Deep Throws: A Focus For U-M Moving Forward

Connecting on big passing plays is a focus for Michigan moving forward this season.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- A deep ball completion between quarterback and receiver is all about timing.

On Thursday, Michigan quarterback Jake Rudock struggled finding U-M receivers down field on multiple occasions, giving up possible scores for the Wolverines offense.

But was it his fault? Well, not exactly says Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh. In fact, he defended his QB, saying U-M’s receivers slowed down when they had chance to make a big play offensively for the Wolverines at Utah.

“Talking about precision and that showed up in the game a few times,” Harbaugh said. “We had two deep ball opportunities. We’ll keep coaching that.”

One play in particular stood out to Harbaugh, when senior Jehu Chesson beat his defender and was wide open in the end zone by more than 10 yards early in the first-half. Then, well, Chesson slowed down, Harbaugh says, which cost U-M a scoring opportinity.

“Jehu felt he was open,” Harbaugh said. “He slowed down during the route. It’s very hard to judge a receiver who’s going full speed and then slows down during the route. In his mind he is open. Just ‘Hey, throw me the ball.’ But those two being on the same page -- you don’t know a receiver is going to slow down -- It’s almost imperceptible when you’re in the pocket to know is he’s running 100-percent or just backed it down to 85 or 80.

“So that’s a big one. That would’ve been a huge factor in the game to hit one or both of those deep balls.”

Fifth-year senior WR Amara Darboh led Michigan with eight catches for 101 yards and a touchdown catch versus Utah. However, despite his performance against the Utes, he still says he needs to get on the same page with his quarterback.

“As a receiver, it’s different in the game than the practices,” Darboh said. “I think I misread some (passes). I know there was one I felt I should have dove and I was trying to fight to get inside. Jake Rudock is a great quarterback. He put it out there and gave us chances. I put it on his receivers to try to make the play next time. I know next I’m going to try to dive out and make a (play) n the ball.”

Adding: “We’ve been working on it all summer and all camp. But there is no rep like a game rep. So once the game, everyone is a little faster and their arms is a little stronger. “

Michigan (0-1) plays host to Oregon State this Saturday at noon ET.

The Michigan Insider Top Stories