Michigan football has not gotten off to the start that many envisioned when the Wolverines entered the season as favorites in the Big Ten. Once again, most of the issues center on the offense, with quarterback Shea Patterson at the center of things.
Jim Harbaugh hired Josh Gattis away from Alabama to reshape his offense, after a few years of stagnant results. Things have not gotten off to a fast start.
40 points against Middle Tennessee and 52 against Rutgers are what they are. The team only managed to beat Army 24-21 in overtime, and then got smothered by Wisconsin in the following game, 35-14.
Last weekend, Michigan managed just 10 points and 267 total offensive yards in an ugly win over Iowa.
Even so, Jim Harbaugh believes things are getting better, saying that the offense is “hitting our stride” after the game on Saturday. It is a hard notion to defend.
Shea Patterson is staying similarly positive, though. Despite the fact that he has thrown for just 1,052 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions through five games, he wants to remind everyone that the team is 4-1, and that that is the stat that matters most.
From The Detroit News:
“Brand new system, first year,” Patterson said when asked about Harbaugh’s vote of confidence in the offense. “We believe in our coaches, we believe in each other and just taking it day by day. These first five weeks we’ve played three of the top-10 defenses, and we’re 4-1, so try to keep getting better.”
“Positivity is always lost these days,” Patterson said. “Obviously, we have high expectations and you guys do, too. All I can say is we’re trying our best and we’re working our ass off every single day and we’re going to continue to grow.”
Iowa and Wisconsin are both stout defenses, but Michigan should have the expectations of a team that can score more than twice against those teams.
All of the data is pretty ugly for Michigan’s offense. The Wolverines are 74th in FBS at just 28 points per game, and 93rd in total offense, averaging 367 yards per game. ESPN’s two advanced efficiency measures, FPI and SP+, rank the Wolverines offense at 94th and 66th, respectively.
A few months ago, this was being billed as Michigan’s best opportunity to finally beat Ohio State. That doesn’t seem to be likely, at least as of today.
Things should get a bit easier for the Michigan attack this weekend though, with a trip to Illinois. That game kicks off at noon.