McKeon: Why Michigan's Offense is More Complicated Than You Think

McKeon: Why Michigan's Offense is More Complicated Than You Think

Football

McKeon: Why Michigan's Offense is More Complicated Than You Think

ATLANTA — “Michigan should make more plays downfield.” “The Wolverines need to get a more dynamic quarterback.” “Michigan should get rid of Pep Hamilton and bring in an innovative offensive coordinator.”

These are things that many fans of the maize and blue have been saying throughout a lot of the 2018 season, and especially after the debacle in Columbus on Nov. 24.

And while many would argue that Michigan’s 39 points scored against the Buckeyes came when the game seemed somewhat out of hand (although half of that was scored in the first half), the Wolverines were 10-2 in 2018. Yes, it was a debilitating loss, once again, at the hand of the arch rival, but some of the connotations associated with Michigan in recent years just aren’t accurate.

Among them is the quarterback situation. Some fans exclaim that Shea Patterson is not the answer, despite him having come in and passed for 65% with 20 touchdowns and just 5 interceptions. “He needs more yards!” some fans exclaim, though Michigan didn’t ask for him to pass downfield much in this Jim Harbaugh-style West Coast offense. Despite the lack of gaudy numbers, Patterson was actually 26th in the nation in yards-per-attempt. It was just that, with a dynamic running back in Karan Higdon, Patterson didn’t need to pass the ball much.

And Patterson’s announcement on Friday evening that he’s returning to Michigan for another year, his final year of eligibility, has drawn mixed reviews from Michigan fans.

But you know who’s excited about his return? His teammates.

Among them is third-year tight end Sean McKeon, who actually saw his production go down in 2018 compared to when he was receiving catches from Wilton Speight, John O’Korn and Brandon Peters the year before. However, with Patterson in the fold, pass catchers caught 15 more passes for 300 more yards and 11 more touchdowns.

With the consistency that Patterson brings, along with having another year in the system, McKeon sees a bright future for the Michigan offense.

“Really excited that Shea’s coming back,” McKeon said. “I feel like basically our entire offense is coming back, so definitely very excited about that. I feel like the sky’s really the limit. We continue to get better this bowl prep, and hopefully, we can use this win against Florida as momentum for spring ball and next season. And really establish ourself as one of the best teams in the country next year. I’m definitely very excited.”

Speaking of the Michigan offense, there’s another something that should be addressed.

Many fans have accused the Wolverines offense under Jim Harbaugh as being predictable, even though opposing coaches often say on a weekly basis how difficult it is to prepare for.

As someone who’s been in Michigan’s offense for three years now, McKeon explains what makes it so different, why it’s not predictable, and what the untrained eye might not see.

“There’s a lot of intricate things that go into our offense, running a pro-style offense like we do,” McKeon said. “There’s a lot of personnel, a lot of different formations that we run in a lot of different run schemes. Although many of the runs look similar, I promise you, there’s a lot of different ones that we have.

“Every run, every scheme we have, there’s something a little different that you have to know, that you have to adjust. We have a lot of adjustments to any kind of front that you can see. Maybe the common fan might not understand what we’re trying to do as far as scheme, but it’s definitely a very complicated offense that the coaches are trying to simplify down for us so that we can just play fast and do our jobs on every play.”

Michigan will have another chance this year to put that offense to the test and see if it can get its eleventh win, as the No. 7 Wolverines will take on No. 10 Florida on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta for the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

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