Michigan Wolverines: Rebuilding the Offense -- Wide Receivers

GBMWolverine Coach's Corner2Posted ay 4:00pm — 7/5/2014

Michigan Wolverines: Rebuilding the Offense — Wide Receivers

The Wide Receivers

Most, if not all, contributors on GBMWolverine consider Coach Jeff Hecklinski a very capable coach who gets quite a bit out of his position group. In each of the last two years, hand wringers put a post mortem on this group even before the first game. No talent was the observation and no production was the prediction. The wide receiver group that Coaches Hecklinski and Nussmeirer will work with this year possesses more talent but far less experience than in past years.

Oct 12, 2013; University Park, PA, USA; Michigan Wolverines wide receiver Jehu Chesson (86) during the third quarter against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Michigan 43-40 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O

There will be much more of an emphasis placed on a receiver getting off the jam and blocking downfield. To do this widouts need to be strong and athletic; a little bit of tenacity does not hurt either. It will be mandatory that the receivers block much better than the last two years. The good downfield block that turns a defender outwards or backwards can create the big running play. Except for quarterback runs, Michigan has executed precious few big running plays in recent times. One reason is mediocre downfield blocking.

The youthful ability of Drake Harris, Freddy Canteen, and Maurice Ways will be incorporated into the lineup as needed or earned.

A group of sophomores and redshirt sophomores that collectively have minimal experience may be depended on until the freshmen get sufficiently immersed within the offense. Or this group can shine and make competition for playing time at wide receiver tough for the youngsters. Players like Da’Mario Jones, Amara Darboh, and Jehu Chesson need to step it up and learn the offense ASAP. The group of sophomores cannot afford to emerge with just one good receiver. Michigan needs many good receivers for the purpose of expanding the offense through increased packages and fresh route runners.

Behind this group are two or three others that realistically could emerge with playing time.

Nov 30, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines tight end Devin Funchess (87) hurdles Ohio State Buckeyes cornerback Doran Grant (12) in the second quarter at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

There are two veteran wideouts that should occupy a defense. Devin Funchess is a true high-level talent. He has shown a lack of consistency through numerous drops. That is usually attributed to focus, but sometimes things just happen. If you ever get a chance to watch UM receivers work out as a group, hand position and focus are emphasized.

Funchess will be the go-to type of guy. But he has some limitations. Devin is not a blazer, sometimes he gets lazy on his blocks, and the aforementioned drops. But he has size, runs at least decent routes, and when motivated is a match-up problem for the typical defense. The two Devin’s can make the Michigan offense much improved by simply improving and eliminating past deficiencies.

The other veteran is the often moved but maybe, finally, settled in slot man, Dennis Norfleet. There is no way of telling how Dennis will fit into this new scheme. He will probably end up running plenty of outs, drags, swings to the boundary, and shoot deep to open up other out patterns. Dennis, like Devin Gardner, has hung in and hopefully he is rewarded with two successful years of football.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Doc4Blu

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Tags: Amara Darboh Coach Doug Nussmeier Coach Jeff Hecklinski Da'Mario Jones Dennis Norfleet Devin Funchess Drake Harris Football Freddy Canteen Jehu Chesson Maurice Ways Michigan Football Michigan Wolverines

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