It is finally Michigan football week as the Wolverines are set to take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in South Bend in the first week of the college football season.
Here are the things we have learned over the past week that will impact the monumental matchup in the inaugural week of the 2018 season.
Shea Patterson announced starting QB for Michigan, Notre Dame will go with a multi-QB system
There will be a lot of intrigue Saturday as Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson will get his first action in a maize and blue uniform. Early last week, the university announced Patterson will be under center this Saturday against the Fighting Irish.
Hype has been abundant as Patterson has been deemed the savior of the quarterback spot that has had many woes since Harbaugh has taken over in Ann Arbor. We’ll see right away if the hype train keeps on chugging based on his performance on Saturday.
On the other side of the field, Notre Dame seems to be struggling to pick a starter to face the Wolverines, so they have elected to go with a split-quarterback system. It seems as though Brandon Wimbush and Ian Book will both see snaps.
Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly said this about the situation: “I don’t even know that we’re looking at it that way that one is closing the gap. I don’t think Ian Book is ever going to be the runner that Brandon Wimbush is. I don’t know that Brandon Wimbush is ever going to spin the ball the way that Ian Book does. I think we’ve given up on that notion of who’s going to close on (the other). I think they can both help us win and if we feel like we need them both to play at certain times we’ll do it and if we don’t, we won’t.”
Wimbush finished last season with 1,870 passing yards and 804 rushing yards. He also tallied 16 touchdowns and six interceptions. Meanwhile, Book threw for 456 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions in his 75 attempts last year.
The Wolverines may be without one of their top receivers
It is now officially confirmed that sophomore wide receiver Tarik Black sustained a foot/leg injury in practice on Saturday.
Black was a breakout freshman in the first three games of the 2017-18 season before he broke his left foot, which sidelined him for the rest of the season. This undoubtedly is a huge blow for the Wolverines, who were looking forward to his return. There currently is no timetable, but speculation is that he will not see the field this Saturday.
Michigan fans are as excited as ever for the 2018 season
On Sunday, the Michigan Wolverines had an open practice just six days before the season opener. As you can see from the photos below, there was a huge turnout:
WR Nate Schoenle and RB Tru Wilson are the real deal.
There has been a lot of hype surrounding these two juniors all offseason, and now it appears their work has paid off.
According to reports, both these players, along with offensive lineman Andrew Vastardis and long snapper Camaron Cheeseman, were offered full rides after the hard work they have put in. Schoenle has been fighting for a top five spot on the depth chart, and after the injury to Black could see some playing time early. Wilson has also been speculated to be the third-string running back headed into the season, and earning a full ride definitely adds to that speculation. My guess is we will likely see both on the field this season.
A few ESPN analysts shoot praise towards Ann Arbor
On Friday, Kirk Herbstreit, a notoriously anti-Michigan man, told Detroit News’ Angelique Chengelis:
Kirk Herbstreit on Michigan (from ESPN conference call): "I'm high on Michigan.....between us, I think they’re going to go to South Bend and win."— angelique (@chengelis) August 24, 2018
Meanwhile, friendly Desmond Howard gave the Wolverines the highest of praise on the early edition of College Football Gameday. Check it out:
Michigan opens up their season on Saturday in South Bend against the Fighting Irish at 7:30 p.m. on NBC.
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