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What does Harbaugh naming Patterson the starting QB this early mean?

Harbaugh named Patterson the starter on Monday.

Ohio State v Michigan Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

For the first time in Coach Harbaugh’s four-year career with the Michigan Wolverines program, he has named his starting quarterback before the first week of the season.

On Monday, Michigan football program spokesperson Dave Ablauf confirmed Harbaugh announced Shea Patterson would be the starting quarterback come Sept. 1 in the renewed rivalry matchup with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

This comes to zero surprise for a fan base that has been salivating over the potential of having a Heisman level quarterback for the first time since Denard Robinson. While this wasn’t a shocker of a statement, what is surprising is the announcement itself.

Harbaugh has always played his cards close to his chest in terms of the depth chart. A pawn or play? Who really knows, but this act has been a common occurrence in Harbaugh’s first three seasons, when there were a lot of questions still up in the air about the roster.

Releasing even one starter would be a surprise based on the history of Harbaugh, but if you would have said he named a quarterback two weeks out from the season, it would be a real eye-opener.

Hearing this from Harbaugh this far out from the season answered the question everyone already knew the answer to, but at the same time displays the most confidence we have seen in his tenure. To me, it means Harbaugh has more confidence in Shea Patterson than any other quarterback he has had in Ann Arbor.

This move is also sending a message to the media and to college football — that this team is exactly what we are hoping for. No more tomfoolery, no more secrets about what Michigan football is: a damn good football team Harbaugh isn’t afraid to let people know about.

This year has felt different since the beginning of spring practice. Good news has been over abundant with the return of Tarik Black and the improvement from Donovan Peoples-Jones. The O-line has looked sturdy under the guidance of new coach Ed Warinner, and Don Brown said this is one of the most athletic defenses he has ever had. That same defense has been ranked as the best defense in the country by many media outlets. Along with that, Patterson has earned early recognition as a Heisman candidate, and images have been released of how much muscle some Wolverines have put on over the offseason.

Naming Patterson the starter this early means Harbaugh is as ready as ever for the season to start. To show everyone what he has been progressing toward.

This is it. This is his team. He is comfortable in a pistol-style offense led by a tremendously talented quarterback, with a group of guys he firmly believes that by the end of the season will stand as the victors valiant, the expected conquering heroe expected since his return.

All the cards are on the table now. He is ready, the team is ready, and that is not something Harbaugh is going to hide anymore.

Are you as confident in this season as Harbaugh is? Take our poll below and let’s hear from you in the comments, too.


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