Why Tarik Black is Excited About Working With Jim McElwain

Why Tarik Black is Excited About Working With Jim McElwain

Football

Why Tarik Black is Excited About Working With Jim McElwain

ANN ARBOR, Mich — Michigan’s offense was a mess in 2017, there’s no way around that.

While the running game was mostly strong, the pass protection lagged, the quarterback position was in turmoil — especially after Wilton Speight went down with injury in Week Four — and the wide receivers were, well, young.

There’s a learning curve for wide receivers when they get to the college level. You can’t just out-athlete defensive backs in the way that you can in high school. There’s a modicum of technique and strength involved. Thus, it’s not an optimal situation when you’re relying on first-year wideouts, as Michigan mostly was a year ago.

Fast forward a year, and those green faces are now savvy veterans.

Tarik Black only saw time in three games, as his season was cut short with a foot injury, but he was a bright spot last year, despite his inexperience. Still — getting off jams at the line of scrimmage has been a focal point for him and the rest of the corps this offseason.

“We’ve worked on that a lot,” Black said. “We work on releases every day, so if I’m stuck on a route, we work on that. We’ve worked on top of route, the break points – just accelerating out of those. We’ve pretty much worked everything with Coach Mac. He’s definitely been a great addition to the coaching staff. He brings a positive energy. We like him.”

Not only is the added experience a big difference from previous years, but Michigan was able to add a tenth assistant due to new NCAA rules. Enter WR coach Jim McElwain.

Yes, of Florida head coaching fame.

Of course, McElwain’s shining achievement was being the offensive coordinator for Alabama at the start of the Nick Saban tenure, and won a national championship in the process.

Last season, Michigan’s wideouts were being taught by Pep Hamilton, the pass game coordinator who split time with the quarterbacks, and grad assistant Joe Hastings.

So it’s a big deal to these players that they have a dedicated coach at the position.

“It definitely plays a very big impact,” Black said. “Coach Mac – I’d say he’s one of my all-time favorite coaches already. He brings a positive energy. He’s always teaching us the little stuff. Teaching us to pay attention to details, things like that. We just continue to get better all throughout the camp. He’s been a great addition to our coaching staff. I really like that guy.”

But it’s not just McElwain who’s joined the staff. Roy Roundtree, the former Michigan receiver, is now coaching as a graduate assistant as well.

Black is enjoying his time with the younger coach, and says that his ability to relate to him in myriad ways has been helpful to the room as a whole.

“Having a guy that’s played for Michigan – he’s not that old, he was just on the field,” Black said. “So he understands us in a different way than the other coaches. He played the position, too. We always look to him for advice, things like that. What we should do on different looks, things like that. He’s also been a great addition.”

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