Thursday, January 3, 2013

Michigan vs. South Carolina Awards

Jeremy Gallon had 2 touchdown receptions, including this leaping grab
(image via MLive)
Since the season is over, this is going to be a look toward next year.  Seniors are excluded from being named for the "Let's see more/less" awards.

Let's see more of this guy on offense . . . Devin Funchess.  For whatever reason(s), Michigan seemed to target freshman tight end Devin Funchess less as the year went along.  Other than a middle screen early in the game, the plays and the quarterback didn't seem to be targeting Funchess.  At 6'5", likely to be 240-ish next year, and with some speed, the coaches need to concentrate on finding ways to get him the ball.  I believe this will happen naturally because wide receiver Roy Roundtree will have graduated and the offense won't center around Denard Robinson.

Let's see less of this guy on offense . . . Justice Hayes.  Hayes does not appear to have a future role as a feature back.  He might be able to catch screen passes and do some things in the passing game a la Vincent Smith, but he's just average in all categories - size, strength, speed, elusiveness, etc.  I don't really think he fits in with what Michigan wants to do.

Let's see more of this guy on defense . . . James Ross.  It's tough for freshman linebackers to play big-time college football, and Michigan has two pretty good ones in Ross and Joe Bolden.  Ross had a nice blitz late in the game and has generally played well, although his pass drops could use some work.  Ideally, he would have been redshirting this season to hone those drops, but he looks to have a bright future.  My guess is that he'll take over the weakside linebacker position next season, allowing Desmond Morgan to play middle linebacker.

Let's see less of this guy on defense . . . Courtney Avery.  I had high hopes for Avery after the 2011 season, and he has been solid as a slot corner.  The problem is that he's a primary backup on the outside, too, and he really struggled against Alabama and South Carolina when he was asked to fill in for Blake Countess and J.T. Floyd, respectively.  I still want to see him on the field playing the slot, but Michigan has to get Countess healthy and develop a better option behind the starters on the outside.

Play of the game . . . Drew Dileo's fake field goal scramble.  Michigan's staff got creative by shifting from a field goal formation to an empty backfield with holder Dileo playing quarterback.  A high school baseball star, Dileo can throw the ball a little bit.  When he didn't see anyone open, he decided to scramble, made a guy miss in the open field, and gained 7 yards to convert the first down.  The kid has reliable hands, can return kicks, and is a versatile threat as a holder.  He won't ever be a star, but he's a fun guy to have on the football team.

MVP of the game . . . Jeremy Gallon.  Gallon did drop a slightly inaccurate pass, but he ended the game with 9 catches, 145 yards, and 2 touchdowns, along with an 11-yard return on the final kickoff.  Brady Hoke noted that he was playing hurt, and I thought I saw him a little bit gimpy with what appeared to be a hamstring issue.  Overall, he had a very good performance and should be the centerpiece of the receiving corps in 2013.


  1. I think Funchess wasn't targeted because he wasn't open. Teams figured out he was a one-dimensional player who you had to respect in the pass game but not as a blocker. Basically, he was a tall slow WR, who lined up at the TE position. Put a CB or Safety on him and he's covered. Not till he is a respectable blocker will defenses be forced to cover him with LBs who are looking out for the run.

    I'd rather Hayes got the ball than Rawls...or better yet - neither.

    I'm glad that Bolden and Ross didn't red-shirt. The experience they gained will make them much better players in 2013. Agree that Ross looks like a real player.

    Regarding Avery: it's fair to say that Alabama and SC happen to have some of the most talented receivers that Michigan faced this year. He's a quality player, but he doesn't have the talent to defend elite receivers.

    Agree with you about Dileo - fun player who seems to make good decisions. Wouldn't mind seeing him used a little more on trick plays. Wouldn't mind seeing him used less on kick-offs though - he just doesn't have the speed to be a threat in that role.

    Gallon's a stud who has been undervalued by the fanbase due to his size for too long. He can be (and has been) a quality starting receiver -- on the OUTSIDE, not the SLOT - as many seem to want to pigeonhole him into because of his height.

  2. Always enjoy reading these after the games. Wish it was less time till the next one.