Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh discusses why he named Shea Patterson the starting quarterback. Angelique S. Chengelis, The Detroit News
Ann Arbor — In his previous three seasons at Michigan, coach Jim Harbaugh kept his starting quarterback decision from the public until kickoff of the first game.
This fall, it was quickly obvious Shea Patterson would be the Wolverines’ starter when the season opens Saturday at Notre Dame, and Harbaugh made the announcement last week at an alumni luncheon.
Patterson competed for the job with Brandon Peters, Dylan McCaffrey and Joe Milton. Patterson transferred to Michigan last December from Ole Miss, where he made 10 starts over two seasons. He did not finish last season because of a knee injury.
"He’s really been good,” Harbaugh said of Patterson on Monday at his weekly news conference. “He’s really been intense and focused each day in practice. You expect that out of a quarterback.
“You expect that from all players, but his level of focus and intensity during practice and execution has been really good. Felt like he was the one playing the best and gives our team the best chance of winning.”
Oh captain, my captain
Michigan’s players voted on captains over the weekend and junior offensive lineman Ben Bredeson and senior running back Karan Higdon are offensive co-captains, while senior safety Tyree Kinnel and junior linebacker Devin Bush Jr., are the defensive captains.
“Senior captains, Tyree Kinnel, Karan Higdon, both fourth-year seniors, both great guys, both starters and both have taken a leadership role,” Harbaugh said. “They’ve invested a lot like all seniors have. Along with the rest of our senior class, I really feel really good about the leadership of the ballclub.
“Also the junior captains, Devin Bush and Ben Bredeson. Great players great leaders, great contributors.”
Bredeson was clearly moved by being elected.
“It’s a huge honor and something you can take with you for the rest of your life,” he said Monday. “It was definitely a big deal for me to be named a captain, and I’m very grateful for it.”
Kinnel had a similar response.
“It was exciting,” he said. “It was an honor to be voted a captain by my teammates. I’m excited to play that role and start the season.”
His first call was to his parents and then he notified his girlfriend. After Michigan released the names of the captains, he said he received a number of congratulatory messages.
“It’s an exciting opportunity for me,” Kinnel said. “I’m going to try to lead in any way, even if I wasn’t named captain.”
Bredeson said he will draw from his friendship with Mason Cole, a former Michigan offensive lineman and captain now in the NFL, as he forges ahead as a captain.
“One of my best friends on the team was Mason Cole, so obviously I learned a lot from him,” Bredeson said. “He taught me how to take over the O Line room last year because he thought I was going to be the next man up for that position. I learned a lot from him and how to be a steady presence and how to be there for everyone. Treat people with respect, that’s the biggest thing on this level. I learned a lot from him and try to model myself off him every day.”
"We feed off energy." Ben Bredeson talks about the opportunities Michigan's tough schedule presents. Angelique S. Chengelis, The Detroit News
Getting ready for the schedule
Michigan and Notre Dame are renewing their rivalry after taking a break following the 2014 game, and "ESPN GameDay" will be broadcasting from South Bend even though it will be an NBC broadcast.
The players are looking forward to playing at Notre Dame Stadium.
“Everyone says we have this tough, hardest schedule, which we do,” Bredeson said. “We have one of the hardest schedules in the country, but really it’s exciting because we get to play in how many legendary college stadiums? And the atmosphere there is always incredible.
“Going into Notre Dame at night on the road, it’s going to be a challenging environment for sure, but it will also be exciting for us. We feed off energy whether it’s positive or negative. I think we’ll respond well there.”