Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson said not to blink, because that’s how fast the Wolverines’ new offense will be this fall.
Patterson, appearing on the “In the Trenches with Jon Jansen” podcast Thursday, was asked the possibilities of the no-huddle pro-spread offense installed by new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis during spring practice. Michigan currently is in preseason camp preparing for the season that opens Aug. 31 against Middle Tennessee State.
“We’ll see,” Patterson, sounding coy, said on the podcast. “They’re limitless. As long as we -- coach talks about it all the time -- 100 percent buy in and have 100 percent confidence just knowing what we’re doing, we truly feel the only people who can stop us are ourselves. We have to lock in, pay attention to details and go get it.”
Patterson returns as Michigan’s starting quarterback after starting last season and throwing for 2,600 yards and 22 touchdowns. But with the hiring of Gattis came the departure from coach Jim Harbaugh’s pro-style offense to one that fits Patterson well. In fact, it fits all of the quarterbacks, including backups Dylan McCaffrey and Joe Milton and early-enrollee freshman Cade McNamara.
For Patterson, though, this is reminiscent of the offense he ran at Ole Miss, where he started 10 games before transferring to Michigan.
“This is my fourth offense going into my senior year,” Patterson told Jansen. “I loved our offense last year. I loved coach Pep (Hamilton) and what he had. I’m going to do anything the coaches ask me to do and learn it and help better my teammates.
“When I first got to Ole Miss, we were running the same spread-type RPO offense, and I think that gives us the best opportunity to get our guys the ball, get our best players and athletes in open space, one-on-one situations and still having that same balance in the run game. It was a smooth transition when Coach Gattis got here, so it felt pretty natural to me.”
Patterson said the offense is not complicated, and he has confidence from knowing it.
“At the end of the day, we’re either running or passing it,” he said, laughing.
Several of Michigan’s defensive players have said in recent days that the offense has pushed them during preseason camp. Michigan has had a top-rated defense since Harbaugh has been head coach and under Don Brown’s guidance the last three years, and Patterson said the offense gets tested constantly.
“They’re arguably the best defense we’ll play all year,” he said. “Iron sharpens iron. Every day competing in practice the way our offense has and the way our defense always is. Getting us a lot better as a unit. It also gives us confidence on offense to where if we don’t score, we know they have our backs. The way the offense has been rolling this spring and through the summer, it’s the same on the other end. I feel like it’s more of a balanced confidence level between the both of us.”
Michigan will be a no-huddle offense and the offensive linemen have joked it’s saving them 14 yards – seven yards to and from the huddle. Patterson was asked how the communication is going between the quarterback and the 10 other players now that they don’t huddle.
“It’s fast. Don’t blink,” Patterson said, laughing. “It’s all signal-based and game plan, but I know we’re trying to get off as many plays as possible.”