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Josh Gattis talks offensive versatility, growth of Michigan QB’s

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Gattis dishes on the development of Michigan’s quarterback room, and how the offense is coming along

NCAA Football: Michigan Spring Game Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Spring practices are all over with in 2019, and the Michigan Wolverines football team will soon be headed on a trip to South Africa. A new era on offense has begun, and according to Josh Gattis about 90% of the offense has been installed.

Gattis spoke with the media on Friday, and by all accounts, Gattis has had the freedom to shape this offense in a way he sees fit. Michigan’s offense in 2019 will be of the no-huddle, pro-spread variety in hopes of being able to attack defenses in a multiple ways.

“This offense, is what I call like a mutt of a dog you know, it’s the pretty dog walking down the road that you’re trying to figure out ‘what kind of dog is it?’,” Gattis said. “And for us we do a little bit of everything, so on offense there’s times where we can pick and choose what we do. I mean, that’s hard and challenging for defenses to prepare for us with the number of different things that we do. We pick and choose what we do and what we major in, in the emphasis whether or not who we’re playing each week to allow our kids to give them the correct gameplan to be successful.”

What that means is the gameplan on offense could differ significantly on a week to week basis. Maybe one week controlling the time of possession is ideal, maybe another a complete up-tempo assault is what’s necessary. Maybe one week Shea Patterson will have to throw 40 times, maybe the next Michigan will have to run the ball 30 times. Maybe Michigan has to let Shea Patterson run aplenty out of the read-option, maybe the next game he will beat a defense being a pocket passer.

A mutt of an offense is a hybrid offense, and the more ways to beat a defense the better. But with more plays can things get more complicated? Sometimes, but the Michigan players who’ve made comments about the Gattis’ offense have said the terminology itself has been easier to learn than previous versions of the Michigan offense.

Part of the offensive versatility that resides in the #SpeedInSpace offense relies heavily on the athletic abilities of QB’s Shea Patterson, Dylan McCaffrey, and Joe Milton, who are all highly mobile.

“Their skill-set, when you look at all the quarterbacks, even Joe, just the versatility that they have, not only as throwers, runners. They’re very smart, they have quick releases, they can get the ball out of their hand, they can make any throw on the field,” Gattis said. “We were very creative this spring with the number of things we asked those guys to do, whether it’s putting the defense in conflict by run-pass options, whether it’s putting them in conflict by quarterback runs, we were able to get a lot of stuff done this spring with the development of our quarterbacks and it’s been pretty exciting.”

The offense is going to allow quarterbacks to use their legs. We’ll be seeing more scrambles and designed QB runs in 2019, and that’s going to cause defenses to hesitate or over-pursue because they aren’t entirely sure for that millisecond if the quarterback is keeping it, the running back is getting it, or if it’s going to be a pass play.

This is the type of offense that an aggressive quarterback who reads a defense well pre-snap can thrive in. And Gattis believes Patterson is the type that will do very well in his scheme.

“He’s got a quick release, something that’s very effective and efficient in the RPO game, he’s got a softball that he can place, ball placement on anywhere on the field,” Gattis said. “To me he’s a complete guy, he can also create plays with his feet as he often did last year and I’m really excited about Shea and his development, he’s very comfortable in this offense, as he stated.”

Gattis likes Patterson’s attributes on the field, but he likes his mental makeup as well.

“He’s very passionate, Shea has a lot of me inside him. We’re two passionate people, he often shows it in plays if he overthrows a guy he’s got a certain demeanor about him after it. If he makes a big play, he’s jumping, and that’s what I like, it’s driven in side of him. He’s got that passion, that energy inside him to be great, and when you have those leadership qualities you make other people around you better, and he does,” Gattis said.

The national media is already buying in to the 2019 version of Michigan football, ESPN has Michigan football sitting at No. 5 on their Preseason Football Power Index.