Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh said a lot of interesting things Friday, but the most interesting may have been on Shea Patterson and Dylan McCaffrey.
You never know what you are going to hear when Michigan football head coach Jim Harbaugh speaks and Friday, he surprised some people with his comment that both Shea Patterson and Dylan McCaffrey could play at the same time in 2019.
Harbaugh made the comment during his breakout interview at the Big Ten Media Days Friday in Chicago. He was asked about the position and he said he expected both Patterson and McCaffrey to play in every game this season.
Then, he went even further and said it was possible that both players would be on the field at the same time. He also indicated his program was looking to change with it means to be a starting quarterback.
Harbaugh: “Yes, I do [see Patterson and McCaffrey playing together]. We may re-define what a starter means — we want to get both of them on the field, either together or at different times. The way it stands now, that could happen in every game.”
— TheWolverine.com (@TheWolverineMag) July 19, 2019
While there has been plenty of talk about whether McCaffrey could push for the starting job after a few impressive performances off the bench last season, the idea that the two could play alongside each other is one that hadn’t previously been mentioned as a possibility.
Yet, with McCaffrey’s athletic ability, a lot of things are possible. He only carried the ball 10 times last season, but he gained 99 yards and a touchdown. He also completed 8-of-15 passes for 126 yards and two scores.
McCaffrey will be a redshirt sophomore this season and after sitting out in 2018, he suffered a broken collarbone against Penn State, which left Joe Milton and Brandon Peters as the backups for the rest of 2018.
However, the former four-star recruit seems fully healthy and made some strides during the spring. Many believe he is the future at quarterback and getting him more snaps might be one way of prepping him for that.
It’s also a way to mix things up for an offense in need of more big plays. Whether he plays quarterback or not, if Josh Gattis and Harbaugh feel he is one of the team’s best athletes, he should be utilized.
Patterson is no slouch athletically and scored two rushing touchdowns while rushing for nearly 300 yards last season. He also averaged more than seven yards per attempt on plays that didn’t end in sacks.
With their ability to run and throw, you can see some wrinkles. It’s possible that McCaffrey could even see a few snaps at receiver or as a runner in certain formations. I doubt we see Patterson used as anything but a quarterback, but you never know.
Either way, this is just another sign that Michigan football will be a different on offense in 2019 and that’s a good thing.