Everybody loves talking about quarterbacks, and that’s what we’re doing today.
The Michigan Wolverines quarterback situation isn’t a bad one heading into 2018, and that’s good news.
The name you’ve heard the most about is Shea Patterson, but there are other guys vying for a chance to play.
From Shea Patterson to Joe Milton, there are questions that need to be answered before and during the season, and we try to tackle five of them in this piece.
Is Shea Patterson the real deal?
By all accounts, the answer appears to be yes far more than it appears to be no.
Patterson hasn’t received positive buzz from just the media; his teammates and coaches like what they see out of the Ole Miss transfer as well.
While things appear promising, we won’t truly know until Sept. 1 against Notre Dame as to how Patterson will gel in Michigan’s offense.
I scouted Patterson and my comparison (if things go right) is Russell Wilson. The two do a lot of the same things, have a similar height and scrambling prowess. Take a look at the scouting report here.
If Patterson is indeed the real deal, Michigan could win a lot of games.
How will the quarterback be utilized in 2018?
Patterson is not a stay-in-the-pocket passer; he has legs and likes to use them.
Don’t expect the same type of offense the past few seasons when Rudock, Speight, O’Korn, Peters were at the helm.
At Big Ten Media Day, defensive end Chase Winovich alluded to the fact Michigan’s scheme will be changing in 2018 due to Patterson’s skill-set. “I would be surprised if (Harbaugh) didn’t shift the offense around to what fits Shea best, or whoever is the quarterback. That’s what I’ve noticed more and more with coach Harbaugh’s mentality is slowly coming around to trying new things, figuring out something that works,” Winovich said.
You’re going to see more spread and pistol formations, along with read-option plays out of the Michigan offense along with the traditional Harbaugh-O.
In short, the quarterback is going to be a dual-threat player that is gonna dash and gash teams with his arm and legs alike.
How are the younger QB’s coming along?
“I would say overall it’s better as a group than we were last year. And I feel like our starting quarterback will also be better, play better.” - Jim Harbaugh at B1G Media Day
Dylan McCaffrey is probably the most improved quarterback, according to Harbaugh, who also said that Joe Milton has a bright future.
McCaffrey lit it up last season in practice, and now heading into this season he’s added muscle and weight to his frame. Milton may have the strongest arm on the team, and has been showing up early to the team facility to look at film and work out. These two guys could be the QB’s of the future for Michigan in a year or two.
Then there’s Brandon Peters, who was so-so last season when he was called upon, but Harbaugh said Peters has improved this off-season as well.
Who will be the backup?
My friend Von Lozon released his depth chart predictions and feels Brandon Peters will be the backup. I am rolling with Dylan McCaffrey on this one.
Maybe Peters has improved a whole lot since 2017, but in order to even be the backup in 2018 he will have to of made a sizable jump in ability. Granted Peters has the game experience while McCaffrey does not, game experience isn’t always the most crucial thing to have. Point being, McCaffrey very well could be the more talented of the two, his skill-set is more similar to Patterson’s. So if McCaffrey was called upon in a pinch, the offensive schematics wouldn’t have to change much, there would be continuity of sorts.
This is just a hunch and a guess, but I think when the dust settles it’ll be McCaffrey backing up Shea Patterson. The kid is a winner.
Is this the best quarterback room of the Harbaugh era?
Things could go wrong, but I predict things will go relatively smooth for the Michigan offense this season. With that, there will be improved quarterback play. Right now there are three quarterbacks on the roster who could start for a decent collegiate team (Patterson, McCaffrey, and Peters), and then there’s Milton who’s been turning heads and may have had a shot to start at another school right out of the gate as well as a freshman.
When you have more than a couple talented guys in the quarterback room who want to be the starter, that’s healthy. This group is only going to push each other and make each other better. Maybe one of them will fold during this friendly competition, maybe a true star and leader will emerge.