ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Towards the end of the 2015 season, the passing attack seemingly clicked for Michigan.
Not only did Jake Rudock appear to be a brand new quarterback, receivers like Jehu Chesson and Amara Darboh finished strong and capped a surprisingly successful 10 win season.
Now heading into spring practices, the team is trying to build off what it did last season and reach even further heights the second year into the system.
"We're a little light on numbers until the next batch (of freshman receivers) comes in terms of that we have four or five guys coming in," passing coordinator Jedd Fisch said. "We're just building, we're building off what we did (last season.) Asking these guys to really push themselves and fight through it. They've become really well conditioned. You're able to tweak a route or tweak a release and change some things up. Hey, this is how we did it all last year, here's you on film. Rather than here's Allen Robinson on film or here's Brandon Marshall on film. Here's you on film, now how can you make that better?"
With such low numbers at receiver right now, it has allowed Fisch an opportunity to have more face time with the players as they further grasp the schemes. On the practice field and in the field room, there's tangible evidence that things are improving and how a player can build off what he's done. Whereas last season, Fisch could only show film on what he wants his players to be like on the field.
"That's one of the benefits where we're at right now that we can really hone in, focus in and spend the time getting Amir (Mitchell) caught up to speed," Fisch said. "Getting Grant (Perry) ready to play inside and outside, focusing in on getting Moe Ways to play both spots on the perimeter.. Hey, on one-on-one's, here's you running the route, here's you last year running the route. Look at the difference."
With Chesson and Darboh the clear starting two receivers on the outside, the number three wide receiver spot is wide open. Of course, with the incoming freshman ready to come in and compete this fall, the time for players like Mo Ways and Grant Perry to come in and secure a good look is now.
Either way, no matter who the third receiver would be, Fisch expects more production from his receivers this season.
"We need more production, we need someone else to be in that range of 40-50 catches," Fisch said. "We need Amara and Jehu to be in the range of 75 catches. They need to get up and the third receiver needs to get his numbers up. Maybe our third receiver was at 20 catches or something, let's get to 40. Let's get to two more first downs a game, give us one more explosive play a game, keep us on the field for one more drive. It will allow us to play with more guys, get more guys ready to go and it will be fun to see what these guys do."