Ann Arbor – Michigan sophomore receiver Eddie McDoom likes what he sees from the Wolverines’ first-year pass-game coordinator, Pep Hamilton, and believes his offense will showcase the young but explosive receivers.
McDoom, who patiently signed T-shirts and took photos with a number of kids stretched across the field after Michigan's youth camp Saturday, said Hamilton’s offense will stretch defenses this fall. He envisions an offense heavy on big plays from the pass game.
“I think it’s building,” McDoom said Saturday. “Now with Pep here, the offense is quicker. I see a lot more explosive plays. I see a lot of places where guys really will shine and blow up the scoreboard. As of right now, all I see is us growing and getting better. It’s going to be better.”
Michigan ranked 85th in the nation last season in passing offense at 212 yards per game, and 58th in total offense at 424.9 yards.
The offense will be faster, McDoom said, because Hamilton is focused on the details.
“It’s small things he says and critiquing of skills, like when you get the ball, instead of getting it and going down, he wants us to get it and score,” McDoom said. “He wants us to make big plays. He doesn’t want us to be that conservative guy. He wants to be that playmaker that he counts on in big-time games.
“That speaks to me a lot. I’m trying to up my game to his expectations and try to get on his good side so I can be on the field and show him what I can do.”
Hamilton has made the players more accountable, which McDoom appreciates.
“Even though he’s new, what I see of Pep is a hard-working committed man,” he said. “He doesn’t play any games. He’s down to business. He wants to see you work. He doesn’t want to see you make excuses for this and that. He wants to see it on the field. Big players make big plays, and that’s who he wants on the field, and I respect that a lot. Everyone in the receiving corps should. We should respect the fact he didn’t come here to play around. He came here to win games.”
McDoom, fully recovered from a left ankle injury suffered during the spring game in mid-April, has been working on building strength to make himself more of a big-play threat.
“I felt like I was too weak (last season),” he said. “I was getting pushed around a few times. Well, a bunch of times. But now I feel like I’m standing my ground and I’m really up there with the guys.”
Strength coach Kevin Tolbert calls Wednesdays “Improvement Day.” The players decide the area where they need extra work, like flexibility, so many are doing yoga. McDoom has added a “few pounds,” he said, but all muscle.
“I feel a lot stronger,” McDoom said. “Weight room this summer has been going really good. My conditioning is up to par. I have no setbacks and I’m really getting into the playbook. Every little piece that I need to better my game, it’s getting there.”
McDoom, he of jet sweep fame last fall, had 59 yards on five catches, and 160 yards on 16 carries. When he touched the ball, fans in Michigan Stadium responded with “dooooooooom” because of the possibility that something electrifying just might happen.
He was fast last season and thinks that with his focus on strengthening his lower body, he will be faster this fall and play a bigger role in the offense. McDoom has been working on his running technique.
“You can always improve (those aspects),” he said. “You can get stronger, more explosive, work on your quick-twitch, your knee drive. I feel like I am (faster). We run the 40 soon so I’ll figure out how fast I am. From there I’ll build on that.”
While McDoom is among the fastest players on the team, he also said early-enrollee freshman receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones is “super fast,” and said fellow sophomore receiver Kekoa Crawford and cornerback David Long “can fly.”
With receivers Jehu Chesson and Amara Darboh and tight end Jake Butt gone, Michigan’s young receivers will have an opportunity to be those big-play players Hamilton wants to see.
“I know our receiver class is great,” McDoom said. “We’ve got a bunch of young talent coming in. We’re all young, fresh, fast guys. When they see touchdowns being scored … We let our actions talk instead of words. That’s how it’s going to go.”
Even though he’s just entering his sophomore season, McDoom said he has tried to help some of the new receivers like Peoples-Jones and Tarik Black and offered direction and advice.
“They’re new, they’re nervous. I’m here to guide them,” he said. “I’m here, I’m guiding them, helping them with the playbook, giving them tips on what to expect, what not to do, what to do, how to act, how you should carry yourself, and the guys are really learning. They’re smart, they know what they need to do. They’re getting their work done.”
McDoom has stressed to them the importance of studying the playbook and understanding why plays are run a certain way. It is not just about running a certain route, but why and when to use that route. He said he understands those concepts better now and is picking up the nuances of the offense much faster.
“I feel like I’m way better than I was last year,” he said. “My route running, my strength, my speed, my mindset on the game, I think all of that is way better than last year. Especially with the game experience and the big-game environment. Last year I could have done better. I could have really been down in the playbook and really try to dig in and really get in. But this year, now that I see what I can do, what I can improve on, I feel like I’m going to show coaches I can get it done.”