‘Swaggy’ Shea Patterson gets high marks in UM practices

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Shea Patterson

Ann Arbor – Whether transfer quarterback Shea Patterson will be eligible to play this fall remains undecided as Michigan awaits a ruling from the NCAA, but he has impressed his new teammates and even defensive coordinator Don Brown since he arrived on and off the field.

Michigan has had three practices so far this spring.

“I love Shea,” Brown said Tuesday night after practice. “Shea’s an interesting guy. He’s come in and sat with me and we’ve talked a little bit of coverage. We’ve talked some football. Just really happy he’s here. He’s a tremendous young man, great family. Competition’s a beautiful thing. I expect great things from him.”

Brown was clearly impressed that Patterson sought him out to discuss defense and recognizing coverages.

“He’s got a couple rocks loose, because we’re not that sophisticated,” Brown said jokingly. “We’ve got a nice, quiet relationship on the side and I really enjoy his company.”

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Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said last Friday after the first practice that the quarterbacks are sharing equal reps. Brandon Peters, the starter late last season, and Dylan McCaffrey return, and Joe Milton is an early-enrollee freshman, along with Patterson, a transfer from Ole Miss.

Several Ole Miss players who have transferred are requesting the NCAA waive the transfer rule – transfers must sit a season before being eligible – because they claim they were misled by Ole Miss, which was slapped with NCAA violations, including an additional bowl ban.

Brown has only seen Patterson play the last three practices, but he’s impressed.

“He seems very athletic,” Brown said. “Very mobile, steps in the pocket really well. Love the guy.”

Defensive end Rashan Gary said the quarterbacks have been pushing the defense.

“All of them are athletic,” Gary said Tuesday. “I like going against them. I’ve got to run a little bit extra outside to get that sack. Having that type of mobility and the background of each of our quarterbacks is crazy. Everybody got a different touch, but I’m happy to practice against them because I feel l’m getting the best looks from quarterbacks that we might play this year.”

Patterson has impressed with his confidence.

“Shea, I like him,” Gary said. “He’s swaggy. He’s a good athletic kid. He’s got a big arm, and he likes to get outside the pocket a little bit, so I’ve got to watch how we contain. Coach makes sure we contain on him. Having him around changes the offense a little bit.”

Tight end Zach Gentry said Patterson, like Peters, has been a bit on the quiet side but is starting to open up. Gentry said they’ve become good friends.

“He’s a heck of a guy,” Gentry said. “A lot of the guys have gotten behind him and helped him understand what it’s like here, and I think he’s been doing a good job of taking it in stride and going with it.”

Patterson brings the type of athleticism Gary described. He can make something happen if the play breaks down.

“We’ll see more as spring ball goes on,” Gentry said. “Obviously, he’s a very athletic guy. He’s pretty shifty and he’s got a quick release. He throws a nice ball, so we’re going to see a lot more as spring ball goes on, but it looks like he brings a good amount of athleticism to the table.”

Evolving Harbaugh

Jim Harbaugh said he had to explore his team and himself heading into this season. He made staff changes and apparently he has had a different approach with the team.

“Just the other day he was talking about keeping positive energy going around this building,” linebacker Devin Bush Jr. said. “He’s always talking about our energy. He’s bringing energy to practice, off the field and on the field. He’s made changes off the field that we love, and he made changes on the field that we love. He’s becoming more aware of how things going to our perspective, how we feel about things. I think he’s become more aware about the team.”