Michigan defensive end Chase Winovich talks about whether he will lobby quarterback Shea Patterson to return for his final year like he did. Angelique S. Chengelis, The Detroit News
Ann Arbor — Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson said he is focused on preparing for Florida, the Wolverines’ Peach Bowl opponent, and not his future.
Patterson, who transferred to Michigan a year ago from Ole Miss, has one year of eligibility remaining. He helped lead the Wolverines to a 10-2 record and a No. 7 ranking in the College Football Playoff, and was named the team’s Offensive Player of the Year during the Michigan Football Awards Show on Sunday.
Michigan plays No. 10 Florida on Dec. 29 in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
“I’m so focused on the Gators right now that I have not thought about it,” Patterson said Sunday of determining whether he will stay at Michigan. “I’ll sit down with Coach (Jim) Harbaugh pretty soon, maybe after the bowl game, and talk it over with my family.”
Patterson has repeatedly said being with the Wolverines has been a highlight.
“I’ve had the most fun ever in my football career so far here at Michigan,” Patterson said. “It’s been such an honor to do it. I think there’s a lot more to be done. I’m just so excited to get one more win and possibly finish in the top five in the country. That would be pretty big for us. We’ll discuss (the future) further down the road with Coach Harbaugh.”
ESPN NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay told The Detroit News recently that Patterson would be better served working in Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh’s system for another year before heading to the NFL.
“He has the potential do develop into an NFL quarterback,” McShay said. “If I were advising Shea, I would say it’s mandatory to go back to school for another year, because he has a great opportunity that not many quarterbacks in the country have to work under multiple coaches, not just the head coach, that have spent many years in the NFL.
“He went from a system (at Ole Miss) that had nothing to do with what he’s going to do in the NFL to one that is very similar to what he’s going to do in the NFL, and I think it’s mandatory, again, if I was advising him.”
Chase Winovich, Michigan's fifth-year defensive end who opted to return for his final season and was voted by his teammates the team's Most Valuable Player, is Patterson’s roommate. He was asked Sunday if he will try to lobby him to return for his final season.
“I’m going to lobby Shea Patterson to make the best decision for Shea Patterson,” Winovich said. “But at the end of the day, Shea knows just as much as I do how great this university is. I would say to any recruit or any potential guy that sees what happened in the Ohio State game and is persuaded against coming to Michigan because of that, I would say that alone is a mirage and they should not be fooled.
“What we’ve built here, what we’re continuing to build is a powerhouse. That’s the Michigan I’m leaving is a Michigan that’s headed in this trajectory that the sky’s the limit, not to quote Buzz Lightyear, but it’s infinity and beyond what we’re working with here. And Shea knows that. Shea knows that limitless potential, so he can deal with that how he pleases.”
Michigan defensive end Chase Winovich said the bowl game will set the tone for next season. Angelique S. Chengelis, The Detroit News
Michigan lost at Ohio State, 62-39, in the regular-season finale and it knocked the Wolverines from the Big Ten title game and out of the national playoff conversation.
Winovich expanded on what he referred to that game as a “mirage.”
“The game didn’t go — we didn’t have our best game that day, obviously,” Winovich said. “I don’t think anybody would say that. It wasn’t us. It happened, it is what it is. We’re going to look it in the face, but it wasn’t us being way worse than Ohio State. It was just we had a bad day and they capitalized on it. Just like we’ve been doing, we’re coming back stronger and we’re going to remember this next year.”
Patterson and Winovich said they will both play in the Peach Bowl. Patterson suffered a right knee contusion late in the Ohio State game but said Sunday he will be “100 percent” for the bowl. Winovich was injured in the Indiana game the week before Ohio State.
His injury had not been disclosed, but on Sunday Winovich went into some detail about what happened.
“Whenever I was on the ground (in the third quarter of the Indiana game) I was just getting up a little slow. I think I was kind of laughing in my head. I was like, ‘Holy heck, that was a good hit,’ because I didn’t even see him coming from the side,” Winovich said. “Whenever I was head first in the ground, he had jumped on my back and there was kind of a cracking.”
At this point, Patterson laughed and encouraged Winovich to share with the media the cracking noise he made when describing what he had felt. Winovich then made the cracking sound much to everyone’s amusement.
“That’s all I heard,” Winovich said. “My back started to spasm and locked up. That’s why if you see my face, I was in pain. I was almost immobilized from my back and that settled down and that’s why I was able to walk off the field. They were worried it might have been my spine. Came back and my spine was good. Thank you to whoever helped me dodge those bullets upstairs.
“It was a muscular back injury. I definitely felt it in the Ohio State game, but it’s football. You have to deal with injuries all the time and you’ve got to sometimes strap your boots up and get to work, so that’s what we did.”