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Michigan awaits an NCAA ruling on Shea Patterson's eligibility for the 2018 season.

Michigan football mailbag: How Shea Patterson can impact the Wolverines

Rachel Lenzi

Have Michigan football questions? We’ve got answers. Join us every Thursday for the Land of 10 Michigan mailbag to talk all things Wolverines. This week, we discuss how Shea Patterson can make an impact, the (still-unknown) release date for the Michigan Amazon Prime documentary and candidates to become the next left tackle.

If Shea Patterson can start right away at quarterback, what do you think the team’s ceiling is? — Brandon Shuey, via Facebook

The expectations surrounding quarterback Shea Patterson are sky-high, and there’s a general sentiment that if the NCAA deems the Ole Miss transfer eligible, he has the chance to be a game-changer for the Wolverines.

There’s no question he is productive, as evidenced by his statistics in his first two seasons with the Rebels. He threw for 23 touchdowns and more than 3,100 yards in 10 games.

The question, however, becomes: How does Michigan elevate its game to match Patterson’s level? Michigan needs a leader at quarterback, especially with the uncertainty surrounding the position entering 2018, but it also needs a certain synergy between the quarterback and the offensive line.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said Wednesday that neither he nor Michigan “have any update on the calendar” for a ruling on Patterson’s eligibility.

Will Jim Harbaugh call plays since he gave Pep Hamilton and Tim Drevno double duty? — Zo EastWood, via Facebook

Pep Hamilton is listed in Michigan’s athletic directory as assistant head coach/passing game coordinator/quarterbacks and wide receivers coach. In addition to being Michigan’s offensive coordinator, Drevno coaches the offensive line. Harbaugh has said in the past that play calling is a collaborative effort but that he has the final say.

There’s a perception right now, after examining Michigan’s offense in 2017, that there’s too many cooks in the proverbial kitchen.

In a perfect world, Hamilton would take charge of Michigan’s passing game, while Drevno would focus on Michigan’s offensive line development while overseeing the offense. Harbaugh would have the final say in play calling, but would assign that to one person. (Again, this is all hypothetical.)

Here’s another wild card: Michigan still only has nine assistant coaches, one less than the NCAA-approved 10 assistants.

Do you know when the Amazon special starts? — Justin Thibert, via Facebook

We’ve gotten no word yet on when the Amazon documentary series on the Michigan football team will debut. The eight-episode series originally was scheduled to debut in January.

Side note: When we met Wednesday with Harbaugh, there were no extra camera operators or boom microphones around us. It seems strange not to see the Amazon film crew anymore since we were so accustomed to having the Amazon cameras present.

Who starts at left tackle this year? — Dylan Gurk, via Facebook

Mason Cole’s graduation creates a big hole on Michigan’s offensive line.

Ideally, Grant Newsome would return from a leg injury sustained in 2016 and would fit into that position. If Newsome isn’t available, that’s where a player like Nicholas Petit-Frere would have helped the Wolverines. In advance of National Signing Day, CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming projected Petit-Frere as a player who could step into Michigan’s offensive line and make an immediate impact.

Despite Michigan’s best efforts to land Petit-Frere, he signed Wednesday with Ohio State. That means Michigan will have to look at its internal prospects, instead of focusing on a freshman who could contribute quickly at a complex position.

The last freshman to do that? Mason Cole.

Have a question about Michigan football? Tweet us @Landof10Mich and we’ll try to answer your question in a future mailbag. Check to see if your question already was answered by reading previous Michigan football mailbags here.