Ouimet on the U-M Wideouts

Michigan <b>wide receiver unit</b> is unanimously rated as the best in the country by the preseason college football magazines. Former U-M Staffer Mark Ouimet lays out the wideouts, wide open, for you.

First the WR depth chart:

Split End
1 Braylon Edwards 6-3 206 Sr./Sr.
17 Carl Tabb 6-2 193 Jr./So.
18 Jermaine Gonzales 6-2 210 5th/Sr.

Flanker
8 Jason Avant 6-1 209 Jr./Jr.
15 Steve Breaston 6-1 169 Jr./So.

Ouimet:

"Braylon Edwards is the key. It's his year to shine, both on the field and as far as being a leader on and off field. On the field he's the main go-to guy. But he'll get double-teamed, which will give Avant a better chance on the other side. Avant has improved every year, and he's the #2 guy.

"Then there's Breason. The question is how strongly is he going to come back from the foot injury ... will he be 100% or not. He's a player who stretches the field, and he can make guys miss ... where Avant has strength, Breaston gives you speed when Braylon is double covered.

"They will not be as explosive without Breaston if he has to be held out as a receiver. Without his threat it'll be easier for defenses to prepare. But when it comes right down to it they need Breaston mostly for special teams this year (next year is when they'll really need him as a wideout, when they lose Braylon and Gonzalez). But on offense his importance is if he's on the field he has to be accounted for by the defense.

"Tabb and Gonzalez are 4/5 ... and we'll see 3-4-5 wide receivers a lot. Tabb hasn't developed yet the knack of what to do after the catch ... when he does he'll pose a scare for the defense.

"It's a solid group overall, with good speed by Braylon, Breaston, Avant, and Tabb. Tabb is fast, as fast as Breaston.

"Regardless of how good the wide receivers are, the #1 key to the passing game of course is Gutierrez -- his timing. The issue with a new quarterback is always timing, and also learning where the different receivers like the ball.

"Then the switching from a righty to a lefty quarterback is also a bit of a factor -- the receivers have to deal with the different spiral on the ball. But I think Gutierrez will be the starter. And anyway, Clayton Richard throws a 'soft', catchable ball.

"As far as the freshmen receivers go ... you never to into season with less than six WRs ... so one freshman will play. The one the most ready may be Doug Dutch (6-0, 185) ... well see, but one of them has to play.

"Adrian Arrington (6-4, 180) has to grow and mature. Morgan Trent (6-1, 190) - the question is will he be WR or CB? Anyway, one freshman will get in the mix, on special teams too.

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