Mathews Adjusts to More Action

Michigan wide receiver Greg Mathews has emerged as one of the Wolverines top targets since the start of his sophomore season. At the weekly presser, Mathews sat down with the media to talk about how he fits into the Michigan offense with the slew of receivers that currently call Ann Arbor home.

ANN ARBOR -- Entering the 2007 season, Michigan was expected to have one of the top returning offensive units in the country. At wide receiver, Mario Manningham and Adrian Arrington, both considered possible targets to take the NFL plunge at the end of the season, provide senior quarterback Chad Henne with capable options at the pass-catching position.

As a result, Greg Mathews, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound receiver from Edgewood, Fla., might have snuck into the new season under the radar.

Through five games, Mathews, who draws comparisons from those in and around Ann Arbor to former wide out Jason Avant, sits just behind Adrian Arrington in both receiving yards and in touchdowns almost halfway through the season.

"He has been able to build on what he did as a freshman," Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said when commenting on Mathews at this weeks press conference. "For a freshman he played a lot a year ago, but he's bigger and stronger and he's more knowledgeable, and he's sure-handed, he's tough, he's competitive. I think he's doing a great job."

Despite the praise, however, Mathews, who acknowledges a fondness for Jason Avant's style of play, maintains his motivation as the Wolverines offense continues to look for the success that was expected two months back at the start of the season.

"I don't really feel like I've improved because there are still a lot of things that I need to work on, such as blocking and getting off on press release, things like that. I've made a couple big plays, but there are still a lot of things I need to work on as a player."

All that said, there is one aspect to his game that Mathews takes pride in. While the attention of the Michigan offense is focused on Manningham and Arrington on the outside, it's Mathews making the tough catches over the middle.

"Of course I would like getting some of those 80-yard touchdown catches down the sideline," Mathews told GoBlueWolverine Magazine. "But it's those over the middle catches that make you the money. Everyone can get down the sideline. I want to be the one going over the middle and making the big catches."

In part because of the warrior mentality, Mathews has become a frequent Michigan target in critical third down situations this season. Going over the middle, Mathews has learned to make the best of his chances as other targets stretch the defense deep.

"I like it because the defense focuses on Mario and Adrian and I just slide underneath everything and get a short pass and do what I can do with it. I'm just trying to keep the offense on the field."

"Defenses are zoning Adrian [Arrington] and Mario [Manningham] off and giving us an underneath route and Greg's definitely not afraid to go over the middle and catch the ball," Michigan quarterback Chad Henne continued. "He's a strong kid. If they're going to give us the opportunities then Greg's going to make those plays and he's really stepped up for us."

Michigan and Greg Mathews next return to the field at Michigan Stadium on Saturday afternoon to battle the Eastern Michigan Eagles. Kickoff is scheduled for noon on the Big 10 Network.

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