All eyes will be on Michigan’s offense when the Wolverines travel to Madison to take on Wisconsin in a battle between ranked teams this Saturday.

The last time we saw Jim Harbaugh’s squad, the offense was stumbling through a plethora of mistakes that nearly cost the Wolverines in a too-close-for-comfort overtime victory at home against Army.

Through two games this season, Michigan has seven fumbles as well as several dropped passes and too many penalties. First-year offensive coordinator Josh Gattis knows that his unit needs to clean up its mistakes if the Wolverines are going to compete for a Big Ten championship. And it has to start this week against Wisconsin, which looks like the conference title contender that we have been accustomed to seeing in recent years. Paul Chryst’s squad has outscored its first two opponents 110-0.

So far this season, Michigan’s new no-huddle, up-tempo spread offense has not yielded the results fans expected heading into the season.

Against Army, particularly in the second half, the Wolverines seemed to revert back to their 2018 form by leaning on freshman Zach Charbonnet, who finished with 33 carries for 100 yards and three scores. Charbonnet certainly has been impressive early in his Wolverines career. But that second-half offense looked very much like a Harbaugh unit. Did Gattis have his hands tied?

Heading into the season I wrote about whether an offense that too often looked conservative and bland last year can be revitalized under Gattis. At Big Ten Media Days, Harbaugh noted that the new system accentuates the strengths of quarterback Shea Patterson. My concern was that Harbaugh would still be hands-on with the unit. While that did not seem to be the case during the offseason, things can change in a hurry once a team faces its first bout of in-game adversity. And it certainly seemed like the game plan was altered against Army as the game progressed. That’s concerning.

There is no doubt that there is an identity crisis in Ann Arbor. This offense underwent an overhaul in the offseason with the idea that it would give the program a better chance to compete for a Big Ten title and possible College Football Playoff berth. But after two games, the offense looks worse than it did at the end of last season, which is extremely troubling.

Where are the explosive plays that should be more frequent? Certainly play calling is a major factor, but maybe Patterson and some of the skill-position players can’t fully utilize their athletic abilities because they are thinking too much, which has affected the timing and rhythm of the unit.

One of the intriguing aspects of Saturday’s game is the fact that Michigan found a ton of success on the ground last year in its 38-13 victory over the Badgers in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines rushed 48 times for 320 yards and three scores, with Patterson rushing 9 times for 90 yards. But that was a much more generous Badgers defense than the one we will see at Camp Randall Stadium this week.

It’s still very early, but Wisconsin ranks as one of the best nationally against the run, holding its first two opponents to an average of 20.5 rushing yards per game. The unit has also recorded three interceptions. While South Florida and Central Michigan were inferior foes, it is clear that coordinator Jim Leonhard has a group of playmakers led by Zack Baun and Chris Orr with improved talent and depth.

Even if this Wisconsin defense ultimately doesn’t quite resemble the 2017 unit that ranked third in the nation giving up just 13.9 points per game, it looks to be much more of a force than the 2018 outfit that allowed 22.6 points per game. The Badgers have a much-improved and more athletic defensive line to help out a group of veteran linebackers.

Still, it remains to be seen whether the Wisconsin secondary can hold up for four quarters against the Michigan passing attack — if the Wolverines can find any sort of rhythm through the air.

Patterson has completed 62.1 percent of his passes for 410 yards with an average of 7.1 yards per attempt. He has three touchdown passes and no interceptions. But the senior has missed open receivers down the field and has lost three fumbles through two games. Is his oblique injury a factor, or is he just not yet comfortable in the new scheme? Whatever the case may be, it doesn’t help that penalties have also stalled the offense. The offensive line accounted for four of them against Army (three false starts and a holding).

Ronnie Bell, Tarik Black and Nico Collins are valuable receiver weapons for Patterson. So is Donovan Peoples-Jones, who had 47 catches for 612 yards and eight touchdowns last season but has missed the first two games of 2019 because of a foot injury. He may be back this week, and that would be a tremendous boost for this unit — if it can get out of its own way, of course.

Turnovers and penalties are drive killers. This offense was way too sloppy the last time it took the field, so cleaning up a lot of little things was a priority during the bye week. But the bigger question, if the unit looks more in sync and productive, is whether this offense will look more like a Gattis unit as opposed to one run by Harbaugh in the past.

That alone will say a lot about what we can expect from Michigan the rest of the way in 2019.