Michigan Football Tidbits: Position Group — Wide Receiver’s

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Overview: For several reasons, the wide receivers had the hardest time adjusting in 2008.

1) Most were recruited to play in a pro-style offense.
2) New, completely different, blocking schemes.
3) Lack of actual passes thrown to split ends in practices and games.
4) Quarterbacks’ lack of ability to get them the ball.
5) Increased usage of slot receivers.

Because of all this, no Michigan position group had so many bodies and yet so many questions.

Player breakdown:

Mathews: It is fair to say the 2008 season was nothing short of a disaster for Mathews. Not only did he have a tough time getting involved in the games, but earlier in the year, he also was one of the players who struggled with the new strength and conditioning program.

There were numerous rumors of a possible transfer, but in the end, going into the 2009 season, his age and Michigan’s lack of any experience at split end raises Mathews’ value a great deal.

Most of the problems in 2008 seem to have been forgotten. In fact, Mathews was instrumental in recruiting some of the Florida kids to Michigan. ErocWolverine did an interview with Mathew’s former coach, M. Jones, who stated to GBW how much Mathews loves Michigan. Mathews is now working hard to get ready for what everyone says will be an offense with a new and improved passing game next season. We think it’s safe to say that Mathews will be a starter at split end.

Stonum: Based on his performance in practices this past year, it’s hard to believe, but Stonum is our most talented receiver. 2008 was not a good year for him because most of his problems were due to his lack of running proper routes, giving up on routes, not hustling when he was not involved in the play, and dropping the ball when he was.

His main problem was simply maturity. He was a freshman, and most of the time, acted like one. He is now a sophomore, and as far as talent goes, there’s no reason why he can’t be a starter in 2009. His workouts are going fine (Note: The way Barwis runs workouts, it is hard not to do well), so we will see how he fares this spring.

Hemingway: He will push Stonum and Mathews, but injuries and his lack of development has held him back. When Hemingway has been able to play, he has shown flashes of being a productive receiver. He is hoping, for once, to be able to go full blast in spring. They are taking it easy with him, so far, in the off-season, but barring any more setbacks, come spring practice, he should be ready to compete at 100%.

Clemons: Where does Clemons play in 2009? You would think split end, competing with the players listed above, but Clemons played a ton of slot last spring a year and was one of the better players, though mainly because they did not have any slots at practice.

We really thought Clemons was a candidate for transfer, but he really likes Michigan, so we’ll see how he does in spring. A year ago, Clemons was the second best player on the offense after Minor, but saw very limited action. We hope he gets a chance this year. He has a great attitude and deserves to see some success.

5) Roundtree: He is still very thin, yet an extremely tough kid for his size. Of all the split end’s, he might have both the best hands and the best ability to catch the ball, in traffic or over the middle.

He has decent, but not game-breaking, speed. But in his favor, he seems to be one of those kids who always runs the right route and catches the ball. He will definitely be in the mix.

Savoy: We all know what a good, reliable player Savoy is. He’ll be ready, willing, and able should any of the players listed above get injured or do perform under-par.

Rogers: Along with Sonum, probably the fastest of the wide receivers. He has a great work ethic and is our best deep threat. He always sticks around when quarterbacks want to get in some extra work. Last year was really his first year at wide receiver, so expect to see a big improvement in his play. He could end up being a factor, but will start down on the depth chart.

>>>> (Tomorrow the slot receiver’s along with some tidbits on offensive changes possible.)

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Written by MaizeMan, CoachBt and ErocWolverine