ANN ARBOR — He hasn’t been named the starter yet, but Shea Patterson continues to collect compliments from members of the Michigan coaching staff.
On Wednesday, it was Don Brown and Jay Harbaugh’s turn to gush about the Toledo-born quarterback.
“He came in and taught coverage today with the boss,” Brown said. “He’s just a great kid. I’m excited to see him play against other people.”
That day won’t come until Sept. 1 at the earliest when Michigan opens the season at Notre Dame. Patterson, a transfer from Ole Miss, is locked in a battle with Brandon Peters, Dylan McCaffrey, and Joe Milton for the starting quarterback job.
WATCH: Don Brown on Shea Patterson
Two weeks ago at Big Ten media days, Jim Harbaugh was mum on the competition. He espoused his usual line about depth chart placement being a meritocracy. Harbaugh did say he believes the position is much better off this season than last, when UM threw just nine touchdown passes as a team. Teammates, when asked about Patterson, were not shy in their praise.
And after five days of fall camp, Brown, perhaps the finest defensive coordinator in the country, has seen Patterson make positive decisions against one of the country’s highest-regarded units.
“He’s a veteran guy. He’s a confident guy,” Brown said. “He has the ability to do things with his legs. He’s got a quick release. ... This guy has played. He’s played a lot. He’s been in the soup at high levels. I think that gives him general respect. But the way he goes about doing it, he’s certainly earned my respect.”
Patterson was granted a waiver by the NCAA in April, making him eligible immediately. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound junior started 10 games over two seasons at Ole Miss, throwing for 3,139 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions.
Patterson completed 64 percent of his passes last season before an October knee injury sidelined him for the rest of the year. He had 2,259 yards passing, 17 touchdowns, and nine interceptions.
“You could tell he put in the work in May, June, July,” running backs coach Jay Harbaugh said. “He definitely has improved his command of things.”
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