“I feel like we’re on the same page, I think I get him,” Jim Harbaugh said about his quarterback Shea Patterson.
“His passion for the game. You can really see it. I think I’m one of those guys, too. I love the game. I love everything that comes with it. So does he, not only as a player back when he was playing, but as a coach. You can see it,” Patterson said about Harbaugh.
Michigan is currently ranked No. 4 in the country, with a berth to the College Football Playoff firmly in their grasp if they can keep on doing what they’ve been doing, winning.
While Michigan’s rise has been a team effort, a key component of their success this season has been the relationship between Harbaugh and Patterson, which has led to stellar quarterback play on the gridiron.
“I want to play for that guy,” Patterson said during Harbaugh’s first recruiting visit.
From the get-go, Patterson bought in.
“‘You got to earn it, you got to earn everything.’ That’s the first thing (Harbaugh) ever told me. He said when I came in, ‘Nothing’s going to be given to you. Everything’s going to earned.’
True competitors love earning their keep, and Patterson has proven to be a true competitor this season. Patterson has been a vocal leader on the sideline, holding himself and teammates accountable, and when a big play transpires he very well may let out a battle cry.
Patterson has walked the walk, completing 67% of his passes for for 1,927 yard, throwing for 17 touchdowns and only 3 interception while chipping in 187 yards rushing and 2 scores. He is a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.
“There’s no question in my mind, he brings a level of focus and toughness, mental toughness, a level of intensity to the position that few do,” Harbaugh said.
Few players are likely to get in defensive coordinator Don Brown’s face like Patterson did against Michigan State, telling Brown ‘you get me the ball back and I’ll fix it! I promise ya I’ll fix it’.
When Patterson got the ball back, Michigan scored.
“I kind of like guys like that, they’ll fight ya in the alley,” Brown said.
Harbaugh longs for quarterbacks like Patterson, the type that will bow to no man, the kind that would love to fight someone in a dark alley, because that was the type of quarterback Jim Harbaugh was at Michigan.
Harbaugh was the type of quarterback that told coach Bo Schembechler right before kickoff against Ohio State “Bo, whenever you need a play today, whenever the game gets critical, just make sure the ball is in my hands, OK?”
Harbaugh was the type that would scramble around with the type of fearlessness is takes to extend a play and make something happen:
Remember when “little Richie Cunningham” wanted to see a particular stunt performed on the old TV Show, “You Wanted To See It?”@faux_four wanted to see @CoachJim4UM scramble & throw a long bomb to Ken “Pinky” Higgins at IU in 1986. Here you go because, “You Wanted To See It!” pic.twitter.com/7XNmVi3prj— Dr. Sap (@DrSap4UM) November 14, 2018
Patterson looks to be that type, too:
Courage to take hits as a QB is a rare trait. Harbaugh had wheels, and Shea can really scoot:
SHEA PATTERSON HAS WHEELS!— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) October 14, 2018
The QB ran 81 yards to set up a Michigan TD! pic.twitter.com/qrYEIF8ndG
The similarities between the two, on and off the field, have led to both of them learning from one another.
“His drive, his work ethic and the way he runs things here reminded me and has gotten me back in that killer mode,” Patterson said of Harbaugh.
And for Harbaugh, he has learned to trust Patterson’s decision making, saying “I have a lot of trust in him. I’m not going, ‘Oh my God, what’s he doing out there?’ Ever. I don’t ever have that feeling. Everybody trusts him. He’s playing the game. There’s no handcuffs on him.”
Harbaugh looks to be in “killer mode” this season, he has been intense on the sideline and has a quarterback that welcomes tenacity. They fire one another up.
It remains to be seen how the rest of the season will go, but Jim Harbaugh and Shea Patterson compliment each other well.
They won’t be going down without a big ole bloody football fight.