ANN ARBOR — It’s Monday of the most important week of Michigan football’s season so far.
Though the coaches and players will tell you that “every week is the most important week of the season,” this is U-M’s first home game against a ranked opponent and its toughest opponent since Week 1.
As No. 15 Wisconsin visits Ann Arbor for a Top 25 matchup against the No. 12 Wolverines, the media room was packed for Jim Harbaugh’s weekly Monday press conference.
Here’s the best of what Michigan’s head coach had to say.
On Shea Patterrson’s ball security: “He protects the ball really well. Great decision making, accuracy and timing. He protects the ball, and has a knack of making the right escape move from the pocket. I think there’s a feel there — using basketball knowledge, he’s like a point guard.”
More: “My 7-year-old daughter, Katie, she doesn’t want to be involved in sports … even she knows the quarterback play has been good.”
On DE Rashan Gary: “Still evaluating. Haven’t practiced yet this week — so no status report update yet.”
On DT Michael DwumFour’s injury: “It’s better than it looked.”
On OT Jalen Mayfield: “He’s working through something.”
On Zach Gentry’s transition to tight end: “He’s progressing really well. He has everything you want in a tight end — being able to block, catch and create separation. He has a great catch radius and the speed and athleticism you want to see. The next thing for him to be — one of the best tight ends, kinda thing — would be his yards after catch. To get the ball and create more yards after he catches the ball. I think that’ll come.”
On DTs Aubrey Solomon & Carlo Kemp and RB Chris Evans’ health: “I know you all ask, but I don’t have my medical degree. We’ll see how it looks this week — hopeful, hopeful for the best. Hopefully we’ll know more today than yesterday and more tomorrow than today.”
On Wisconsin: “They’re really good on both sides of the ball — both lines. Very physical … very difficult.”
On Wisconsin QB Alex Hornibrook: “He’s got very good presence in the pocket. He can get hot … he’s a very experienced guy and has played in a lot of big games. Really good quarterback.”
On Wisconsin RB Johnathan Taylor: “Again, really good players have the ability to make plays, and Taylor is a great player.”
On LB Devin Bush: “I like everything about Devin Bush. What I liked most about Devin last week is how he got us lined up — Josh Metellus, too.”
On the anxiousness of the next three games: “Yeah, I think they’re really excited for this game. Having their focus be on preparation down today. We’re striving to make today the best day we’ve had.”
On who’s calling plays: “It’s a collaborative effort.”
On Chase Winovich: “Chase has been an animal. I don’t really like to use human-to-animal analogies but he’s been great. He’s a catalyst. He plays every play all-out. Bo used to have a saying, “every man on every play,” and Chase is living that.”
On becoming a grandfather this week: “When I found out Jay was having a baby, I though ‘It’s going to be good. It’s going to be neat.’ ?… But when it happens, and now you’re a grandfather, it does not get much better than that.”