.

As senior receiver Grant Perry says, when that internal clock hits that says that the ball should be coming out, if things go awry up front and Patterson has to scramble, that’s when things get interesting.

Thus, as a result, the receivers can’t take a moment to rest — they have to continue working to get open, as Patterson is known to keep his eyes downfield, even as he runs outside of the pocket.

“Definitely gotta stay alive and be ready to catch an unexpected ball,” Perry said. “Did a little bit of that last year with O’Korn scrambling out of the pocket. But, ready for that.”

And that also means that the offensive line has to keep on their toes.

With Patterson in the backfield, if protection breaks down, it changes what the O-line does and how they continue to attack. But, as junior captain and left guard Ben Bredeson notes, it’s a challenge that his unit is up for.

“You’ve just got to keep your feet moving,” Bredeson said. “It’s a different quarterback than we’ve had in the past, but everything – you can say it’s a challenge, but really, it’s exciting for us, because he can make plays all over the field.”

But, of course, the offensive line can’t necessarily see when Patterson is making his move. In that case, what is there to do?

Simple, Bredeson says.

“We just hold our blocks – that’s all we can do!” Bredeson said.“Just hold our blocks and, you know, he’s faster than we are, so, sometimes, when he gets out of there, you’ve just got to trail the play. You never know what’s happening with him. He’s an exciting player.”

In his tenure with the Rebels, some have called Patterson a gunslinger, in that, he’ll take chances with the football.

Sometimes that’s good, sometimes that’s bad.

Call it high risk, high reward, but in two seasons at Ole Miss, Patterson threw for 23 touchdowns to 12 interceptions. But he also threw for 3,139 yards in just 10 games.

Kinnel says that he sees a similar player as described, but just because he tries to make a big play doesn’t mean he’s just winging it out there.

“He does take chances, and they’re good chances as well,” Kinnel said. “The defense hasn’t really got him as much this year. And that’s a credit to the offense.

“It’s good for him – it’s going to be good for the team. When he does that (scrambles), he keeps the play alive and gives everyone a chance.”

Perry’s confidence in Patterson also comes from his prior experience.

Having played for two years in the SEC West division — one that rivals the Big Ten East as one of the best in all of college football — Patterson has had to face the likes of Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Texas A&M.

Patterson may be 1-3 in those contests, but that’s not for a lack of ability. Ole Miss’ defense was among the nation’s worst those two years, boasting the 111th defense in 2016 and 116th in 2017.

Still, the former IMG Academy five-star bested SEC West champion Auburn a year ago, and had a solid game in 2016 against Texas A&M — his first at the college level — in a raucous road environment in College Station. In that loss, he completed 60% of his passes, threw for two touchdowns, one interception and 338 yards.

For better or worse, Perry says that having that experience is beneficial to Patterson now that he’s went from one tough division to another.

“Been through some hard games – he’s played in a really tough division,” Perry said. “That wants to win, first and foremost. He came here to win and lead – and he’s doing that.”

Patterson gets little to no rest in 2018, playing one of the nation’s hardest schedules. It all starts on Saturday, as Michigan travels to Notre Dame to take on the Fighting Irish under the lights, with a 7:30PM kickoff.

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