(This story was written by Josh Doering)
Every Monday from 12-1:00pm, former Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner (2010-14) joins Inside the Huddle’s Michael Spath to break down the previous game. You can listen live on Sports Talk 1050 (in Ann arbor) or WTKA.com. Here are the highlights from this week’s conversation, and you can listen to all three segments, here, here and here.
Gardner on Patterson’s overall performance:
“I think he played very well. I think they did a lot of different things, and a lot of things that he’s good at. They started the game with a pass, a simple stick route. 'Let’s get him going, let’s get him going right now.' He didn’t play terrible against Notre Dame, but he didn’t play to his expectations or Michigan’s expectations, so 'Let’s get our quarterback going right now. Let’s get him an easy completion.' And that stick that was a five-yard stick goes for 10 yards, right, and so now the confidence has already been built. He’s feeling himself a little bit. You’ve got to be able to feel yourself and feel confident and you’ve got to have a swagger about yourself. That’s what an early pass for a 10-yard completion does for you.”
On trying to establish Patterson early in the game:
“They’ve got [sophomore] Ambry Thomas in there, another athlete where you put it in his hands, and people don’t know, that little shovel pass is another completion [for five yards]. And Shea knows that. If that guy takes that 10 yards, that’s a 10-yard completion he didn’t have to work for. Those are things that the quarterback likes, 'Help pad my stats a little bit. Help me feel good so I can play well.'
"I know that Shea appreciated that. Like you said, the running game was doing so well that it’s kind of hard to do something else. Just because we know it’s an inferior opponent and we know that down the line, we’re going to need our quarterback to be very precise in every way, I kind of would’ve like to have seen even more attempts down the field just to get him in a groove.”
On getting Patterson out of the pocket:
“Look at the smaller quarterbacks, excluding Drew Brees. Even if it’s not a sprint-out, per say, they set the pocket outside the pocket just because it gives the defense a problem with a guy who can move. That’s about right for [Patterson]. That’s a great balance, so now, it’s not the same platform every time. Now the defense doesn’t know where your quarterback is every single play.
"Even a guy who isn’t very big, if you just drop him back every single time and just allow the defense to tee off and just come right to the same spot every single play, that makes it difficult on any offensive line, no matter how good they are. So, I think the six times getting outside the pocket, or sprint out, or just moving the pocket a little, is phenomenal, not only for a smaller quarterback, but for any quarterback.
On Patterson’s first-quarter completion to Oliver Martin rolling to his left:
“He did well. He did really well. And that ability, I’m glad he put that on tape because now, everybody has to be honest and now, he might be able to run with that and go get the first down. A lot of different things open up and the defense has to prepare for everything. It’s like, 'Ok, he’s not limited rolling to his left. We have to be just as good when he’s rolling to his left as we do when he’s rolling to his right.'”
On Patterson's five-yard touchdown pass to Donovan Peoples-Jones:
“Red-zone offense is something you have to have. Especially at Michigan, you’re expected to score touchdowns. He drops back, and there’s no other place for that ball to go. It’s literally one inch over the tip of the defender’s fingers. It’s an NFL touchdown. Donovan Peoples-Jones got two feet down, the turf comes up. We had one at [Wisconsin last year] where we were clearly in [but DPJ was ruled out of bounds] and maybe Peoples-Jones had that in his mind, like, 'Ok, we’re going to just make sure.' I think that was phenomenal on both ends, the quarterback and the receiver.”
On what a team can learn from a game like Saturday:
“There’s a ton of value in it. There’s value as far as confidence goes, there’s value as far as working on things you don’t think you’re as good at. A lot of people just don’t understand how difficult it is to win college football games and football games in general. Unless you’re a high school team who has five All-Americans and you’re playing against a team with no players or something like that, it’s tough to win football games and I don’t think fans exactly understand that.
"They had to prepare for this game just like any other game or it would have been a letdown. It’s easy to have a letdown when you come off an emotional game like they did last week. Even if the game would’ve been 35-25, or whatever, if it’s a close game, you should never apologize for winning because winning is so difficult at every level. They did what they were supposed to do. They played a team that was a little inferior that had a good showing the week before against Syracuse. They came out and did what they’re supposed to do, and I think they should be applauded for that.”