Breakdown Sports: Shea Patterson Film Breakdown and How He Fits

Submitted by Space Coyote on December 8th, 2017 at 9:41 AM
I’ve fielded a few questions about my thoughts on the Shea Patterson situation. I did something similar for Jake Rudock when he transferred from Iowa to Michigan, so I figured I’d take a brief look at what he would bring to the table. In doing so, it is essentially not to just look at highlights, but also look at his weaknesses and his worst performances.
Let’s make one thing clear, the primary reason, above all other reasons, that Michigan is looking to bring in Patterson is because he is incredibly talented. His game is far from without flaws, but in my opinion, bringing him in is much less about the current roster and the staff’s trust in that roster and much more about what Patterson potentially brings to the table. Let’s take a look, and hopefully this isn't all for naught.



December 8th, 2017 at 11:31 AM ^

Incorrect usage. The rule with Jake Rudock's name is this:

There shall be an inverse correlation between the number of extraneous "d" letters, and Jake Rudock's quality of play, with a minimum of one "d"

Utah: Jake Ruddddock
Indiana: Jake Rudock

Space Coyote

December 8th, 2017 at 9:47 AM ^

I've noticed a lot of people saying "this is a no brainer" or "there is no downside to this." I don't necessarily agree. There is no denying that Patterson has a very high ceiling, but this move is not without risks. Here are some tweets I had recently regarding this.


December 8th, 2017 at 9:51 AM ^

I feel as if Michigan fans always complain about how we don’t go after these transfers and why can’t we get the top guy. Harbaugh is totally justified in this situation trying to make our team the best it can be and if that means rubbing a few people the wrong way, we can complain saying he didn’t try to get the National Championship. I love this and always want people that want to be at Michigan to be here, not just guys that think we were the easiest place to get playing time.

Space Coyote

December 8th, 2017 at 9:55 AM ^

I do agree I want competitive players. I have no doubt if Harbaugh is going through with this he believes it's best for the team. I also have no doubt if it was absolutely a no brainer Harbaugh certainly would have reached out to Patterson, not the other way around. It comes with it's risks and potential rewards, but it certainly isn't without risk.

Harbaugh is doing what he thinks is best to win, and I have no issue with that.


December 8th, 2017 at 10:18 AM ^

I totally agree that there is risk, and with not going after these players has an inherent risk too. Bringing in players that want to compete AND want to be at the university is what we should be looking for and that’s what Harbaugh is doing in my opinion. The rewards will come. Thanks for all your content SC, I appreciate your time and going through these things in greater detail then some of us have time to do.


December 8th, 2017 at 11:58 AM ^

I do believe Patterson reached out to Harbaugh before Speight made the decision to transfer. There were two reasons Harbaugh did not reach out. One: Speight  Two: Waiver to play this year. Here's a risk for you if you want one. Patterson to osu.msu.psu.wsu. There's your risk.

If Patterson is not all that, then you have Peters with experience backing up. I think Harbaugh felt pretty good with Peters and Speight backing him up. He did not know Patterson wanted to come to Michigan and he had no room anyways. Room opened up and he knew Patterson wanted to come to Michigan and blam there is your no brainer.

I will make it real simple how i feel about getting Shea Patterson. He gives Michigan  the best QB in the big ten. I really feel it is that simple. I also think Harbaugh feels the same way and anyone who thinks they have a better feel for the QB position then Jim Harbaugh......uhh, well you better have some lofty crendentials.

Space Coyote

December 8th, 2017 at 9:52 AM ^

I love competition. I don't think it's ever been claimed that I'm anything other than extremely competitive. That's why I've spent way too much time on this blog arguing way too many topics, including topics that are likely no win.

And overall, I love that Harbaugh is so competitive and asks his players to be so competitive. I do agree that competition tends to bring out the best in people and that it is often best for the team as a whole. But there are multiple ways to treat competition, and players react to different types of competition differently. So there is always a risk there. Call it "concern trolling" if you will, but that's my experience as a player and a coach. It's a fine line to walk, with a lot of gray area. But it does exist. I loved how JDue (Read Your Guard) put it on twitter

Blue in Paradise

December 8th, 2017 at 10:07 AM ^

WE HAVE 2 SCHOLARSHIP QBs on the roster at the moment!!!!  (with a grand total of 4 games experience)...  We don't even have a guarantee that Milton and/or Doyle won't flip at the last moment (unlikely but possible given Crootin').

We NEED a 3rd scholarship QB that is not a true freshman.  Given that need, why would you not go after the best talent available.

My hunch from listening to Sam Webb is that Peters was not happy about the intitial rumblings about Patterson / Eason coming to AA and Michigan told Patterson they were not interested. 

The Speight transfer has changed the dynamics and it would now be irresponsible to not bring in an experienced QB.  Either Peters recognizes this and signed off on Patterson coming on board or Harbaugh decided that the team having 3 QBs was a must regardless of potentially hurt feelings. 


Good analysis by the way, thanks for sharing with the board!!!

Blue in Paradise

December 8th, 2017 at 10:25 AM ^

season for the team because he doesn't want a 2nd QB to compete with, then let him go. 

He just lived through a season where Michigan started 3 QBs in at least 3 games - he himself got hurt and missed the biggest game of the season.  How could he not be worried about QB depth going into 2018?  The QB is part of the team, right?

My guess is that he is a team player who expects to win the job regardless of who he is competing with.  He has a chance to put himself into the lead during the Bowl game and I fully expect him to take full advantage.


December 8th, 2017 at 12:43 PM ^

Also, I don't expect Patterson to be here long, at all. He is an absolute one-and-done if all these 2019(!!!) NFL Draft projections have any merit. They are projecting him as a first rounder just like they did with Darnold last year. I see him and Jefferson coming in together, and probably leaving together. 


December 8th, 2017 at 12:09 PM ^

And then Peters has to sit out the year anyways. That makes zero sense especially if Patterson is one and done. Peters has to up root, go to where?, and then compete there also. QB's that transfer usually go to better teams not worse. Stidham, Mayfield and on and on. I think you are really selling Peters short on this one and he gains absolutely nothing by transferring.


December 8th, 2017 at 4:30 PM ^

Very good points and Milton is RAW.  He is crazy talented, but he is a "project".  I was impressed with his physical gifts as an athlete on his Senior film, but he is no where near polished.  Unless the kid has the ability to handle a steep learning curve, he will be no where near ready to see the field for 2-3 years.


December 8th, 2017 at 10:14 AM ^

There is a ton of upside to taking Shea, and it really all hinges on how Peters handles it. If Peters gets fired up and shows out in the bowl, gearing up for a massive 3-way QB competition, then this team will be in a much better position.

But there is definite potential for it to backfire, as it’s totally possible that Shea can’t adapt to the offensive scheme, the team underperforms next year and, combined with this whole ordeal creates some major tension in the locker room, Peters is rubbed too far in the wrong way and transfers, leaving us with only RS Soph DM and RS Frosh Mixon in a make-or-break 2019 season. That’s a doomsday scenario that isn’t outside the realm of possibility.


December 8th, 2017 at 7:57 PM ^

I'm sorry, but redshirt sophomore Dylan McCaffrey as the starter is your doomsday scenario?  If that is doomsday what do you call this year? I guess I am biased, I think McCaffrey will end up being the best qb we have had in a while.  


December 8th, 2017 at 10:28 AM ^

This year was not a normal year.  Last year Speight won the competition and was THE guy.  This year he won it again but went down to injury, in which case it was next man up.  O'Korn was the guy until he abundantly demonstrated he wasn't up to the task and Harbaugh replaced him at a time when it made the most sense (three games against lesser teams). 

I haven't seen anything that makes me think that Harbaugh makes QBs compete week-to-week during the season.  The competition happens during spring and fall and then establishes the pecking order and done (perhaps why Peters checked out initially).  The fact that he stuck with Speight despite lackluster performance prior to injury this year confirms that for me.

Speight probably left because Patterson was in the works and he wasn't going to beat him in spring/fall camp.  I don't have a problem with that.  Will Peters do the same?  We'll see, but a coach is ultimately judged by wins and losses, and this season's QB weakness will be a strength next year.

If a talented OL transferred in I don't think too many people would be worried about anyone's feelings.


December 8th, 2017 at 12:32 PM ^

Speight left because he was not going to beat out Brandon Peters. Michigan was not going to bring in Patterson with Speight  there. Speight knew they were leaning towards Peters and rightfully so. Peters is a better QB than Speight. I think Patterson is a better college QB than Peters. Much like Manzel being way better than a lot of QB's that are in the nfl while they were in college. Example J.T. Barrett voted offensive player of the year in the big ten at QB. I highly doubt this guy even gets drafted unless he wants to go play in Canada.

Patterson is way better than J.T. Barrett. He makes a lot of plays with his legs and extends plays that Peters just can not at this point. Peters has size and may throw better from the pocket, but Patterson will extend plays and run around. This will get him killed in the nfl, but this is college ball and he is going to kill teams playing for Michigan.

Peters will get a lot of playing time next year also. They are both going to play. Michigan will have several games to get the back up in for extended playing time. I see Patterson and Peters both going to the nfl.

To be honest I have no idea why this is being debated because the reality is Patterson will be on Michigan's team next year and so will Brandon Peters. Who will be starting?. Nobody know's at this time. Is the team going to be better with Patterson on the team?. Stupid Question. Is the team better with Anderson and Van Jefferson?. Another stupid question.

I see a lot of buckshit fans who think they will be ranked in the top four next year and #1 in the big ten. I DON'T THINK SO!!!!!!  I think the Michigan Wolverines will be the favorites. Thanks to Patterson, Anderson and Van Jefferson.


December 8th, 2017 at 8:55 PM ^

if Speight stayed, he has the inside track to be the starting QB for 2018 season. The fact Harbaugh was kind of caught off-guard when Speight told him that he plans to transfer speak volume that Harbaugh wasn't pleased with the QB situation.  Peters hasn't played well enough to show that he can take Michigan into the next level thus far.


December 8th, 2017 at 10:47 AM ^

Look you bring in the best talent you can every year, whether you recruit it or find a transfer or two. If Patterson comes in and starts and leads the team to a championship everyone will be happy and it will help in recruiting.  If Patterson doesn't come in next year we would only have one QB with experience, which is a total of 4 games. Then a RS Freshman and two true Freshman, one who is extremely raw.  That is not a great depth chart at QB.

We need more depth there and we have a great chance to bring in the top QB from the 2016 class who was a 5*.  You never pass up that oppurtuninty because it might hurt one guys feelings on the team. You bring him in for more depth and to compete and the best player will play.  If we loose Peters over it our QB depth really doesn't change from what we had if he didn't come, other then we would probably have a better starting QB.

Patterson is a talent, he does need a little refining, but we have the coaching to get that done. He could be a huge differene maker for us next year.


December 8th, 2017 at 12:32 PM ^

Yeah, this was my take as well regarding competition.  People keep assuming someone who doesn't want to deal with a lack of overt confidence by their HC is a quitter, as opposed to a human being who doesn't necessarily want to keep jumping through hoops.  People will say "hell, at my job I'm always worried about losing my job and that motivates me to succeed", which (a) good for you if you can work in that environment, but (b) not everyone wants or needs that type of encouragement.  I've worked in places where every performance review is "you better work harder or you're shit-canned", and that is told to basically everyone who works there, and they are surprised with the massive turnover.  Speight leaving always felt like he knew he wasn't going to get a fair shake at the starting QB, and so why waste his last year fighting from underneath after 2 years of showing he was the best option.

Patterson is a talented guy; I still feel like he's going to have a fair number of stumbles early on and the same people talking about meritocracy (that loaded word people throw around when they don't want to accept that the world is typically biased in any number of spoken and unspoken ways) will complain about him being overrated and wanting a change.


December 8th, 2017 at 4:26 PM ^

Patterson just looks and acts like a QB.  Passes the eye test with ease.  I love Peters too.  Calm and cool.  My concern is that Peters didn't seem to have great arm strength.  Perhaps that is because he has more touch than Speight or JOK.

Everyone Murders

December 8th, 2017 at 9:49 AM ^

Manziel-type player without the Manziel-type issues?  Yeah, that'd be OK.

Thanks for linking this (and all the analysis that went into your original article).  With all the off-field drama that surrounded/surrounds Manziel, it's sometimes hard to remember what a terrific QB he was.  Patterson compares well on the field.

And it seems that Patterson would do well under Harbaugh's tutelage, and with Peters, Mixon, McCaffrey providing him stiff competition.  This would be a great end-of-season development!

Everyone Murders

December 8th, 2017 at 10:04 AM ^

I did not think you were asserting Patterson was quite ready for a Heisman, but plays a similar style compared to Manziel.  Howevah, I think the Tate Forcier comparable isn't going to engender much love around these parts - even though I agree that many of Tate's difficulties were related to maturity rather than ability.  I see where you're coming from on that one, and would put Patterson somewhere between those comparables.

The bottom line is that a capable gunslinger would be a welcome counterpoint to Peters, who I also think has a high ceiling (and is underappreciated around these parts).

Blue in Paradise

December 8th, 2017 at 10:28 AM ^

that Peters is already a bust and that the 2018 season is doomed.  I thought those could be rival fans but a few of them had significant point totals.

My theory in life is that 10-15% of the people in any community are functionally insane.  Meaning that they can seemingly live a normal life until any minutae of trouble or stress hits and they go full bonkers.

True Blue Grit

December 8th, 2017 at 12:06 PM ^

about Peters in his mind that bringing in Patterson would be insurance in case the former doesn't improve enough.  And we're not talking about just any QB transfer here.  This guy was the #4 rated player overall in the 2016 class.  That's like a Drew Henson (not comparing them though in skills) level.  

Mr Miggle

December 8th, 2017 at 10:36 AM ^

Give him more experience, a stronger arm and more interest in learning and we'd have very fond memories of his play.

My question is more about Patterson's NFL prospects. He's what, 6'1"?  I'd think he'd need to do a lot more than show an ability to improvise and make plays with his feet in order to get drafted. More like having full command of our fairly sophisticated offense. In other words, will he have to look less like a Tate Forcier before he leaves?


December 12th, 2017 at 11:38 AM ^

I find the Tate Forcier comparisons woefully short of reality. I understand the perceived need to compare him to someone who previously wore our helmet, but in this case that greatly mis-sets the expectations created by the forced analogy.  Short-ish, fast-ish white guy who runs around and does some unscripted stuff?  Okay.  But that's where it ends.  Patterson is far closer to Manziel at this level of football than he is to Forcier.

I know I'm swimming against the Brian and Space Coyote tides here, but I'll stick with that position until I see more evidence otherwise.





December 8th, 2017 at 3:50 PM ^

I don't necessarily disagree he may be similar to Manziel. Although, I don't think Patterson qualifies as a pure "dual-threat" QB the way Manziel did.

Interestingly, Patterson reminds me a lot of Alex Smith (albeit, a smaller version). Smith was a great athlete at Utah who could out-athlete many NCAA teams with his speed and skill. He was a great weapon in that Utah offense because he could hit you with his arm and his legs; and, he's translated some of that to the pros (particularly in KC moreso than SF).

It would not surprise me that - if Patterson comes to UM - our offense looks eerily similar to the Utah offense Urban and Smith ran together. Could be interesting...

(Quick Edit: Although their games remind me of each other, I think Patterson brings a swagger and attitude that Smith just doesn't really demonstrate - - - at least publically. I am excited about the possibility to have some arrogance on the sideline again)


December 8th, 2017 at 3:35 PM ^

in the pocket, pump fake, run, then throw. What's with this slo-mo qb thing, I don't want a Meyer QB but lets get a fast guy back there who can juke people and add an entirely new angle for opposing defenses to plan for.