The Wolverine

June July 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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JUNE/JULY 2018 THE WOLVERINE 5   FROM OUR READERS HIGH HOPES SPRING ETERNAL Dear The Wolverine, With spring practice completed, the anxiety and anticipation of the coming football season is upon us. I feel an ambivalence for the usual enthusiasm that I generally have at this time of the year. I have been emotionally bat- tered by the ups and downs of recent seasons and losses to MSU and OSU. An 8-5 season with three losses at the end and a less than spectacular bowl game is ample reason to raise speculation of the level of success for the coming season. The relatively new format for earning a Big Ten cham- pionship, the gold standard, by not only winning the division, but also the championship game adds to the difficulty of achieving that goal. I do agree with the general opinion that the schedule makers did no favors for our beloved Wolverines once again this year. That reasoning is bolstered by what appears to be an improve- ment in some of the teams that were battered last year, such as possibly Ne- braska, Indiana and Rutgers, though Indiana should not be included in the battered category. The improvement in those teams comes as an upgrade in coaching, recruiting and the benefit of a season of experience by younger players. I believe that I can realistically add Michigan to that list of those benefit- ing from a year of experience in mul- tiple phases of the game. The presence of Wisconsin, Penn State, MSU and OSU on the schedule annually baffles one's sense of fairness. (I know the schedules are made years in advance.) Illinois looks like the weakest team in the conference to me, and I note that they are missing from our schedule in 2018, along with Iowa and Minnesota. At this point, I see Notre Dame as a tossup game with wins against West- ern Michigan and SMU. Michigan will handle an improved Nebraska team, struggle but beat Northwest- ern away and win versus Maryland. A win against Wisconsin is aided by the game being played in Ann Arbor. MSU will be a serious challenge with an underrated but effective quarter- back, but I have to go with Michigan, who will finally resurrect some spark of aggression against the Spartans. Michigan has a chance against Penn State, once again because the game is in Ann Arbor. Michigan beats Rutgers at Rutgers. Indiana will someday beat Michigan, but not this year in Ann Arbor. The toughest game of the year is once again in Columbus. Michigan must improve its October and No- vember records. The revised coaching staff has to bring some focus on that part of the schedule. I would like to believe that Michigan will beat Ohio State, but that contains more than a modicum of doubt. I will have to see some improvement in both the run- ning game, passer protection and of- fensive line play in order to make that call. Improvement in those areas is not beyond attainment. Perhaps my anxiety and anticipa- tion for success is less than I thought. Count on me to be cheering on my favorite team regardless of the afore- mentioned ambivalence for enthusi- asm. Go Blue! J. Richard Jaconette, M.D. Battle Creek, Mich. On junior quarterback transfer Shea Patterson being ruled eligible immediately … • Would you agree with the statement that Shea will be fur- ther along in Jim Harbaugh's offense than [former Iowa trans- fer Jake] Rudock was when he stepped on the field for Jim? calblue • Heck yeah. He went through the whole spring practice and bonded with teammates during winter lifting. It sounds like he's fitting in with his teammates during a great bond- ing opportunity in France. By this time, Rudock was not even in Ann Arbor yet. He should be good to go. k2kal3 • Shea is more talented physically in every conceivable way in comparison with Rudock. However, we don't yet know if he can match Rudock's greatest asset, which was what was inside his helmet. Jake took a few weeks to get it click- ing because he got to campus so late, but when he did he was outstanding. Shea has the advantage of being able to participate fully in the entire offseason program, spring ball included. That may help him grasp the offense sooner than Rudock. If he does, I don't think there's any doubt his ceiling is higher than Jake's. Wolverine224 • I think Shea has a better shot at hitting the ground run- ning than Rudock did. But if Shea has anywhere near the learning curve that Rudock did, we will win the Big Ten this year and have a chance at a national championship. The improvement that Rudock showed over three months was outstanding and is a huge reason I'm optimistic for this year. Harbaugh didn't just forget how to develop a QB … he just hasn't had a QB talented enough to develop since Rudock left. One could argue that Wilton Speight was projecting well, but he regressed badly after getting planted at Iowa. Rhawk27 • Totally agree that the time is now. Yes, the schedule is tough, but win the Big Ten — even with a loss or even two — and we'll be in the Playoff. This is the most loaded U-M team since 2006. That team also had a brutal road schedule of Notre Dame, Michigan State and Ohio State. My feeling is if we beat Notre Dame, we will be 11-0 for the third time in 13 years going to Columbus. MiamiWolv • Shea Patterson is not only the best quarterback the minute he walks into Michigan's room, he's likely the best quarterback when he walks into any room. Look at the track record — Elite 11, the transfer to IMG Academy, etc. Having a quarterback with his ability changes the achiev- able goals for this program significantly. The best news is all he needs to be is competent for this team to be better with the budding talent around him and the defense that is gearing up for a dominant year on the other side of the ball. dr. blue • Shea is an upgrade … but the kid will need help from that O-line, some functional level of blocking from our running backs and good/physical route running from young wide receivers. If any of those three areas don't improve, Shea will not reach his potential … which is why I am a bit sur- prised by the level of Shea "15-0" Patterson hysteria. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised as a subscriber for 12 years … scheins From Our Website

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