The Wolverine

November 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 31 of 83

32 THE WOLVERINE NOVEMBER 2018   MICHIGAN FOOTBALL tions when we have a slip-up or oc- casional gaffe in protection. He's been special in that regard. We're going to try and make it so he never has to do that." Wilson is similar to former Michi- gan running back Mike Hart in his ability to cut block pass rushers and in his fearlessness in doing it. He's earned the respect of his teammates and coaches for his willingness to do whatever he can to protect his quar- terbacks. "He asserted himself in the spring as one of our best guys. In fall camp, [he did so] again, and he's just con- tinuing to improve his technique," Harbaugh said. "He works hard at it and he's not scared of anybody, and he's doing a better job playing with leverage and unloading on some peo- ple. "It's fun to see all of the hard work being on display in the way that ev- erybody notices. That's kind of an un- heralded thing and it's nice for him to have that come to fruition." He went "viral" on social media for a play in a 42-21 win over Maryland in which he put a blitzer on his back, then put a defensive lineman on his back and continued looking for some- one else to block. "It's obviously exemplary, and ob- viously the actual block itself was great. The hustle is something we really appreciate," Harbaugh said. "Having that be the standard is really what we're going for. You see it from the other backs, and a lot of times it goes unnoticed. Guys are carrying out fakes with great effort and intensity, trying to draw the defense's eyes to them. "There are other ways, too, but that's obviously the golden standard for effort. Assuming that you pop up on your feet and you're going to be useful to the play … you're not going to wait and see if you're necessary and go into spectator mode. That re- action is exactly what we're looking for." — Chris Balas SHEA PATTERSON HAS PROVIDED EXACTLY WHAT U-M NEEDED Since the opener at Notre Dame, the last six games couldn't have gone much better for junior quarterback Shea Patterson. Although he hasn't exactly been asked to carry the offense, Patterson has brought consistency and play- making to the position. Completing 68.6 percent of his passes on the year, he has already thrown for 10 touch- downs and 1,311 yards. Yet what might be his defining trait is his ability to avoid pressure. "He's a dynamic player," senior running back Karan Higdon said. "We've seen him make plays like that time and time again since he's gotten here. "Seeing him make plays when things are breaking down isn't a shocker to us. It's amazing to play with someone like him." His offensive line — which accord- ing to Pro Football Focus has been charged with just two of the 11 sacks allowed through seven games — has been trending upwards all season and likes blocking for him. "Having Shea back there, being able to pull the ball and go the other way, it really slows their linebackers down in the run game," junior of- fensive guard Ben Bredeson said. "It makes our job a lot easier getting up there." Patterson hasn't had many de- signed runs so far this season and has only rushed for eight first downs. In the Wisconsin game, though, he was unleashed as a runner and ripped off a career-long 81-yard run. Patterson's mobility makes him a dangerous threat no matter where the Wolverines are on the field. "He does some amazing things out there on the field," sophomore center Cesar Ruiz said. "Having him make those kinds of plays, improvise when things get crazy and make a play out of that, it's just amazing to have somebody like that running the offense." Another area where Patterson has invigorated the Wolverines is with his leadership. From the moment he arrived in Ann Arbor, he's been a strong presence even though he's in just his first season with the program. "Shea is so positive and focused, and it has a big impact on our of- fense," running backs coach Jay Har- baugh said. "Our team never feels like we're out of a game and having a guy like him amplifies things." — Andrew Hussey Update: Freshman Redshirt Status A new rule was implemented in college football this season that allows a player to appear in four games at any time without using up a year of eligibility. Through seven contests, just three of Michigan's scholarship freshmen have already burned their redshirts, with a few more on the verge of doing so. Here is the complete breakdown: Burned Redshirts (3): Wide receiver Ronnie Bell, defensive end Aidan Hutchinson and kickoff specialist Jake Moody All three have been significant contributors this season and have seen action in every game. Moody has handled U-M's kickoffs, Hutchinson has been a regular in the defensive end rotation and Bell has hauled in three catches, two of which have been for scores. Next In Line (3): Left tackle Jalen Mayfield, running back Christian Turner and fullback Ben VanSumeren VanSumeren has already played in four contests and can't afford to compete in another if he hopes to keep his redshirt, while Mayfield and Turner have each seen action in three. On The Bubble (1): Running back Hassan Haskins He saw time on special teams in U-M's first two contests of 2018, but hasn't played since, which signifies he will likely redshirt. Likely Redshirts Despite One Appearance (3): Wide receiver Michael Bar- rett, linebacker Cameron McGrone and quarterback Joe Milton Barrett and McGrone have only played on special teams, while Milton made his Wolverine debut at quarterback in the 38-13 win over Wisconsin Oct. 13, rushing twice for 22 yards. Likely Redshirts With No Appearances Through Seven Games (10): Defen- sive backs Myles Sims, Sammy Faustin, Vincent Gray, Gemon Green and German Green; tight ends Ryan Hayes, Mustapha Muhammad and Luke Schoonmaker; and defensive linemen Taylor Upshaw and Julius Welschof — Austin Fox

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - November 2018