TheWolverine - Josh Gattis Confirms Shea Patterson Has Been 'Banged Up' With An Oblique
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Josh Gattis Confirms Shea Patterson Has Been 'Banged Up' With An Oblique

Most of the focus surrounding the Michigan Wolverines’ offensive play on Saturday against Army has been negative, with senior quarterback Shea Patterson’s inconsistent efforts and the inability of the offensive line to run block effectively being two of the biggest complaints.

First-year offensive coordinator Josh Gattis spoke today about his crew, and was first asked about the positives and what he liked about Saturday’s performance.

“Army was obviously a good defense, so credit to them,” he began. “They took Oklahoma to overtime last year and beat Houston 70-14 [in their bowl game].

“We need to limit mistakes on our end. When you look at the positives, we were able to run 80 plays and the time of possession battle was a three-minute difference, which is rare to see when you’re playing a triple option team.

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Michigan Wolverines football senior quarterback Shea Patterson completed 19 of his 29 passes for 207 yards on Saturday.
Michigan Wolverines football senior quarterback Shea Patterson completed 19 of his 29 passes for 207 yards on Saturday. (Per Kjeldsen)

“Our fumbles and mistakes costed us some opportunities early on, but our kids battled. We had seven explosive plays in the game and were nine-of-16 on third-down, which Army finished third in the country against last year.

“We just had too many self-inflicted wounds between the turnovers, penalties and drops that we need to clean up. Our kids battled back from adversity, even though it was things we put ourselves into — they didn’t let it rattle them.”

The offensive adversity carried over into both overtime sessions, especially the second one — U-M went three-and-out on three straight Patterson incompletions after possessing the ball first, leading to a 43-yard game-winning field goal from sophomore kicker Jake Moody.

Michigan had plays that were there to be made, however, with Patterson simply missing his targets in the passing game.

“We wanted to be aggressive,” Gattis confirmed when asked about his mindset in the extra sessions. “We had [junior wideout] Nico [Collins] wide open in the back of the end zone on that first call, but the ball was just overthrown — [redshirt junior tight end Nick] Eubanks was open on the play as well.

“We had a critical drop on the second play [by redshirt sophomore wideout Tarik Black] that would have been a first down.

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“The juices got going a little bit more in the second overtime and we wanted to ride that wave, but we unfortunately didn’t connect on the plays we had.”

Patterson’s throws were consistently off on that entire drive [and for much of the game], with FOX color analyst Joel Klatt even mentioning an oblique injury for the senior signal caller.

Gattis was asked about the ailment this afternoon, and admitted the veteran has been battling through some injuries.

“He’s been banged up a little bit the last two weeks with an oblique, something he’s struggled with since the first play against Middle Tennessee,” the offensive coordinator confirmed. “That had no effect on his decision making from that standpoint.

“Every read for a quarterback is about numbers, angles, how tight and wide defenders are, so there’s a lot of things that go into play there.

“Shea made some good decisions and obviously had some he wishes he could have had back, so we’ll continue to correct those.”

Despite all the negativity surrounding Patterson and the offense as a whole against the Black Knights, there was one player who shined in what was a breakout performance — freshman running back Zach Charbonnet.

He rushed for 100 yards and scored all three of Michigan’s touchdowns on the afternoon, and actually became the first U-M freshman running back since Mike Hart in 2004 to receive at least 33 carries AND eclipse the century mark in a game.

Charbonnet’s workhorse-like mentality caused Gattis to be asked whether or not he called the plays differently on Saturday due to the way the freshman back was playing.

“Zach has shown who he is for us,” Gattis noted. “He’s very consistent and mature. We weren’t anticipating him getting that many reps and it was probably a little too many, but we had some issues with our running backs in protections and it costed us two fumbles.

“Zach has been very stout in pass protection, and having a back who can pick up the pressures they were bringing and ID where they were coming from was a big reason he got so many of those reps.”

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