Good receiving corps composed entirely of possession receivers?

Submitted by Bleedin9Blue on February 20th, 2010 at 8:18 PM

A friend and I were just discussing receivers due to Shawn Conway committing. Since a lot of the discussion in the comments was focused on his average-ish speed and large size, many people were pegging him as a small TE or "just" a possession receiver.

That made me think, can you consider your receiving corps "good" if they only have possession receivers? What about in our offense specifically, can our receivers as a group be considered good (or better) if we don't have a home run threat?

Note: I'm not trying to say that [having only possession receivers] is our current situation, I'm just asking the question because I think it's interesting.



February 20th, 2010 at 8:23 PM ^

And I don't think we had a real home run threat. Hemmingway and Stomun showed shades of being deep threats, but I can't recall any "home runs" that they hit.

Would you call Odoms a home run threat as a receiver? A lot of his catches come underneath the coverage - but he has the speed to potentially beat them ... is that really any different, though, than a RB taking one to the house?

But yeah, I think teams can do quite fine with "just possession receivers." It helps to have the deep route to spread the field, but not all QBs can hit the deep route, anyways ... and possession receivers can get deep occasionally, too (see Greg Mathews).


February 21st, 2010 at 1:30 AM ^

Let me help you out:

Junior Hemingway: v. Western Michigan, 45 yard bomb from Forcier. Touchdown.

Darryl Stonum: v. Michigan State, that TD was a catch and run (about 50 yards of run), for about a 75 yard TD pass.

Let's add:

Roy Roundtree: a 75 yard reception against Illinois, that would have been a TD if but for one more yard.

There - I just gave you three guys that if given the opportunity, can get deep and have speed. And let's not forget that Je'Ron Stokes has 4.4 - 4.5 speed, and lord help the defense that has to stick Denard on a deep route.


February 21st, 2010 at 7:22 PM ^

I was thinking along the lines of, if you have posession recievers and assuming that said receivers don't have elite top speed, then the importance has to come with their ability to break tackles and/or their agility in order to really get their YAP up. Receivers that can work in space don't necessarily require excellent top speed but rather the footwork and ability to make guys miss. Just a thought.


February 20th, 2010 at 8:26 PM ^

Speed stretches the field and gives you room for short routes and safeties cant come into the box if they have to worry about the deep ball, so runningbacks benefit from fast WRs.


February 20th, 2010 at 8:24 PM ^

Thinking of good teams with all possession receivers, the New England Patriots before Moss showed up fit that bill. Deion Branch, Troy Brown, and David Givens were never really deep threats. I don't think anyone would consider that a good corp, though.

To answer your question, no, I think you need at least one deep threat to really open up a passing game.


February 20th, 2010 at 8:25 PM ^

I think it depends on the quality of the QB they have throwing to them. Having a speedster or two would really help out a QB that isn't quite as accurate as they'd probably be getting open a little bit easier. A corp of only possession receivers would be great if a QB can place the ball just about wherever he wants.

Space Coyote

February 20th, 2010 at 8:28 PM ^

If you don't have people that can stretch the field then you're not going to have a great WR core. You can do good things near the end zone perhaps with all possession types, but in the open field, especially in the spread that RR runs, it is extremely important to be able to do things well in open space.

I think with can have an OK WR core with all possession types, those that at least make a D cover slants, ins, and fades near the end zone, but it is difficult to have a good or better when you can't utilize many of the other various routes, such as deep ins, deep outs, deep anything really, and WR screens.

Just to point out, I know Michigan has had possession receivers in the past that were good at deep ins and deep crosses and what not, but with the offense that was run then more protection packages could be used to allow them time to get open or to the position they needed. In the spread you are typically left with only one other blocker, a RB or TE, but two at most, and the various things you can do with them is somewhat more limited.


February 20th, 2010 at 9:39 PM ^

I think it's great that you point out the importance of receivers being good in space in this offense. It's vital that receivers be able to make the catch and make a man miss. IMO, you don't need breakaway speed to make somebody miss. An underneath catch followed by a broken tackle (or broken ankles) can become a huge play.

However, if your entire receiving corps is lacking deep speed, more d-backs will be within 15 yards of the line, making it more likely that multiple tackles will need to be avoided to gain really big chunks.


February 20th, 2010 at 8:26 PM ^

I think the main advantage of having big WR's is the fact that they will be able to block better on the outside. I think this is a point that is being overlooked.

Having Shawn, Ricardo, Jeremy, etc on the outside will enable our RB's and Slots to get to the outside. This will only help our offense.


February 20th, 2010 at 8:30 PM ^

Stonum, Hemmingway, and the freshman Williamson are all outside receivers with size and speed to get behind the defense.

But you can have a successful offense with a bunch of possession receivers if you run an offense with a lot of short passes. Think Texas Tech (before Crabtree) with all those short passes and not a lot of down field throws.


February 20th, 2010 at 9:36 PM ^

To all the panic about all of our receivers being slow, I want to say that just because they run a 4.5 doesn't mean they can't be a deep threat. Being a deep threat is not about pure speed, it's about changing speeds and body control. I think most can agree Manningham was a great deep threat for Michigan and he didn't have ridculous speed. D. Howard was relatively slow as a WR and he was ok. Not saying any of the incoming guys will be that, but I wouldn't be too worried about their fake times until we see them. Other effective deep threats without elite speed per a stop watch. Jerry Rice, Sterling Sharpe, Plaxico Biurress, Marvin Harrison, Michael Crabtree.


February 20th, 2010 at 10:43 PM ^

It will make the position evaluations difficult for Brian, I mean how many times can you say, "YMRMFSPA Jason Avant". Just like the eskimos have many words for snow, we may need many words for Jason Avant, like "Young Jason Avant", "Senior Jason Avant", "NFL Jason Avant", "Jason Avant if all of his fingers were broken like Tai Streets", etc.


February 20th, 2010 at 11:26 PM ^

I like the pick up of shawn conway by the fact adds more depth reciever, and it also ends some stereotype that we only get small speedy reicevers that many said that we put emphesis on in which I disagree on. But adds more wear and tear on the physicals on dbs of the big ten. Also best of luck for shawn for this upcoming season.


February 20th, 2010 at 11:50 PM ^

IMHO I think the staff actually prefers size at the Wide Out position as opposed to burners. As RichRod has said in the past that he actually wants both but I think when it defaults they will take size because the most important think a receiver can do is block. I know it might hurt us in recruiting big time guys but its also a really wise strategy. This is why Ricardo Miller and Jerald Robinson will play split end this year, because they are more that willing and able to take out safeties and LB. To me this seaholm kid fits the mold of what RichRod wants out of his WR. Once Mich starts winning again, (and god please be this year) I think we will be in the running for more explosive WR but I still think RR will look at guys who are willing blockers. I think he wants the speed to come out of the slot, which is why Gallon and D. Rob might get some more looks there.


February 21st, 2010 at 12:24 AM ^

You know, I actually think we would be "sleeping on him"* less if he'd redshirted. But, since he played all of 8 snaps or so, he used up one year of eligibility. Thus, he's a sophomore and we don't care about them as much [as freshmen] because sophomores are perceived as being known quantities. So, even though we don't really know anything about how good Stokes will be, we're not very excited because he doesn't have "Fr." next to his name.

*By the way, bad choice of words for the internet.

West Texas Blue

February 21st, 2010 at 12:42 AM ^

Top WRs aren't interested in just blocking. Stonum specifically told Rod that he didn't want to be just a blocking WR, as much negative recruiting was used by teams to discourage him and top flight WRs from joining UM. No deep threat = safeties move closer to line of scrimmage.

West Texas Blue

February 21st, 2010 at 12:43 AM ^

Top WRs aren't interested in just blocking. Stonum specifically told Rod that he didn't want to be just a blocking WR, as much negative recruiting was used by teams to discourage him and top flight WRs from joining UM. No deep threat = safeties move closer to line of scrimmage.

burntorange wi…

February 21st, 2010 at 2:33 AM ^

can be perfectly capable of being "good" and all be possession WRs. if u have a half decent qb that can spread the field. u dont necessarily need a "burner" to score big TDs. id take 5 wes welkers as my top 5 receivers any day. as long as each receiver has some YAC ability.