Michigan Football Preview 2013

2013 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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wr Wolverines immediately went from a run-first, throw-later outfit to a "He's tough," Hecklinski said. "I don't think anybody would disteam combining a big-time throwing game with the hoped-for ability agree with that, when you watch him play. He's tough mentally, being to crush foes on the ground. able to push through. In the bowl game, he had a hurt knee. He said, That changes the wide receivers' duties in very significant ways, 'No, I'm not sitting out. This is important, and I'm going to play.' Hecklinski explained. Yes, he expects them to deliver devastating "He's comfortable, which is important in this game. Now he's got blocks when called upon. to continue to push to become what he can become, what his skills They won't be looking to spring the QB, though. Job one will inwill allow him to become." volve springing into the spots Gardner knows they're headed, ready The coach urges the senior to consider those against whom he's to take perfectly timed passes into the red zone and beyond. measuring himself. That should provide an extra push to not just be "It's going to change, and it's going to give us more responsibility the best receiver on this Michigan team. in the pass game. We have to sure we are running the right routes, "If he's not the best, he's one of the best that I've ever coached and making the adjustments, being where we need to be when Devin's that I've seen," Hecklinski said. "He's got expectations to live up to ready to throw the ball," Hecklinski said. here. Being the best here means you are the next one in line in the "It's going to increase exponentially, in terms of what we're going succession of great receivers that have been here. Those are the guys to be asked to do now. that win games. "Before, we spent a lot of time on "Those are the guys that, when it comes Quick Facts schemes, who we have to get to, who we down to the last possession, have come Position Coach: Jeff Hecklinski (third season). have to take out in order to protect Denard. through and won those games. You think Returning Starters: Jeremy Gallon (13 career starts), Drew Dileo (4) and Joe Reynolds (1). Now, that responsibility is going to shift of how many games Michigan has played Departing Starter: Roy Roundtree. from that aspect of the game plan to the in that have been that way, that a wideout Projected New Starter: Amara Darboh. pass part, and the route-running, the precihas gone and made that play. He's got to Top Reserves: Jehu Chesson and Jeremy Jackson. sion of route-running and things like that." be that guy." Newcomers: Da'Mario Jones, Jaron Dukes and Csont'e York. Hecklinski gives Robinson his due and Another senior, Drew Dileo (5-10, 177), Moved In: None. then some as a truly unique athlete at the is a guy who brings a smile to head coach Moved Out: None. Rookie Impact: Jones. University of Michigan. The coach quickly Brady Hoke's face, for many reasons. The Most Improved Player: Jackson. adds, though, Robinson's skill set involved bottom line on Dileo involves his do-it-all Best Pro Prospect: Gallon. his legs more than his arm. ability without a hint of selfishness. FYI: Dileo is Michigan's only performer on the roster hailing "There were times we saw him as a Dileo made 20 catches a year ago, covfrom the state of Louisiana … Dileo serves as Michigan's holder passer, and you were like, 'Wow, this is ering 331 yards. His biggest grab of the on field goals, and has performed a number of fakes from that going to start to take off,'" Hecklinski said. season set up Michigan's game-winning position … Jackson is the son of long-time Michigan running "Then it ultimately came back to what his field goal in the home victory over Michibacks coach Fred Jackson … Darboh came to the United States when he was 7 years old, sent away to escape the violence in strengths were. We all have strengths and gan State. the African Republic of Sierra Leone which claimed his parents weaknesses. "He does everything that nobody else when he was only 2 … Michigan lost its fourth-leading wide "Devin's strengths are to see things in the wants to do," Hecklinski said. "That's the receiver of a year ago when redshirt junior Devin Gardner repro set and the pro style and his ability to simplest way to put it. He'll catch the thirdturned to quarterback, following a season in which he caught throw the football, which is more of what and-eight route between two linebackers, 16 passes for 266 yards … U-M wide receivers caught 13 of we're used to. when he knows he's going to get hit hard. the 20 Michigan touchdowns through the air last year … The Wolverines have gone two straight seasons without a "We're accustomed to those types of "He plays tough. He's not afraid to let wide receiver as the sole leader in touchdown catches, Junior throws — seeing the window before it's you know about it. He's come in my room Hemingway tying tight end Kevin Koger in 2011 (four) and there, and entering the window at the right and shut the door a few times, which you tight end Devin Funchess securing a team-leading five last angle at the right time, so we're there when like. He'll say, 'Coach, I've got to talk to year … Michigan has not featured a first-team All-Big Ten wide the ball is there." you,' and he's got that look. He brings the receiver since Mario Manningham in 2007. And that dynamic will fuel the excitemental edge to everything we do inside. ment of the toughest of receivers, including one on Michigan's own That's what you love about him. roster. "And, how many major third-down catches has he made? He Fifth-year senior Jeremy Gallon has proven over and over again doesn't complain. He knows he's going to get the ball three, four, five that he'll take on anybody. In addition to his team-leading 49 catches times a game. He knows he could have three catches for 15 yards, for 829 yards in 2012, Gallon dealt out plenty of black and blue for and those 15 yards will be three major third downs that we convert the Maize and Blue. to keep drives going. That's Drew. That's what you love about him. He wasn't afraid to block anybody with emphasis, but his onIt's about the team." field production in the receiving game really took off when Gardner Yet another senior, Jeremy Jackson (6-3, 206), secured four catches stepped to the fore. Close friends with Gardner, Gallon proved a for 31 yards a year ago. He made some plays in the spring game, and favorite target who should remain so in the fall. Hecklinski cautioned that could be a preview of coming fall attracHecklinski didn't hesitate in sending some substantial expectations tions. Gallon's way. "He probably had the best spring out of anybody, and that's saying "He should be a first-team All-Big Ten player," Hecklinski said. a lot, because I thought we had a pretty good spring across the board," "He should push to be one of the best in the league. He's got one Hecklinski said. of the most explosive sets of hands and route-running ability in the "I can't think of one guy that had a bad spring, or was disappointed. league. If he's not, then I've done a bad job of coaching. That's the So to say Jeremy had the best spring out of anybody is like saying he way I look at it." was at the top of the mountain and climbed a little bit higher. Hecklinski looks at everything, and he sees Gallon as someone "He did really, really well. He started catching the ball with his who grew to a stature in Michigan football beyond his listed 5-8, hands. You saw it in the spring game — he had three or four catches. 187. There's no question he's reached another level, the assistant His route running is improving. His speed is improving. He's healthy. coach noted. He's strong. He's confident. He feels good." The Wolverine 2013 Football Preview  ■ 101

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