Jay Harbaugh: Jake Butt Can be 'Way Better'

Michigan tight ends coach Jay Harbaugh is of course pleased with the production output from junior tight end Jake Butt in Thursday's loss at Utah. Despite the eight catch, 93-yard performance, Harbaugh envisions even bigger things for the Ohio native.

Jake Butt didn't lead Michigan in receiving yards in Thursday's 24-17 loss at Utah, but that certainly shouldn't be an indicator of the impact of the junior tight end.

Butt and senior wide out Amara Darboh each led the team with eight catches a piece, Butt's totaling 93-yards along with a spectacular 19-yard touchdown snag in double coverage in the third quarter.

"He has a knack for coming down with balls like that," Michigan tight ends coach Jay Harbaugh said Wednesday. "We kind of say in our room, 50/50 balls are our balls and we expect to catch them. He's certainly a guy that can make those plays."

And make those plays he did, quickly becoming a favorite target for Michigan fifth-year senior quarterback and Iowa transfer Jake Rudock.

According to Butt, the off-season provided a great opportunity for Rudock and himself to find a comfortable chemistry.

"I think that whole process started the day Jake got here," Butt said. "His locker is right next to mine in the player's locker room and we just started playing catch and all summer we would do our player lead 7-on-7's and 1-on'1's.

"We started to build a chemistry there and Jake's had some success at other schools so he knows how to get it done."

After just one performance, Butt is already more than a third of the way to equaling his catch total from the 2014 season.

Under utilized and rarely targeted in a Michigan offense that struggled to protect and pass the ball a year ago, Butt is more than happy to be on the receiving end of more footballs in 2015.

"I'd like to be targeted, I like my match-up against linebackers and stuff," Butt said. "But whatever play is called, I'm just going to do my job. If the ball comes my way, my job is to catch it."

Despite the gaudy numbers and highlight reel touchdown grab against the Utes, his coach is quick to point out the Ohio native isn't void of faults.

"He can get way, way better," Harbaugh said. "Not even close to reaching his potential and in a lot of ways, he's still making a lot of plays so it's exciting."

"Just being well-rounded," Harbaugh added. "He's obviously a very natural receiver. As he matures as a player he'll become a more consistent blocker and I think that's what he would tell you is his main focus."


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