Winovich's Prior Offensive Concerns a Thing of the Past

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Winovich's Prior Offensive Concerns a Thing of the Past

Football

Winovich's Prior Offensive Concerns a Thing of the Past

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Perhaps an accurate way to look at Michigan in 2017 is that the Wolverines had an elite defense and an offense that, despite good intentions, couldn’t help that other side of the ball out.

While there wasn’t a ton of finger pointing going on from the defense to the offense — as the maize and blue have seemed to remain coalesced as a team throughout Jim Harbaugh’s tenure — that didn’t mean there weren’t concerns.

Of course, from an offensive standpoint, there were two big areas of opportunity (in human resources terms): on the offensive line and at quarterback.

If there’s anyone who knew whether or not the offensive line was performing or not, it’s someone who’s job all week was to stop them from doing theirs. Now fifth-year weak-side defensive end Chase Winovich knows a little something about that, as he led the team in sacks and tackles for loss in 2017.

And from his view, Michigan’s offensive line has taken a major step forward this offseason.

“The offensive line definitely took a lot of strides this fall camp,” Winovich said. “They’ve really come along. Definitely led by Ben Bredeson and company, but they’ve really taken that next step.”

But that’s not the extent of it for Winovich.

The standout first team All-Big Ten player could have opted to head to the NFL via the draft this past year, but chose instead to return to school for one final season. But, in doing so, he was banking on things changing, and that the staff would address the issues that plagued the team a year ago.

Now that fall camp is over and the team is focused on Notre Dame in earnest, Winovich says that those issues he had going into last season, and the ones he had coming out of the season have all but been vanquished.

“I personally felt like a lot of stuff had to change,” Winovich said. “I don’t know how everyone else felt – you’d have to ask them. But I personally felt like changes had to made, and improvements had to be had, otherwise we’d just end up 8-5 again.

“I think we made a lot of those, and any concerns I had from last year from an offensive perspective, or even a defensive perspective, we’ve addressed a lot of those. We’re looking forward to displaying those improvements on Saturday.”

So now, how does he feel? Changes have been made, issues have been addressed, but does Winovich still have concerns?

Now, not so much. And while he won’t go into much detail about what has happened to this Wolverines offense to dispel his previous fears, he says it will become apparent soon enough — come September 1 at 7:30PM.

“I actually don’t have that many concerns,” Winovich said. “Obviously there’s a lot of this (talking) until you actually see it in person, in flesh, this Saturday against Notre Dame. But a lot of those concerns have been squished out, in terms of like personnel, play calling, everything. It’s looking pretty solid. So I’m excited for this opportunity.”

Part of why Winovich isn’t just relieved, but somewhat excited overall is the addition of former five-star quarterback Shea Patterson, who transferred to Michigan after two years at Ole Miss.

Patterson accumulated over 3,000 yards in just 10 games, and brings a different element to the Wolverines offense, as he can make plays with his legs.

While there’s certainly a wait-and-see approach taken by much of the fanbase as well as local and national media, Winovich’s excitement for Patterson this Sunday can barely be contained.

So while others play wait-and-see, Winovich suggests everyone wait, then see.

“People sometimes make fun of me, because I see him in practice, and it’s just amazing some of the stuff he does,” Winovich said. “He has the sense of like quiet confidence. He’s not the type of guy that’s going to run around – he does that, too, but in my opinion, that’s not really him – but he has the sense of he knows he can play football. And he knows he’s the man in charge of this offense. I’m excited for the opportunity he’s going to get on Saturday.”

How good is Patterson?

Some have called him something of a gunslinger, a guy who will take chances with the football as he scrambles around while looking for opportunities downfield. Is that something Winovich has seen?

Or, does he take care of the football more like a Jim Harbaugh-coached quarterback is generally intent to do.

While the latter might be more of the case, and the offense looks a whole lot better than it did a year ago at this time in his opinion, Winovich isn’t about to take a hit for the Michigan defense at Patterson’s expense — as the unit ranked 3rd nationally overall. In his view, it doesn’t really matter if it’s Patterson, Brandon Peters, Dylan McCaffrey, Joe Milton, Joe Montana, Joe Namath or Tom Brady — the Michigan defense is going to get theirs.

“I’m just gonna say our defense always gets turnovers, no matter who’s at quarterback!”

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