No, Don't Turn Shea Loose

Submitted by Gameboy on September 18th, 2018 at 12:04 PM

There is a new Michigan Man podcast post with Baumgardner as the guest (

Nick is arguing that it is time for Harbaugh to let Shea loose and go pass heavy.

I cannot disagree more.

All I want out of this year is for healthy Shea going into the game. If you have a better QB, you always have a chance and I believe that we have a better QB than OSU this year. I have no doubt that we would have won the game in 2015 with healthy Rudock (or any of the last three games with a healthy starting QB).

With the current OL, PTSD every time Shea drops back for a pass. Exposing Shea to 20 passes a game is probably plenty, I see no reason why we want to bump that up to 30 or more when that also increases the chance that we will end up with Shea on the bench later in the season. I also disagree with Brian about Shea needing to keep the ball more on option. Screw that, just keep handing off to RB even if it means we have no gains on 3 or 4 plays.

I think Harbaugh is handling this exactly right and I hope he keeps course. If that means we drop a game or two we might have won otherwise, so be it. I just want Shea to be healthy for THE GAME.

Seriously, is the gain of having more Shea passes worth the increase in injury possibilities?



September 18th, 2018 at 1:33 PM ^

Perfect summary, and what I've assumed Harbaugh has been doing.

Definitely disagree with Brian's "Shea needs to pull the ball 2-3 times a game" theory. You don't need to do that against Rutgers and Maryland, avoid getting him hurt during those games. If the good teams on our schedule don't respect it, good! He'll pick up more yards when he does pull it.


September 18th, 2018 at 4:13 PM ^

Something I have seriously wondered: do the coaches ever give Shea instructions to give no matter what on read options? Or, is Shea making incorrect reads due to misreading the D/timid to run? I think there's a non-zero chance that the coaches call a read option sometimes and tell Shea to give it no matter what the edge player does to A) avoid contact on Shea, and B) make it more of a surprise against other opponents when they tell Shea to pull it if that's the read. 


Speculating, but it's crossed my mind. Wouldn't shock me.


September 18th, 2018 at 8:03 PM ^

I hate to be thought of as being a group thinker, but you're spot on Timmaay. Spend 5 minutes on the game thread and you will read HAWT take after HAWT take from the hordes.

I'm done with the game threads unless the Mods find a way to give directions to the posters exact location. Hotel Putingrad can then send some of his agents to send them directly to a special gulag for some Stalinesque football education.


September 18th, 2018 at 12:53 PM ^

Passing more doesn't even necessarily expose the QB to that much more risk. Not every pass needs to be 4 verts where the QB sits in the pocket forever waiting for routes to develop. There's a ton they can do with short passes and designed rollouts that keep the QB out of harm's way but still keeps defenses honest instead of teeing off on the run game. On the other hand, getting down and being forced to throw is when you really expose the QB to injury because the defense can just pin their ears back and get after the pass rush. 


September 18th, 2018 at 2:00 PM ^

I agree with this take.  SMU put 8 in the box and the run game just wasn't there - they just plain outnumbered us.  We will need to pass it 5-10 more times a game but all of it underneath stuff with TE cover for the LT and RB for blitz/stunt help.  West Coast spread with a bit more to Perry / Martin from the slot to open up the run game and also a bit more play-action from power.  Shea has the arm talent to get those throws out quickly before any real pass rush ensues.  If Shea completes 7 more throws a game for an average of 10 yards that could add up to 7+ more points per game.  Maybe even more scoring production if the run lanes get better and Higdon chunks a few.

My believe is Harbaugh is just getting started with his full offensive install.  He is trying to build this house with a good foundation to last well into November and beyond.  Go Blue !!!


September 18th, 2018 at 7:49 PM ^

I'm not getting drawn into an extended exchange here, but to address your first sentence; I had considered editing my post to add to that. No, I wouldn't say we have to wait until game eight. If we lose to Nebraska, or Northwestern, then people would be justified in bitching. Beyond that, I'd stick to what I said. 


September 19th, 2018 at 2:38 PM ^

I dunno, Haskins looked pretty deadly last year against M with Urban coaching. 

I think Patterson is a great QB, best we've had in some time, but having seen Haskins play I'm not willing to put him below our QB yet.  Haskins is the real deal, it will be interesting to see if Urban is willing to change his approach.


September 18th, 2018 at 8:20 PM ^

Agreed. I'll just pile on here-not that it will make any difference to all these whiners. Right now, for the season, the passing and rushing yardage is nearly 50-50. Michigan's offense has outgained their opponent by 3-400 yards...they even (narrowly) outgained ND. 

Shea has been damn every way. Right now this offense, with Shea's abilities, is set up to take on the big B1G boys. They have thrown deep, they've thrown down the seams, they've crossed deep. They have not thrown a lot underneath much of late, they have not done much misdirection or reverses and they have not used any naked boot-legs. We have seen 4 solid running backs and the receivers and TEs are playmakers-though McKeon needs to get his act together. 


September 18th, 2018 at 12:12 PM ^

 "If that means we drop a game or two we might have won otherwise, so be it"




"no game on the remainder of our schedule is more important than the one you're going down the tunnel to play today"

Watching From Afar

September 18th, 2018 at 12:12 PM ^

Rudock played in The Game in 2015. He got hurt at the end of the 3rd quarter or the beginning of the 4th.

He threw for like 260 yards and no INTs, but he wasn't saving that defense.

Rudock in 2016 and 2017, sure as hell gives Michigan a much better shot at winning though.


September 18th, 2018 at 12:13 PM ^

Turn him loose. Shea is going to have to pass 30-35 times against the meat of the schedule and probably Indiana too. Harbaugh teams struggle to run against good or better defenses.  You need to get to 'The Game' with stakes and if throwing more means that, then throw it around. 

Occam's Razor

September 18th, 2018 at 12:15 PM ^

Are you serious OP? 

Michigan can BARELY run the ball against cupcakes and you think Shea shouldn't pass more than 20 times a game? 


6-6 is what you get with your wimp ass playcalling. 


September 18th, 2018 at 12:17 PM ^

If we lose two more games before The Game, frankly, I am probably not going to be interested enough in The Game to really be that invested in which QB starts The Game.  The Game does not happen in a vacuum, sure I would like to win The Game, but if we are playing The Game simply to spoil OSU's season, it will not mean nearly as much to me than if we won the rest of our games before The Game.

In other words, I hope the coaches do whatever they need to do to win every game before Ohio State, because if we are playing Ohio State to determine whether we are going to the Holiday Bowl or the Outback Bowl, it just doesn't mean nearly as much.


September 18th, 2018 at 12:17 PM ^

This is dumb on a number of levels. 

You don’t let one game dictate your entire season. We should just keep Shea in a bubble all year so he can be healthy for OSU? I know we want to win that game, but come on. 

Also, might be a bit of a stretch to say Shea is better than Haskins at this point. 

The Mad Hatter

September 18th, 2018 at 1:20 PM ^

I get where he's coming from.  What's better, and 8-4 season with a win over OSU, or 10-2 losing to them (and having to watch them in the goddamn playoffs again)?

Logically, I know 10-2 is better.  That's what I should want.  But deep in my heart of hearts, I'm completely desperate for a win over OSU.  This year I'd take 8-4.

That said, you play every game to win.  I reject OP's premise in that regard.


September 18th, 2018 at 12:24 PM ^

Shea will throw as much as we need him to. We havn't needed him to do much against the last two opponents. Against Nebraska and Northwestern, we'll probably see Shea have 25-30 attempts to create enough space to keep the running game efficient. I also hope he won't get hurt, but you cant play scared. You play to win the game.


September 18th, 2018 at 12:24 PM ^

So essentially, you are advocating for coaching and playing scared. The only way the O-line will protect Shea better is through reps. As good ole Herm Edwards once said, "You play to win the game." 

Michigan has shown in the past and against ND that they struggle running it against good or decent teams. If throwing the ball more means winning more games, then I am all for it. You cannot play scared or it will result in a disappointing season.


September 18th, 2018 at 12:27 PM ^

I think with the rain in ND, and two cupcakes ober the next two weeks, run heavy offense was okay.  I also think it will be okay to slow play the next few games.  Run your base concepts, get some familiarity with the passing game, keep people healthy, then unleash Shea on MSU, Wisconsin, PSU, and OSU.  The rest of the games should be easy wins.  I don't care if we win them by 5 or 50.  We need healthy, functioning players, and new, unexpected wrinkles against the meat of our schedule.