Why Shea Patterson Has Been So Efficient in His Play

shea patterson michigan quarterback

Why Shea Patterson Has Been So Efficient in His Play

Football

Why Shea Patterson Has Been So Efficient in His Play

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — There’s been three weeks in the 2018 college football season, and through three games, Michigan QB Shea Patterson has improved his completion percentage each and every week.

Patterson threw for 67% and 227 yards in Week One against Notre Dame. In Week Two, Patterson only threw for 125 yards, but completed 71% of his attempts.

On Saturday? It got even better. He passed for 237 yards, three touchdowns to one interception, but also managed to complete 78% of his passes.

Considering the issues from a year ago, when the Wolverines were inept in passing — much in part due to there not being enough time to drop back and deliver an accurate pass — it should be a refreshing change of pace for Michigan fans.

Patterson’s three touchdowns all made their way into the hands of second-year wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones, who had himself a day, getting a career-best 90 yards. Before Saturday, Peoples-Jones only had one receiving touchdown. Now, he’s 32nd in the nation with four touchdowns on the season amongst all offensive players not playing the quarterback position.

That rapport between Patterson and Peoples-Jones — as well as the other receivers — has gone a long way towards making the offense move in ways it couldn’t last year.

As far as why Patterson has been so accurate, and hit seven different receivers through the course of the game, he says a lot of it has to do with the offensive line giving him enough time to find the open receiver.

Of course, there are still mistakes — Patterson threw an interception in the end zone — but he’s learning from those and making sure he does his part to take care of the football and move the offense.

“I trust in and believe in this offense,” Patterson said. “Going through my progression every play. We’ve got an O-line that’s really come together and giving me time back there, so there’s no reason that I can’t almost complete every pass.

“We put a really good game plan together all week and we prepped all week. You just take what they give you, don’t get too greedy at the end. I got greedy on that play today down in the red zone – I threw that interception on a pass to Sean McKeon. I had Gentry right away. But yeah – just taking what they give you.”

His head coach, Jim Harbaugh, has been really pleased with Patterson’s performance through three games. A former quarterback himself, of course, he’s particularly nuanced in what he’s looking for from the position.

Unlike Week One, Patterson has mostly been under center — a somewhat unexpected happening, given how much we heard about RPOs and spread elements infiltrating what the Wolverines planned to do offensively.

The offense, since, has been somewhat streamlined, and looks more and more like what Harbaugh has tended to run.

The way Harbaugh sees it, there’s one thing that’s really helped Patterson the most, but it’s also been that his young receiving corps have taken a major step forward from a year ago.

“Accuracy, really,” Harbaugh said. “He’s seeing the field really good. He’s making really good decisions. Receivers are helping out a lot. Zach Gentry kinda broke things open for us, getting in the seam route. And Donovan – another monster game. Everyone’s running good routes for him and catching the ball. He’s getting out of trouble and creating plays when sometimes there isn’t one to be there. He’s playing the position really well. Making the throws when they present themselves – he’s hitting it in the short ones, he’s hitting it in the intermediate ones, and he’s hitting it in the deep ones. So, good quarterback play.”

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