Michigan Football Preview 2013

2013 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 42 of 267

Plus, Hoke insists, the wideout talent keeps getting better. He's got a 5-8 receiver in fifth-year senior Jeremy Gallon that Hecklinski thinks should be first-team All-Big Ten this year. He's got 5-10 Drew Dileo, whom Hoke clearly loves. "Whatever Dileo's role is, he's going to excel at it," Hoke noted. "He is a freakin' football player. He's one of the best leaders on this team. He gets overshadowed some, and shouldn't. That's probably why I talk about him all the time, because he brings so much to our football team." Other veterans add to that group, but the wave of the future is clearly bigger and better. Darboh is 6-2, redshirt freshman Jehu Chesson 6-3, and the three incoming freshman wideouts range from 6-2 to 6-4. "Jehu and Amara — I think you saw something from each of them in the spring game," Hoke said. "They both matured pretty well. They both understand the expectations. They both had very good springs. "We've got great competition, and we've got the three young guys coming in. That will be interesting, because a couple of those guys are very hungry. You can just see it when you talk to them and when they come to practice. Competition is going to help." high school. That's where Devin was. "A.J. Williams' body has changed. He's still not as strong as he needs to be, but he will get there. His attitude is great." And Michigan's attitude about playing tight ends is once more: full steam ahead. "The wide receiver is not going to go on the line of scrimmage and block a defensive end," Borges pointed out. "He's going to catch the ball down the field and occasionally block a defensive back. A tight end can block on the line of scrimmage, block a defensive back, catch the ball down the field and pose the fastest threat to attack the middle of anyone in your front. "You get a good one, you get two or three good ones, and you have a heck of a thing going." The Wolverines haven't had a bad thing going on offense the past two years, except for some game-changing turnovers last season. They expect to take it up a notch this year, getting closer to what they've been gearing up for all along. Now, it's a matter of fully throwing the switch and lighting up a new era. ❑ Tight Ends Abound There shouldn't be any shock at seeing two and even three tight ends on the field in some situations. Whereas those spots were deemphasized in the spread offense, they're coming back in a big way. The Wolverines established a pair of freshmen in the lineup last year, in 6-5, 228-pound Devin Funchess (who led the team in touchdown catches, with five) and 6-6, 265-pound A.J. Williams. Jake Butt, a 6-6, 231-pound true freshman joined their ranks this spring, and demonstrated he can play as well. "Jake Butt coming in early — that was huge," Hoke said. "It was huge for him, and huge for us offensively. He's a guy who can do both — he can block and he also can get down the field and run routes. He becomes that matchup problem. At the same time, he can be on the line of scrimmage." Williams has trimmed from 285 to 265, and Funchess keeps getting more proficient as a blocker. That's essential, Hoke noted. "They'll be physically more at a point where they can block the line of scrimmage," he said. "When you've got a guy like Devin coming in who is athletic … he reminds me a lot of the kid from San Diego State, Gavin Escobar, who got drafted by Dallas. "When we played him early in his career, he was more of a receiving tight end. He wasn't real anxious to mix it up, and didn't know how to mix it up, wasn't asked to, in Redshirt junior quarterback Devin Gardner and true freshman tight end Jake Butt (holding ball) celebrated after a touchdown in the spring game, perhaps previewing things to come this fall. photo by lon horwedel The Wolverine 2013 Football Preview  ■ 41

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