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OL Michael Onwenu says Michigan hasn’t used half of playbook: What to expect

The comments from Onwenu are telling

NCAA Football: Southern Methodist at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

For Michigan fans concerned about the overall flow of play-calling and the general scheme the Wolverines have utilized through three weeks this season, Michigan offensive lineman Michael Onwenu has some news that might make you happy.

Not even half.

This is the first time a Michigan player has said how much of the playbook they’ve used to this point in the season.

If Onwenu’s estimate is accurate, it’s easy to guess where this offense is headed.

More passing is coming.

Michigan has already utilized a lot more sets out of the shotgun than the previous three years of Jim Harbaugh’s tenure at U-M, but with Big Ten play coming up, with teams like Wisconsin, Michigan State, Penn State, and Ohio State on the schedule, it’s clear he’s been waiting to use some of the playbook until he absolutely has to.

Some may disagree with that strategy, but it is what it is.

We saw a glimpse into the future of the Michigan offense a couple times versus SMU on Saturday.

Shea Patterson had a read-option run.

Michigan ran a play out of the pistol formation, a 32 yard pass to tight end Zach Gentry.

The pistol formation is very interesting, as Jim Harbaugh had great success with it as coach for the San Francisco 49ers with Colin Kaepernick as his quarterback. The Niners sliced and diced teams with Kaepernick throwing and running out of the pistol.

The likelihood is high that Harbaugh has put together a somewhat extensive package featuring the pistol. The formation isn’t all that different than the shotgun, but the spacing is tighter, the defenders don’t get a good enough read on the handoff or throw, and big plays can ensue because of the momentary confusion a defense has.

Harbaugh didn’t bring Patterson along to hand the ball off 30 times per game.

While that may seem to be the case the past couple weeks, the team also had substantial leads and didn’t have to pass it a ton. That isn’t going to be the case every week, the passing game will have to be at the forefront sometimes. And from Onwenu’s comments, we can guesstimate the offense is getting prepared for pass-heavy games.

If you’re saying “I’ll believe it when I see it.” That’s fair.

But the writing is on the wall. Patterson keeps completing deep throws to various targets right on the money. He’s been throwing at a high clip on the run, he’s been making just about all the throws asked of him. You’d think if they gave him more opportunities to throw, he’d continue getting things done.

More opportunities are coming, more wrinkles are soon to be shown on Saturday’s, and it’s only a matter of time before the whole playbook is utilized during a game.