MMQB: Devin Gardner Compliments Shea Patterson's Awareness

Former Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner joins Inside the Huddle’s Michael Spath to break down Saturday's game.

Former Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner joins Inside the Huddle’s Michael Spath to break down Saturday's game.

Michigan’s success with the read option will benefit the offense tremendously, Devin Gardner shared on WTKA Monday. You can hear all four segmentshere,here,hereandhere.

Devin Gardner on Michigan’s overall performance against Wisconsin:

“The game went exactly as I discussed it would go and how I thought it would go, where I thought our quarterback would make more plays than their quarterback and our quarterback would definitely make less mistakes than their quarterback. It was very evident, and I thought that our defense would force their offense to do something other than what they do and beat us in a different way. They weren’t able to do it because our defense played very well. For our defense to be that dominant and continue to improve, I think it’s amazing.”

Devin Gardner on Shea Patterson’s rushing ability and decision-making:

“The rushing can’t be discounted. It’s kind of like the Cam Newton thing, where ‘oh, he’s not an elite quarterback’. But if you count his rushing, which you have to [count], it actually happens in the game and it helps them win, he becomes almost the same quarterback as everyone else as far as stats go. That’s something that cannot be ignored. He had some plays where he kinda tried to do a little too much…Those very moves that he’s making, he’s not going to make those same mistakes and continue to do it, but those plays he’s trying to make are the plays that are gonna keep us in this game and continue to help us dominate this game and it’s gonna help us win when we get to an Ohio State, when we get to a Penn State. I think he was well within himself, he had some mistakes, he took a sack…The very next play, he does a smart play. He hits it right on the crossing route, so now we can get a field goal. We’re not gonna probably get the first down, let us get a little closer, get into field goal range. That’s amazing because you don’t have [coach] Harbaugh in your helmet like in the NFL. He understood that on his own and that’s phenomenal, just game awareness and just understanding. He’s proven to be able to have that.”

Devin Gardner on the completion to Nico Collins setting up a field goal after a sack:

“That was a perfect opportunity for us to kind of get on track to maybe not win this game. I think we would’ve responded if we didn’t get a field goal, whatever, but it was set up perfectly for Wisconsin to steal the momentum, which they kinda did with the sack, and Shea [Patterson] snatched it right back. ‘Ok, nope. Nope. This is our house, give us our momentum back and let’s keep this game on our side and we’re gonna dominate you.’ That was amazing to see that he had the awareness to be able to do that and without a coach to say, ‘hey’. In the NFL, you get a little cheat sheet, you’ve got a guy in your helmet for a good amount of time, about 25 seconds. He calls a play and gives you a reminder, ‘Hey. We just need a few yards to get into field goal range, whatever. He didn’t have that and for him to have that awareness was amazing to see.”

Devin Gardner on the impact of Shea Patterson’s 81-yard run:

“That early success with Shea with that big run set up this entire game and set up the domination that we displayed. I’m pretty sure they had some line up, old-school football like Wisconsin does in the game plan, but when your quarterback explodes for an 81-yard run, those linebackers now have to freeze and they can’t react the way they wanted to. The evaluation of Shea as a runner and the read option game is going to continue to improve our offense and our offensive line. Him getting that big run was the best thing that could have happened for Michigan football, not only in this game but moving forward. He had some other times where he’s got 15-yard runs, which defenses don’t want to allow either, but an 80-yard run in inexcusable. That’s something [defenses] just can’t let happen, so you’re going to see a lot more of those backside linebackers not pulling, that will stop runs. That was paramount for the success of our team and our running game. When you get a run like that early in the game, I mean, there’s no way you go away from the read option because now, they’re guessing and they’re not playing as fast and without thinking.”

Devin Gardner on the adjustments Michigan made in the running game:

“It’s something to be appreciated, with the coaches saying, ‘Hey. We had a game plan, we wanted to run this way, maybe it’s not working as good as we’d like, and we have a backup deal that we can go to. I think running backs like that a little more so that they can get a little more vision and they can have that cutback lane. Wisconsin wasn’t ready for the read option, but the run game in the ‘c’ gaps and bouncing it outside, I don’t think they were prepared. Even though they’ve seen it on film and know he’s a fast guy, I don’t think they were prepared for Karan [Higdon]’s speed and not only that, his aggressiveness…I don’t think they were quite ready for that. That was a large part of why we were so successful with those types of plays. When a guy has speed and power like that, I mean, it’s tough to stop him.”

Devin Gardner on the challenges of making adjustments during a game:

“A really good coaching staff can try to get some things done on the field, but it’s usually a halftime thing. It’s easy in college, kinda, because you get a lot of TV timeouts, a lot of different things where you can talk about a lot of stuff. You’ve got a lot of guys up in the booth who are seeing things and you can call down all that stuff, but most of the adjustments that need to be made will be at halftime just because you have a more extended period of time. I want to say it should be easy because you get paid so much to be a coach and you should be able to do these things, but you see teams time and time again not make adjustments during the game or halftime or whatever. I think that’s something we’ve seen and that coach Harbaugh since he’s gotten here has shown that he’s very capable of doing offensively and defensively, and for the most part defensively, is making adjustments in-game and making adjustments at halftime. That’s something to be appreciated because we have a really good coaching staff and they continuously prove they’re capable of doing it.”