Notebook: Jim Harbaugh Breaks Down How Michigan's Offense Performed Week One

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Notebook: Jim Harbaugh Breaks Down How Michigan's Offense Performed Week One

Football

Notebook: Jim Harbaugh Breaks Down How Michigan's Offense Performed Week One

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — There’s a lot of complaints from fans that Michigan’s offense didn’t improve from 2017, but that’s not how head coach Jim Harbaugh sees it.

Whether or not the offense has improved will bear out throughout the season, and Week One is not a simple indicator given that Notre Dame has a very good defense, and one with a ton of returning players.

Still, there was quite a lot of good, even if that didn’t bear out on the scoreboard. Despite some calling for the backup quarterback, in his singular game in a Michigan uniform, Shea Patterson completed 20 of 30 passes for 67%, and threw for 227 yards — the second-best performance a quarterback in a Michigan uniform has has in over a calendar year. He did make the two mistakes — which he took accountability for after the game.

But that, the emergence of the wide receivers as veritable deep threats, the tight ends and the interior offensive line are all things that Michigan fans should be excited about in 2018.

Harbaugh was asked about several of the key positions on the offense at his weekly press conference on Monday, and spoke at length about how he felt they performed in the first game of the season.

Shea Patterson’s performance in his first game for Michigan

“Really good – the thing about it the most was his accuracy,” Harbaugh said. “Location of the balls. He was accurate all game. Some tight windows, some throws, some really good throws. Thought he managed the game extremely well. There was no penalties offensively. We had the one delay of game at the start of the second half. But no other pre-snap penalties or formation penalties on the offense. I thought that was a real positive. Something we were better at in this ball game than we’ve been. And another good thing to build on. But, for a first time in a game situation, I thought he ran that extremely well.”

Harbaugh’s thoughts on Nico Collins and the rest of the wide receivers

nico collins michigan

“Loved the big play,” Harbaugh said. “He did a great job of running his route, burst with speed. He did a great job of tracking the ball. He made a fantastic catch. He blocked well and he consistently ran good routes the whole game.

“There was others – Donovan caught the ball. The receivers did a good job catching the ball. The quarterback was really accurate throughout the game. Good to see Oliver Martin go up and make a play in the game – and a couple others as well. Good to see Ronnie Bell get action. Grant Perry also had a very good game.

“It was good to see. Definitely thought our receivers improved. There’s things to build on there.”

The running backs

karan higdon michigan running back

“Karan was running well, especially in the first half,” Harbaugh said. “We just kinda ride him. He was seeing holes and was very good in the pass protection. Had a couple of really nice blocks.

“(We put in) Chris in the second half, but they’re both equally as good. Equally would like to get the ball to them, throughout the course of a game. I don’t know if we’ll have a game where they get the exact amount of touches – per quarter or per half or per game. But we’re very confident in both our backs.”

How the tight ends performed

sean mckeon michigan tight end

“We really like our tight ends,” Harbaugh said. “I thought there was an opportunity to get McKeon the ball on the play that Shea threw the post to. Sean ran a good route there. It was a heckuva play that Notre Dame made. No. 42 made a great play. On the throw, Shea had to throw off his back foot – he had pressure. There was another example – and there was some third down conversions we had to our tight ends. And they blocked extremely well. I think that’s another positive if you look at the tape.”

Thoughts on pass protection and the offensive line

shea patterson michigan quarterback

“I thought it was improved,” Harbaugh said. “We looked at it, and there’s quite a few boxes that were, that you check and say, ‘This is improved.’ That was another area that I think was improved and will continue to get better in that area. It was one of the areas that we are improving in.”

“I think the way we played this game is the way we’ll play the next game on the offensive line.”

Dylan McCaffrey’s performance in his first game

dylan mccaffrey michigan quarterback

“He was seeing things good – it’s in his makeup,” Harbaugh said. “He’s got that ability. To be cool about it, cool under pressure. He threw the ball accurately, as well. From the pocket, on the run. Managed the pocket, stepped up nicely in the pocket. Pulled a zone read. Was able to get a few yards that way. Took care of the football. Was also able to run the offense without any missed calls or formation issues. I thought it was good. Asked him how he was doing, and he said he was enjoying it. Said he was having fun. That part of his makeup is really good.”

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