Let The Joe Milton Era Begin
As we reported a little over a week ago, redshirt sophomore Joe Milton has won the starting quarterback job for Michigan. That might result in redshirt junior Dylan McCaffrey heading elsewhere, but that tends to happen in todays' world of college football.
The Michigan fanbase has been a bit divided when it comes to Milton and McCaffrey, but that's reportedly not been the case for offensive coordinator Josh Gattis. The second-year play caller for the Wolverines has hitched himself to Milton and has all the confidence in the world in the 6-5, 245-pounder.
We now know that Michigan will play a nine-game schedule, but we don't know who the opponents will be just yet. Regardless, we can take a look at what Milton should do with nine starts in his future.
I've always been on the Milton train. I wrote this about him back in April and still think he gives the offense the best chance to be special.
With Milton, I think he makes for a higher offensive ceiling. He could be a lot of fun to watch.
At his size, and with reported 4.67 speed, he's a true threat running the ball. He also has, arguably, the strongest arm in the country. I know he hasn't played much, but that's not hyperbole. The dude can legitimately chuck the ball 80-plus yards in the air. I've watched him wing it 65 yards during pregame warm ups without a crow hop. He has a cannon.
If you put those two traits together in one quarterback, you could have something special. Of course, there's a lot more to playing quarterback than throwing the ball far and hard and running fast. It's about decision making, reading a defense, staying calm, bonding with skill players and linemen and leading a team in crunch time. Can Milton do those things? We just don't know.
As for what we actually know, there's not much. Milton has only thrown the ball 11 times during his two years at Michigan with six completions for 117 yards and a touchdown against two interceptions. He also has two rushing touchdowns.
He's got limited experience but if he enters camp as the guy, he's going to be extremely confident and working towards a goal that simply hasn't been there for him before. With nine games to play, Milton could still put up pretty solid numbers. I think a baseline for Milton should be 250 yards per game with a 2:1 touchdown to interception ration. That would result in 2,250 yards, 18 touchdowns and nine picks. Sprinkle in some nice runs and three or four more scores on the ground and you'd have to be happy with that production.
Does Milton have the talent to exceed those numbers? Without question. It's going to be about preparation, execution and taking care of the ball. If he can do those things, he could be special under Gattis in 2020. Many around Schembechler Hall thought Milton could be a program changer when he signed and we're finally going to find out if they were right.