Internal Expectations for Michigan's TEs Through the Roof

Internal Expectations for Michigan's TEs Through the Roof

Football

Internal Expectations for Michigan's TEs Through the Roof

ANN ARBOR, Mich — When it comes to Michigan’s tight end group, there isn’t a lot of talk this offseason. There’s certainly hype, but, it’s somewhat muted at the same time.

A lot of that comes with the fact that there are expectations for the group now — led by fourth-year standout Zach Gentry and third-year stalwart Sean McKeon.

The duo was second and third in receiving yards in 2017, respectively, and McKeon even led the team in receptions a year ago.

Michigan also has a new tight ends coach in Sherrone Moore, who came aboard from Central Michigan, now overseeing a group expected to play big in 2018. There hasn’t been a lot of talk about regarding the tight ends this offseason, except that they are moving forward and, if things go right, could be a huge part of the offense.

For McKeon, there hasn’t been any worry about living up to that, or whether there’s been anything of a learning curve for Moore. Once he arrived in Ann Arbor back in the winter, he hit the ground running and the tight ends have gone from there.

“I don’t think there’s much of a learning curve, per se,” McKeon said. “Obviously, every coach has their own style. The offense has pretty much remained the same, in terms of concepts, routes and formations – stuff like that. Not much has changed, but I think Coach Moore brings a different perspective. That’s definitely helped us out this season.”

As a former Oklahoma offensive tackle, Sherrone Moore is known for his recruiting prowess, but he also knows full-well about the coaching side.

McKeon notes the big difference that he’s made in the tight end room since taking over the position from Greg Frey — the former tackles coach who moved to his alma mater, Florida State. Given his myriad experience, both in playing and coaching, Moore offers a different perspective from some of his predecessors.

“He’s a very intelligent guy,” McKeon said. “He knows a lot just overall in football – not just in the tight end world, like the line. Obviously, he played O-line, so he brings that perspective, and run blocking. But he’s very knowledgeable in the pass game, too. So he teaches us the total pass game as a whole. All the receivers, not just the tight end routes. So, I think that helps us understand everything. I think he’s done a great job.”

As far as McKeon and his game is concerned, he’s come a long way since being a two-star out of Dudley (MA).

Moore went back and looked at McKeon’s high school tape, and can see the massive amount of progress he’s made personally since joining the program in 2016.

“It’s funny, because they make fun of Sean, because they say he ran like a robot. And he might be one of the most fluid guys running routes and doing things now. He’s tough as nails.

“But watching those guys progress from even when they were in high school, it’s really cool to see their progression and where they’re at now.”

Like Moore said, McKeon is no longer running like a robot, and that’s in large part due to his former position coach, Jay Harbaugh, and his former teammate, the most prolific tight end Michigan has had to date.

“High school – ran the double-wing offense, so probably caught like two passes a game,” McKeon said. “That was a big point of emphasis when I got here. Coach Jay was the coach at the time, and he just said (to) pretty much copy Jake Butt – watch him every day. So that’s what I did. Learned a lot from him. Constantly running routes, constantly catching balls with all the quarterbacks. So that really helped me out. Just working every day at it.”

While he is focused on his personal growth, when asked how things are different for him, now that he has that pivotal in-game experience, and that he’s gotten so much further along than he was once upon a time, McKeon defers to what matters most: the team.

He knows he’ll be counted on to make plays, because he made a ton of them a year ago. He knows the same expectation exists for his teammates.

But, ultimately, it isn’t about him or even the next guy. It’s about the entire tight ends unit going out there and doing their part.

They might not be talked about as much as the quarterbacks or the wide receivers. They might not have the hype. But they do have the skill and ability, and now it’s they who expect to go out there and help lift the team, and be the best possible unit they can be.

“I’d probably just say the standard, the expectation that you’re expected to go and make that play now,” McKeon said. “Whereas last year, I maybe wasn’t expected to go and catch that ball. But now, it’s the standard. We set the goal high this year in the tight end room. We set our goals high to be the best in the Big Ten and in the country. So, the standard is to go and be the best. You’ve got to make that play, make that block and be reliable.”

Contact/Follow @WolverinesWire@isaiahhole

Latest

More WolverinesWire
Home