Michigan football: Pump the breaks on all the Shea Patterson negativity
The very best thing AND the very worst thing about college football is that one loss can oftentimes ruin a season.
And the trolls on Twitter? Well, that’s simply become the worst thing about sports. Something goes wrong at any level of sports — I’ve seen tweets ripping 12-year-olds this summer — and the vermin come out of the woods.
That’s certainly been the case after Michigan lost 24-17 at Notre Dame Saturday night in its season opener. The vultures circled quickly. It was no surprise really, because the Michigan haters have had a field day with Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines every time they lose to a ranked time — which is every time they meet someone good in the last three-plus years that Harbaugh has been back on campus in Ann Arbor.
It’s an unfortunate part of 21st-century sports, the tweeters. But sometimes they get it wrong, and I’m here to say those Shea Patterson haters are way off base. He was not the reason why Michigan lost Saturday night, but the haters trolled anyway.
If I was a betting man, I would bet that Shea Patterson is still bad.
— Alex Kelly (@atkelly19) September 1, 2018
If Shea Patterson is an upgrade, he didn't look like it tonight. Don't see how this team has a chance in hell at a Big Ten championship.
— GBM Wolverine (@GBM_Wolverine) September 2, 2018
Shea Patterson hype train update pic.twitter.com/Ah8cTC6ayK
— Laker Fan Since July 2018 (@austinfrank) September 2, 2018
I can't believe I actually got a picture with Michigans starting QB Shea Patterson. pic.twitter.com/xlf3j07Ju8
— Jake Hogue (@jakehogue21) September 2, 2018
Giving these tweeters any credence is not something I would usually do. I usually just try to ignore them. But this time, I’m using them to prove a point, that they are barking up the wrong tree.
You want to blame the offensive line for Michigan’s loss? Go right ahead. They’ve earned it. You want to blame Michigan’s highly touted defense for allowing Notre Dame to score on its first two possessions? Feel free, especially since they were both long drives and it created a huge crater to crawl out of.
But blaming Patterson? That’s too far off-base. And I know ripping QBs is low-hanging fruit.
First off, he was 20-for-30 passing for 227 yards. A 67 percent completion number is always good and, quite frankly, it’s great under constant duress. Patterson was under heavy pressure all night long, and he still made plays. Sure, a lot of passes were quick-hitters or dink-and-dunks, but that’s because he had to get the ball out quickly. He did that, just fine.
When he had time, he showed he could throw the ball down field. His 52-yard completion was spot on. It was also rare under Harbaugh.
Consider this amazing stat:
Shea Patterson's 52-yard completion to Nico Collins traveled 50 yards in the air, the most air yards on a Michigan completion since 2012. pic.twitter.com/2li8LpOSQp
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 2, 2018
That’s right. In six years, there wasn’t a single Michigan quarterback who completed a pass that went 50 yards in the air. Patterson did it in his first game.
It’s very likely that Patterson will play well and Michigan will win its next three games, all at home against Western Michigan, SMU and Nebraska. That won’t mean much. Patterson is there to win big games, and those are further down the road. He’s going to have to play well against the big boys, and I still think he’s very capable of doing it. Michigan just has to fix its protection issues first.
I think it’s wrong to say that Patterson is more of the same at quarterback for Michigan. He’s far better than Wilton Speight or John O’Korn or Brandon Peters or Devin Gardner.
I was very surprised to hear Dave Revsine of the Big Ten Network, someone I respect greatly, use the “more of the same” line when talking about Patterson and the Wolverines on Saturday night’s highlights show. He’s certainly entitled to his opinion, and I think he’s the best on that network, but I just think he’s wrong.
Braylon Edwards, the former Michigan wide receiver who works an BTN, got suspended for his social media rants on the Wolverines. He was tough on everyone at Michigan, and he even called Patterson “scared.”
I think he was totally wrong there, too. I don’t think Patterson played scared at all. I think he hung tough trying to make the most of a difficult situation.
I’m curious to see what happens next. I think Patterson will be fine, and I think the Wolverines will, too. My god, it’s the first week of September and I’m not going to let one game, and a few difficult moments, change my thinking on Patterson.
You shouldn’t either.