June 3, 2013

Roundtable: Will Devin Funchess break the TD record?

Sophomore Devin Funchess caught five touchdowns among his 15 receptions in 2012. This year, he could challenge for the single-season tight end record, currently held by Eric Kattus (eight, 1985). Will he snag it? TheWolverine.com staff discusses.

Devin Gardner is Michigan's most talented all-around quarterback since (fill in the blank)?

Editor Chris Balas:

Associate Editor John Borton:

Analyst Doug Skene:

What is a fair expectation (in terms of numbers) for Devin Gardner this season?

Senior Writer Michael Spath: Over the last 20 years, Michigan's 10 full-time starting quarterbacks averaged 2,331 yards and 18 touchdown passes in their first seasons under center, and that's probably a good base. However, the game has continually evolved over the past two decades, becoming more pass-happy, and while Brady Hoke would like a strong running game, U-M will air it out plenty.

Perhaps then a peek into this staff's last stop, and its utilization of San Diego State QB Ryan Lindley, is more appropriate. As a sophomore in coordinator Al Borges' system, Lindley threw for 3,054 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2009. Those numbers are probably better benchmarks for Gardner. If he can hit them, he would become just the second 3,000-yard passer in school history while 23 scores would rank fourth all time.


Should U-M redshirt Shane Morris or will he be the backup quarterback?


How often should Devin Funchess be targeted within a game?

Spath: A year ago, Funchess was targeted 27 times in 13 games, or just barely more than twice per contest. That's not enough. Not even close. Receiver Jeremy Gallon, meanwhile, was targeted 6.1 times per game and 9.5 times in the final five games of the year.

Gallon will likely continue to get that many looks as he has a strong rapport with Gardner and is U-M's clear-cut No. 1 wide receiver. Funchess appears to be the second-most desirable option on the team at the moment, and his rare combination of speed, size and athleticism makes him a matchup nightmare for linebackers and safeties. Michigan should look Funchess' way at least five times per game and ideally that 6.1 that Gallon averaged for all of 2012.


Will Funchess break the single-season tight end record of eight touchdown receptions?


Will A.J. Williams or Jake Butt emerge the second-most productive tight end on the roster?

Spath: While Butt is a more natural receiver than Williams, and thanks to his early enrollment should have a good chance to play as a true freshmen, my money is on Williams. Borges wants to get the sophomore more involved in the passing game so that teams have to respect him as a receiver when he's on the field. And he will be on the field, a ton, way more than Butt because of his ability to be a sixth offensive lineman most downs.

With a greater presence than Butt, Williams finishes with 10-12 catches, a few more than the rookie.


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