ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- If Devin Funchess was hoping to ease his transition from tight end to wide receiver, first year offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier brings an offense that can do just that.
Shifting a great deal of responsibility over to the quarterbacks at the line of scrimmage, Funchess says the mental aspect for the wide outs has a high degree of simplification.
“As a receiver you kind of get the concepts and then have to figure out the key words in the whole play,” Funchess said. “And then you just go from there.”
“The quarterback really gives us the hot,” he added. “So we just pay attention to him, get the signal, and then go from there.”
With four scholarship quarterbacks now on Michigan’s depth chart, Funchess believes the entire group is doing a nice job with the freedom to check and get the offense in the right position at the line of scrimmage.
“We’ve been really doing it since spring ball,” Funchess said. “Just getting used to it and now that they’re so comfortable with it it’s like second nature to them and they just make sure they ID the mike and then go from there.”
For Funchess and the wide receivers, Nussmeier has brought plenty of nuances to the position as well.
“He has a lot more route combinations that he put in that’s different than what we’ve ever seen,” Funchess said.
“He brought in different terminology from Alabama,” he added.
Second in receiving yards a season ago after catching 49 balls for 748 yards to go with six touchdowns, Funchess appears to be the No. 1 option out wide for Michigan in 2014.
Losing three seniors to graduation, Funchess says the responsibility isn’t all on him to produce.
“It’s different,” Funchess said. “Gallon was really just, him and Dileo, and then you have another threat with this year’s team and me and the group of great other receivers that are out there with me. We can all make a different impact on the field this year.”
“I don’t even know if I’m number one to be real with you,” Funchess added. “But all the guys in the receiving core, including tight ends as well, they come in to compete every day.
“With the young guys and (Amara) Darboh coming back, the competition level has spiked up and everybody is just trying to fight for that spot on the field.”
Easily the most experienced player at wide receiver, Funchess is also stepping into a leadership role for Michigan.
Now away from the tight ends, Funchess says he’s able to have his personality on full display as well.
“It’s different with the wide outs,” Funchess said. “I can joke more cause they get it. I’m not with the big tight ends; I couldn’t crack jokes on them like I wanted to cause I might’ve offended them.
“But now I can just crack jokes all the time with my group of receivers.”