OXFORD, Miss. – Shea Patterson is obviously a quick learner.
Offensive coordinator Phil Longo pitched a brand new offense to Patterson and the offense, and the sophomore quarterback picked it up almost immediately. Patterson and his teammates had a 14-day span to learn and get comfortable with Longo’s playbook.
Patterson, who played in the team’s last three games of the 2016 season, didn’t miss a beat with Longo’s system.
“I’m very comfortable,” Patterson said about the new offense.
“I believed, right when Coach Longo got here, in his system because of the success he had, so we all have kind of bought in. I’m 100 percent comfortable in him and his system.”
Ole Miss quarterback Shea Patterson
In Saturday’s Grove Bowl, Patterson showed just how comfortable he was learning a new system under a new coordinator. His timing was on point and he quickly found his receivers on a lot of slant routes as well as deep passes. His poise inside and out of the pocket was sharp throughout the game, as no defensive player could get to Patterson in time for a pass deflection or sack.
Patterson and receivers on the same page
Throughout this year’s Grove Bowl, Patterson’s receivers were on the same page with him, most notably A.J. Brown, Van Jefferson and D.K. Metcalf. Each receiver had a touchdown, while Brown and Jefferson eclipsed the 100-yard receiving mark with 133 and 126 yards, respectively, on a combined 11 catches. Metcalf had four catches for 98 yards.
Brown and Metcalf came in with Patterson as part of the 2016 recruiting class. After the game, Patterson praised his receivers, saying “the sky is the limit for those two. They will be as good as they want to be.”
Patterson completed 21 of 30 passes for 341 yards and two scores, and feels his job as the team’s leader on offense is a lot easier with the talented receivers around him. Plus, the chemistry is improving each and every day.
“The timing and chemistry is awesome this year. Last year during spring, I was sharing second-team reps and going with the scout team. Now, every day, we’re going with the ones and I’m getting the timing down with the receivers, and they are used to my release. So, now, I think it’s a lot better than last year.”
Ole Miss QB Shea Patterson
Longo was pleased with how Patterson played during spring, but admitted people have yet to see the entire offense. He thinks the offense will be a lot faster before the start of the 2017-18 season with the help of summer workouts amongst the players and fall camp when coaches will have the entire team on the practice field at once.
“Now, we have the entire summer, which is great work for us. We get to slow it down. We get to teach a lot of the finer points in our meetings. They get to work with each other and do their own thing. I’m sure they are going to be out there throwing.”
Offensive coordinator Phil Longo
“All of those things will pay dividends in August because we will kind of be past the football one-on-one stuff in the fall,” Longo added.
(Feature image credit: Mario Parham, The Rebel Walk)