Pep Hamilton: Shea Patterson can ‘extend plays, make all the throws’
Ann Arbor – Regardless the outcome of Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson’s waiver appeal to the NCAA for immediate eligibility, he has continued to compete and share reps with the other quarterbacks during the Wolverines’ spring practices.
Pep Hamilton, Michigan’s pass-game coordinator, said that while Patterson’s status for the fall remains unclear, that has not thrown a wrench into how he’s preparing the position group. And as for Patterson, who announced in December he was transferring to Michigan, he began studying the playbook immediately and continues to practice as though he will play.
“All the guys are getting equal reps,” Hamilton said Sunday. “If, in fact, he’s cleared, then he’ll be up to speed as far as being able to manage the offense.”
Patterson, a starter at Ole Miss, filed a waiver appeal through Michigan contending he was lied to by former Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze, members of the football staff and athletic department personnel. He believes he was misled during the recruiting process in 2016 regarding the breadth of the NCAA violations. Ole Miss is under probation for three years and has one year remaining on a two-year bowl ban.
He is competing against quarterbacks Brandon Peters, who started for Michigan late last season, Dylan McCaffrey and early-enrollee freshman Joe Milton.
Hamilton said they are getting equal reps in practices and rotate throughout with first team. He said there is no hierarchy of quarterbacks and was asked when he would like to see one of the quarterbacks emerge as the leader of the group.
“Yesterday,” Hamilton said, drawing laughs. “Ideally, we would like to have that guy and identify the guy who can lead the offense, but we haven’t discussed that yet.”
He echoes what many have said of Patterson.
“He’s a playmaker,” Hamilton said. “If you watched any of his film, it’s obvious that he can extend plays with his legs and he can make all the throws.”
Hamilton said Michigan will not overhaul its offense for any of the quarterbacks but of course it will be tweaked to match their individual strengths.
“We’re always going to adjust to accommodate the players that play,” he said.
Peters has improved this spring with the added competition.
“Just taking command of the huddle, making quicker, faster decisions,” Hamilton said. “That’s all the result of having played in games and getting a true sense of how bad the defensive players and their intentions are with regard to hitting the quarterback.”
He described McCaffrey as “underrated” and someone who “can make all the throws” and Milton, he said, has “an extremely strong arm and he’s very athletic.”
At the start of the spring Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said he had not yet identified an offensive coordinator. Last week, new receivers coach Jim McElwain pointed to Hamilton as the key to the offense.
“I came in to learn and learn what Pep’s teaching and help him in any way I can,” McElwain said. “He’s kinda running it. We’re just here to help him.”
Hamilton demurred and put the offense on Harbaugh’s plate. Harbaugh has said the play-calling is a collaborative effort.
“Coach Harbaugh, it’s his offense,” he said. “Everything goes through coach. It starts and ends with coach Harbaugh.”