MMQB: Devin Gardner Sees Shea Patterson Taking Smart Risks

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 defense allows quarterback Shea Patterson to take more risks, Devin Gardner shared on WTKA Monday. You can hear all four segments here, here, here and here.

Devin Gardner on criticism of Shea Patterson and the offensive line:

He wasn’t perfect, so that wasn’t good enough apparently. And the fact that he’s 75 or 70 percent [completion percentage] and we continue to harp on the offensive line too, is kind of ridiculous because you don’t throw for 70, 75 percent every game and average that on the season with a terrible offensive line. Trust me, I’m fully aware.”

Devin Gardner on Shea Patterson’s playmaking ability:

“When plays need to be made, he seems to have a knack for making those plays. It’s looking like the Browns and Baker Mayfield, how the team’s just loving it and he’s making plays when they need to me made. He makes mistakes, but he continues to improve and play well, and I think that’s a little bit of what we’ve got going here with a guy who’s very enthusiastic. He doesn’t wear his emotions on his sleeves quite like some other quarterbacks or like Baker Mayfield may, but you can see that the team believes in him and that he has a lot of courage. This is the second week where, if that ball’s a little bit off to Ronnie Bell, that’s a pick-six. Instead, it’s caught, those two defenders tackle each other, and now we’ve got a freshman running into the end zone getting a chance to feel how it feels to score a touchdown in the Big House once again."

Devin Gardner on the improvements he’s seen since the Notre Dame game:

“[Patterson]’s getting more comfortable and he’s making his weapons so much better. Again, he put the trust he has in Zach Gentry on display. It just seems like everybody is coming together, getting better together, because of his play and because of the offensive line getting better, and the running backs running well, and the receivers making plays when plays need to be made. It’s amazing to watch the tape of Notre Dame and then a tape of this most recent game and just look at how much more comfortable everyone feels together and that’s what you need to be a good football team. Guys have to be comfortable with each other and able to succeed together and believe that ok, you’re going to do your job so I’m able to do my job, and that guy has to believe that he’s going to do his job. It’s such a trickle-down effect and I think that this is contagious, and it’s continued to galvanize the team.”

Devin Gardner on quarterbacks turning away from the line of scrimmage while scrambling:

“I was pretty safe about it. Either I can get out of bounds or throw it away, or I can make the throw but the defense just doesn’t expect it and [Patterson]’s really quick with it. He’s smaller, so you kind of can’t see him and the defense doesn’t know where he’s going. He’s back there, he’s real low making his moves. It’s a feel mostly, it’s just a feel for it.”

Devin Gardner on Shea Patterson’s touchdown pass to Ronnie Bell:

“That’s definitely a ‘no, no, no, no, no, oh, yes? Great job!’ That’s football, right? It was the same thing last week against Northwestern when the game’s on the game’s on the line. I think that he’s had courage and has courage in his convictions when he makes a throw, so if you throw that ball and don’t have courage and conviction that you’re gonna complete that ball, it’s gonna be a little slower, it’s not gonna be quite on target and that’s gonna be intercepted. But he’s throwing the ball with conviction and that’s amazing to watch because it’s getting in some tight windows and it’s getting a little scary and of course, I’m like, ‘please don’t throw it, please, don’t do it’, but it worked and it’s continuing to work. It seems dangerous but it’s still safe. He’s a careful risk taker.”

Devin Gardner on the importance of Michigan’s defense to the offense’s improvement:

“[Patterson]’s a careful risk taker, and he’s allowed to do that because our defense is so good. He can build courage with his receivers that they believe that, ok, if it’s kind of close and I’m going to be able to make a play for it, you’re going to give me a chance. [Patterson] has courage that, ok, if I give you a chance, you’re going to repay me on what I allowed you to do and stuff. This whole team and the offense’s improvement is all because we have such a great defense. I think that’s gonna help us so much because there’s gonna be a point where an offense is gonna kinda figure our defense out and then our offense is going to be able to show up because of how good our defense has been, and how many chances they’ve given them to get reps and opportunities, and obviously with playing them in practice. At the end of the season when we’re doing well, and I expect us to continue to win, I think that we can all point back to [the defense]. No matter what our defense is doing, if they’re not playing well, I mean, whatever. If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be in a position as an offense to score points, 40 points, 50 points, whatever we need to do. I think they should be applauded no matter how the rest of the season plays out.”

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