Every good team needs to do several things well to succeed, and play at a high level. Every good or complete team needs to tackle well, block well, throw well, run well, and catch well.
The game of football ultimately comes down to fundamentals and execution, which is something that Michigan often lacked in 2008. We could tackle for three quarters, and then give up huge gains, and run block for a half and then appear totally helpless.
Passing and route running were also inconsistent due to inexperience. All in all, 2009 is shaping up to be better for Michigan in basically all aspects including a vertical passing game. The question is who will emerge as a deep threat? There are a handful of candidates on this year's team, and they are as follows
1) Junior Hemingway—Hemingway showed one brief but exciting flash against Utah last fall, catching a 33 yard touchdown late in the game to draw it within a score. Hemingway received a medical redshirt because he contracted mono, but at 6'1" 220 lbs. he could become a serious redzone target, and possibly a dangerous deep threat.
2) Darryl Stonum—Stonum got off to an extremely slow start as a true freshman last year, but emerged late in the year displaying the skill set that made him such a highly coveted recruit. Stonum had a 51 yard touchdown reception at Purdue, and a 33 yard catch at Ohio State in what was otherwise an abysmal passing game.
3) Martavious Odoms—He may be small, but don't underestimate his ball skills even if just a little bit. Odoms was most often used on bubble screens, but his actual strength is downfield against zone coverage. Tate was open on several intermediate and even deep routes last year but Wolverine quarterbacks failed to connect with him. His speed, quickness and route running have definitely improved this off-season so expect him to be a vertical threat.
4) Roy Roundtree—If the Spring Game this year was any indication, Roundtree is a sleeper in the making that is if you still don't know about him. He had two touchdowns catches in the scrimmage, one of which was a 50 yard grab from Tate Forcier. Roundtree is fourth on this list, but could jump higher after September 5th with his smooth route running.
5) Je'Ron Stokes—Stokes is the newcomer to the fold. A true freshman, Stokes reminds many of Mario Manningham, and if he can provide that type of impact the Wolverines receiving corps could be very strong. Whoever is throwing the ball his way is going to have a serious vertical option.
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