The way David Peters sees it, Michigan’s quarterback situation has only become stronger with the addition of Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson.
Brandon Peters, David’s son, is a redshirt freshman who made three starts late this season for the Wolverines and is expected to start the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day. He said his son is looking forward to the competition going forward that will include Dylan McCaffrey, a freshman this season who is redshirting, and Joe Milton, an early enrollee freshman who will be able to practice this spring.
With Wilton Speight’s decision to transfer, Michigan lost an experienced quarterback with 16 starts. Backup Alex Malzone also is transferring and John O’Korn’s eligibility is up. Adding Patterson, who announced Monday his decision to transfer to Michigan, gives the quarterback room depth and experience because he started 10 games over two years at Ole Miss — he missed the final five games this season because of a knee ligament injury. He was the No. 1-rated quarterback in the 2016 class.
Peters said his son embraces the added competition.
“Everyone wants to create this new controversy with Shea coming in,” David Peters told The Detroit News. “If it makes the quarterback room stronger, if it’s going to push these boys and make Dylan better, Brandon better and Shea better, that’s a good thing. All these young men have NFL aspirations. If you think this is tough, what do you think the NFL is like? Why not learn these habits now.
“Brandon welcomes it. Like Coach (Jim Harbaugh) says, iron sharpens iron. I got reports that while Shea was there (last weekend), Brandon had his best practice. Every day it’s competition. Every day you’re being evaluated. Why would you not want it to be that way? Why wouldn’t you want your quarterback room that way?”
David and his wife, Barb, have two children who play sports in the Big Ten. Daughter Brooke plays volleyball at Purdue. He said as parents they prefer to step back and let their kids make their decisions. Occasionally, though, David Peters has had to quell rumors regarding his son’s status at Michigan.
When Brandon Peters redshirted last season, there were rumors he was upset by the decision and would consider transferring.
“Redshirting is the best thing for a quarterback. We were all for it,” David Peters said. “Immediately, social media runs with it that Brandon was leaving last year and all that jazz. Here’s the thing I tip my hat to Brandon about: Brandon would check it, but ignore (the chatter). Brandon said, ‘Dad, I’m here to do a job. I love my job. I’m going to get better.’ That’s how he approached his redshirt year.
“Brandon had a good spring. In that spring game he ran 25 plays he knew like the back of his hand. Did he know the playbook to execute all the plays? No, he wasn’t ready. People gave Coach hell for not starting (Peters), but it was the right thing. But no way are you going to see that kid lay down. We’re hard-headed people. When you go to work, you work. You stay focused. That’s what Brandon is doing. That’s what Brooke is doing at Purdue. Brandon had to earn his opportunity this year. It was the best ladder he could climb. Now he has another ladder to climb.”
Peters was playing well at Wisconsin when he suffered a concussion that forced him from the game and prevented him from playing against Ohio State a week later. He was cleared to practice and is the No. 1 quarterback heading into the bowl.
This is an important time for Peters, who will get further entrenched in the playbook. Patterson will be able to enroll when classes begin Jan. 3.
“People have lost focus here — we have a bowl game and it’s on New Year’s Day, and these boys want to win that bowl game and so do the coaches,” David Peters said. “Brandon hasn’t had a camp where he has run first team, and Christmas camp is as long as fall camp. Brandon is getting an opportunity to run first team, but is it about proving I’m the man at Michigan? No, it’s about preparing to play in a bowl game to win.”
After the bowl, the Wolverines will have winter conditioning before spring practice. Patterson, who awaits being cleared by the NCAA to compete this fall, will be working alongside his new quarterback teammates.
Peters and Patterson already know each other and were roommates at the U.S. Army Bowl.
“And they got along quite fine,” David Peters said.
Peters said his son had a special connection with Speight, who showed him the ropes at Michigan and took him under his wing. Now, he sees Patterson’s addition as a vehicle to making all the quarterbacks better.
“Shea is a teammate now,” David Peters said. “Brandon is going to welcome him and coach is going to put the best quarterback out there when the time comes. Let’s not forget about Dylan. He’s highly talented. This is what you want in your quarterback room.”