Michigan Football Preview 2019

Digital Edition

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 60 of 179

THE WOLVERINE 2019 FOOTBALL PREVIEW ■ 59 QUARTERBACKS If senior Shea Patterson can duplicate the 2,600 yards and 22 touchdowns he threw for last year, he would become the first Wolverine quarterback to reach both of those marks in two seasons. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL FYI In the battle of Jim Harbaugh's import quarterbacks, it's a near standoff — for now. In 2015, Iowa graduate transfer Jake Rudock threw for 3,017 yards, compared to senior Shea Patterson's 2,600 last season. Patterson netted more rushing yards (273-166), enjoyed a slightly higher completion percentage (64.6-64.0) and threw two fewer interceptions (7-9). Patterson also threw two more touchdown passes (22-20), with another season to perform. The Wolverines earned top-25 status for completing passes a year ago under Patterson. His 64.6-percent throwing accuracy contributed greatly to a 64.3 overall completion percentage for his team, which ranked No. 24 nationally and fourth in the Big Ten. The 24 passing touchdowns recorded by the team last year ranked seventh in school history, just two behind the school record set in 2000 and tied in 2003, and the program's most since 2007. The 24-9 touchdown-to-interception ratio was the team's best since 2006 (22-8). In 2018, Patterson posted the sixth-longest passing play in pro- gram history (a 79-yard touchdown to Donovan Peoples-Jones at Michigan State) and also tied for the 15th-longest scrimmage run ever (81 yards vs. Wisconsin), which was the longest non- touchdown scamper in U-M annals. U-M ranked No. 9 nationally in third-down conversions, gaining a new set of downs 48.6 percent of the time. Army (Michigan's second opponent this year) led the country in 2018 (57.1 percent), while the Wolverines proved the Big Ten's best in that statistical category. ing the offense." Some have said Patterson is a perfect fit for Gattis' offense. Quarterbacks coach Ben McDaniels isn't worrying about that fit as much as he is getting all his signal-callers fit to achieve at a high level this season. As for Patterson, McDaniels knows he's mentally ready. "He's part of a quarterback room that is working hard and is really excited," McDan- iels said. "Shea's excited, and I'm excited for him." McDaniels, Patterson noted, represents a big part of what's going on with Michigan's quarterbacks. Although considerable atten- tion has centered on the Wolverines' new of- fensive coordinator, Patterson insists people shouldn't overlook what his new position coach is bringing to the table. "I just feel natural out there," Patterson said. "I'm thinking less. We have an incred- ible quarterbacks coach in Ben McDaniels. He's gotten the whole quarterback room ready mentally. The game has slowed down a little bit. … The playmakers are making plays." Gattis assures the playmakers in the quar- terbacks room extend well beyond Patterson. Several have shown the ability to make both big runs and big throws. McCaffrey's final run of 2018, against Penn State, cost him the last four games of the season. A broken collarbone cut short a very promising first campaign on the field for the signal-caller. In six games last season, McCaffrey posted the highest efficiency rating (167.89) of any Michigan QB, and what would have been the seventh-highest in the nation if he had enough attempts to qualify. He connected on 8 of 15 throws (53.3 percent) for 126 yards and a pair of touchdowns. McCaffrey also averaged 9.9 yards per carry (99 yards on 10 tries) before the final run ended badly. He bolted for one 44-yard touchdown and is very determined about 2019, not to mention physically ready. "I wouldn't say there's been anything that you would notice," McDaniels noted, in terms of setbacks for McCaffrey. "He did a great job through rehab, and he looked great to start spring." He looked strong to finish the spring as well, battling with Milton for the backup spot. Milton's arm can unleash the football more than 80 yards in the air, and his sheer size (6-5, 234 pounds) makes him a danger- ous threat as a runner. Milton managed to get into four games last year, allowing him to keep his redshirt under new NCAA rules. In those appearances, he completed three of his four passes for 58 yards with an interception for a 146.80 ef- ficiency rating. He also rushed seven times YEAR-BY-YEAR PASSING STATS Year Passing Yards Touchdowns Interceptions 2018 2,804 24 9 2017 2,226 9 10 2016 2,756 20 7 2015 3,090 21 10 2014 2,042 10 18 2013 3,221 21 13 2012 2,591 20 19 2011 2,377 22 16 2010 3,252 23 15 2009 2,380 15 15

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