ESPN "College GameDay" analyst Desmond Howard offers his insights on Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson ahead of Saturday's game. Angelique S. Chengelis, The Detroit News
Ann Arbor — ESPN college football analyst David Pollack saw Shea Patterson running the offense at Ole Miss, and sees a different Shea Patterson as Michigan’s quarterback.
Pollack and the ESPN "College GameDay" crew are here for Saturday night’s Michigan-Wisconsin game at Michigan Stadium.
“It’s a totally different system (at Michigan),” Pollack said Friday near the "GameDay" set on Ingalls Mall. “It’s like Chinese versus English. It’s just not as easy. You’re going to have growing pains in a system like this, because it’s a progression. He ran an RPO (at Ole Miss) where you’re reading one guy. It’s very simple, and that you’re doing at warped speed and it makes it even easier.
"He’s not the same playmaker I think that he was at Ole Miss. He also was driving a Ferrari, too, at Ole Miss — he had the best receiving corp in the country and Tarik (Black) getting hurt before the season doesn’t help the playmakers at Michigan.
“I don’t think he’s been consistent by any stretch. I would like to see the offense take more shots. I’m sure every Michigan fan would because when you take shots, they’ve been successful. A lot of deep balls have been very successful. Shea has got good athleticism. You’ll continue to see him use that because you have to use that in this offense. I don’t think this offensive line is dominant by any stretch of the imagination. I think they run the ball pretty efficiently but you’re going to need Shea Patterson’s wheels. To win games like this, you’ll need Shea Patterson to run the football.”
Desmond Howard, Michigan’s 1991 Heisman Trophy winner and another "College GameDay" analyst, said he likes how comfortable Patterson looks in this offense six games into the regular season.
“Shea is a guy, I believe, who’s benefitting now from the offensive line playing better,” Howard said. “He’s getting more comfortable. He’s completing like 68 percent of his passes, but just watching him, things that numbers can’t tell you, he’s looking more comfortable, he’s looking like he’s getting into a rhythm. He’s looking like the Shea Patterson that people anticipated who came from Ole Miss.
"When he said he was going to transfer to Michigan, people were like, ‘OK, this is what this kid brings to an offense.’ I think now he’s starting to look like that kid.”
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is in his fourth season coaching the Wolverines, and Patterson is the most athletic quarterback during that time, Howard said.
David Pollock of ESPN's "College GameDay" says he'd play for Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown, in an interview ahead of Saturday's game. Angelique S. Chengelis, The Detroit News
“He is able to extend plays, keeps the chains moving,” Howard said. “We’ll tell tomorrow night. It’s a huge test for the offense, Shea Patterson. That would be the first thing I look at is the play of the quarterback.
“He’s a gamer. Shea is a guy who is very athletic, very competitive. His teammates really like him a lot. They took to him instantly when he started practicing with them. It’s just natural for a guy like that to make the play and make the difference. You’ve got Pep Hamilton, you’ve got coach Harbaugh who are pretty good with quarterbacks. They had to try to help him understand, you don’t have to do everything on your own, just rely on these guys and then the big play will come.
"As a competitor and an athlete you want to go out there and make the big play but sometimes you’ve got to let the game come to you. That’s probably the most important message they’ve been able to get across to Shea Patterson.”
Here are a few other highlights from the "GameDay" media session Friday:
►Pollack called the Michigan-Wisconsin matchup an “elimination game” as far as the national playoff scene: “You lose, you’re out. I don’t think there’s any other way for them to get to the College Football Playoff unless they win this game. It’s the same story. I’m sure Michigan fans feel exactly like I do. I watch the games, I watch the tape, and the defense is filthy again, and the offense is sputtering and kind of finds itself sometimes, but a lot of times you don’t have a clue if they’re any good or not. Like Oklahoma for the last couple of years has wasted championship offenses, Michigan has wasted championship defenses the last couple years. I just think if the offense finds its way and starts to become more consistent, this is going to be a team to be reckoned with. Otherwise, it’s going to be another disappointing year for Michigan.”
►Howard on returning to the Michigan campus: “Just coming to Ann Arbor, it re-energizes my soul. I love coming to Ann Arbor. Great campus. Wonderful people. I appreciate the fall weather. Nice and crisp, great football weather.”
ESPN "College GameDay" analyst Desmond Howard discusses the expectations people have for Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh. Angelique S. Chengelis, The Detroit News
►Pollack on Michigan defensive end Rashan Gary: “(Rashan) He requires a lot of attention. He’s the focal point, you can tell, of a lot of game plans. Quick, fast, hyperactive. (Chase) Winovich is a different type of athlete but instinctive as can be. You watch that Notre Dame game, he’s reading screens and he really has a good feel and a good knack. Instincts are very hard to teach individuals. You can’t teach somebody to feel something if they don’t feel it. He has a knack for knowing where the ball’s going. He’s very physical, he’s very tough, gets after the quarterback, has a ton of pressures this season. Both players very good. Gary’s more athletic, gets more attention, but Winovich is great player, too. Don’t forget about Devin Bush — he’s a freak show in the middle. He’s a heck of a player. “
►Pollack, a defensive back at Georgia, said he’d love to play for Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown: “He’s going to test your manhood. He’s going to call you out and he’s going to demand of you. I had a defensive coordinator in college that was like that too. Like, who’s the Alphas. You’re going to figure it out quick. Who can handle it and who can’t. He brings pressure. He’s not afraid of the moment. If you get a big play, and my only knock on Michigan this year defensively you started slow. You had some bad starts that are kind of mind-blowing. From a personality standpoint, he’s my kind of dude.”