ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Aside from his weak lower body, Eddie McDoom was satisfied with his freshman debut last fall with the Michigan Wolverines.
Despite only having five catches for 59 yards, he made it clear that he’s one of the team’s top threats at receiver. He can run with the ball, too, evidenced by his 16 carries for 172 yards.
His speed and hands are set.
Bulk is next.
He wants to add more of that.
“I would say just my strength … I just felt like I was too weak. I was getting pushed around a few times … well, a bunch of times,” said the 6-foot sophomore who’s up to 202 pounds after starting 2016 at 180. “But now I feel like I’m standing my ground and really up there (in terms of strength) with the guys.”
Already a spectator favorite, McDoom — or “Dooommm!” as UM fans call him — flourished within the scheme of former passing coordinator Jedd Fisch, who left during the offseason for the offensive coordinator job at UCLA. This season, McDoom will play under the direction of new passing game coordinator Pep Hamilton, who is known for a quick attack packed with guys who know how to advance the ball.
“You guys will see it. But like, as of me watching, I see more of a … it’s just small things that he says, the critiquing of skills,” McDoom replied when asked if Hamilton’s offense was “faster” than the 2016 offense. “When you get the ball, instead of going down, he wants us to get in and score — he wants us to make big plays. He doesn’t want us to be that conservative guy. He wants us to be that playmaker he can count on in big-time games.”
With plenty of NFL pedigree, fueled by stops at Indianapolis, San Francisco, New York (Jets) and Chicago, Hamilton brings a certain level of professionalism and business-like demeanor to the practice sessions.
The “touchdowns will speak for themselves,” said McDoom, referencing a young and athletic stable of wideouts, including freshman Donovan Peoples-Jones, who can “fly,” Tarik Black and Nico Collins.
Per McDoom, they have all excelled during 7-on-7 drills in Al Glick Field House, and continue to develop chemistry with redshirt junior quarterback Wilton Speight.
“I think it’s building; now with Pep here, the offense is quicker,” McDoom said. “I see a lot more explosive plays. I see a lot of places where guys really will shine and blow up the scoreboard.”
Hamilton is serious about the Wolverines eclipsing numbers set in 2015 and 2016, coach Jim Harbaugh’s first two seasons at Michigan. He’s serious about showcasing the likes of McDoom, who complemented the Wolverines’ 40-point-per-game onslaught during a 10-3 run in 2016.
“What I see of Pep is a very hard working and committed man. He doesn’t play any games. He gets down to business. He wants to see work. He doesn’t want to see you make excuses for this or that,” McDoom said. “He wants to see it on the field. Big players make big plays — and that’s who he wants on the field, and I respect that a lot.
“Everyone in the receiving corps should. We should respect the fact that he didn’t come here to play around. He came here to win games, and that’s exactly what I think he’s going to do.”
One year ago, Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson ran the receivers show.
Despite experiencing a bit of a learning curve, McDoom followed suit and learned the playbook to the best of his ability. This summer, he feels much more confident about the Xs an Os and feels at home with Hamilton — whose mode of operation and football ideology “speaks to” McDoom.
“I was (in the playbook), but as a freshman, it’s really hard to understand the concepts, and it takes a while,” McDoom said. “But now that I’ve been here for a while, I’ve seen it, and I’m kind of understanding it. It’s way easier to pick up things and understand the defense, understand the importance of knowing the concepts and what the other guy has so you guys can work together — it all comes together, and I’m learning that now.”
Players will soon run the 40-yard dash.
And with that said, McDoom looks to retain his standing as one of the fastest — if not the fastest — Wolverines on the roster.
An ankle injury during the spring game didn’t derail his progress, either.
“I can feel myself picking up speed throughout the 40. My starts — I feel like they’re a little better. My form, I’m getting it down, I’m not all over the place,” he said. “I’m trying to get myself in a straight line and trying to critique every little thing. I feel like it’s working every week. Our strength coaches are doing a great job.”
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