Top Scrimmage Performers: Offense

Sam Webb, Kyle Bogenschutz, and Josh Newkirk break down the standouts on offense in Michigan's "Saturday Night Lights" Scrimmage. Shane Morris and Devin Funchess were the consensus picks at the top for a unit that struggled for most of the night.

Staff's Top 3 Performers

Sam Webb Kyle Bogenschutz Josh Newkirk
Shane Morris Shane Morris Maurice Ways
Devin Funchess Devin Funchess Shane Morris
Amara Darboh Canteen/Darboh Devin Funchess

Top Performer Breakdown

(Listed alphabetically)

Freddy Canteen – Freshman WR

Kyle’s Take: Michigan is desperately seeking a number two receiver complement Devin Funchess, and Freddy Canteen and Amara Darboh were very consistent throughout the night. I thought they both caught the ball well, they ran crisp routes and they're always there when the quarterbacks need them. On one occasion Shane was rolling to his left and a defender was crashing the, corner decided to pop down after Morris.  Canteen turned up field and got open for a pass from Shane. I thought that was an incredibly intelligent play for just a freshman.

Amara Darboh – Redshirt Sophomore WR

Sam’s Take: Darboh was a factor on the outside when the quarterback had time to deliver the football.  He did a good job in blitz recognition and was the hot read on a number of those plays.  Whether it was a slant or a quick hitch, he made himself available immediately, was sure handed, and muscled forward for a few yards after the catch.  He also showed the ability to get on top of defensive backs despite not being 100%.  He had one ankle heavily taped signaling a bit of a “boo boo.”  That may have been what hindered him on a post that should have been a touchdown.  He seemed to pull up a bit just as he was going into his cut.  By the time he saw the ball and tried to turn the jets back on, the ball was too far ahead to catch up with.  Still an impressive showing though.

Kyle’s Take: With Darboh obviously we heard what he could do last year. I think he's going to be a guy, physically and from a speed standpoint, that can really help the offensive attack.

Devin Funchess – Junior WR

Sam’s Take: The junior wideout is expected to be a playmaker for the Wolverines and he made two of the biggest plays of the day for the offense.  The first came after fighting through some physical play from Delonte Hollowell on a post cut.  Devin Gardner delivered the ball on the money, but it appeared Funchess wasn’t going to reach it because of pass interference. Appearances were deceiving in this instance, though, as Funchess jostled free, stuck his big mitt in the air, and pulled the ball in with one hand for a 40-yard gain.  Funchess’ other highlight play involved him fighting through some physical play again, this time from Jabrill Peppers.  Funchess got free of an aggressive jam, ran a five yard fade to the endzone, and turned and faced Gardner who delivered a high- arcing pass from the far hash.  Funchess simply reached up over Peppers’ head to pull the ball in for six.

Kyle’s Take: The night began with Devin Funchess catching a highlight reel one-handed ball over the middle of the field for about 30 yards.  It was an incredibly impressive play for a truly elite athlete at his size. Funchess consistently caught the football most of the night. Just look at what he's able to do physically against some of the smaller corners.  He was able to go over Jabrill Peppers to pull in a touchdown pass, not an easy thing to do, but obviously with his size it's a huge advantage, especially in the red zone. I think he looks faster and more comfortable at wide receiver. I think he's the true number one target and someone Michigan really needs to have a big year.

Josh’s Take: Michigan’s top wide receiving threat made a couple notable plays on the night. His first catch was a jump ball for a 40-yard catch that brought the crowd to its feet. He also caught a nice 50/50 ball across the middle. He came into the scrimmage a little- dinged up, but showed no ill-effects during the scrimmage. He seems like he is in mid-season form already.

Shane Morris – Sophomore QB

Sam’s Take: The lefty gunslinger was the best player on offense Saturday.  He showed good feel in a frequently collapsing pocket, stared down the rush time after time, and delivered crisp accurate passes.  He made his share of mistakes too, most notably a poorly thrown fade that Channing Stribling picked off in the endzone, and holding onto the football too long a few times, but his decision-making was otherwise pretty good.  All told he was the most efficient signal caller in the face of pressure.  To be fair  Gardner faced more pressure due to the unbelievable pairing of Hurst and Henry on the second string line, but Morris still saw significant heat too, but threw more accurately, showed good escapability and speed a few times, and threw it away a few others.  Resist the urge to think that this signals a QB controversy even if my esteemed colleagues think there should be.  There isn’t one, and that’s not an opinion.  What this does signal is a shorter leash for Gardner than there was last year.  Morris by the day is showing himself to be an increasingly viable alternative should Gardner falter during the season.

Kyle’s Take: The model of consistency and taking what the defense gave him. I thought Morris was the better quarterback tonight and I think this race might be a little closer than people actually think. I think Shane made strong decisions in the pocket and looks very comfortable standing in there and delivering the football over the middle of the field. I think he had a nice feel for the pressure, the defense was definitely coming with blitzes and Shane was able to kind of adapt, rollout and find guys in space. Very impressive showing out of Shane just kind of taking what the defense gave him and leading his team.

Josh’s Take: Entering his sophomore season in Ann Arbor, Morris definitely built off his Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl start last season. He looked calm and collected behind subpar protection. Morris threw a good deep ball and showcased good pocket awareness. He threw one interception on the evening. However, one thing is clear, Morris inched his way closer on the depth chart and U-M has a pretty good second string quarterback.

Maurice Ways – Freshman WR

Sam Webb: The freshman was the best of the young wideouts on the day.  He isn’t a burner, but he created separation with good route running and exceptional strength.  His first big play came on a fly pattern down the sideline.  He turned to look back for the ball and noticed it was a little short, so he delivered a nice stiff arm to the defensive back to create some space before pulling the ball in.  There were numerous other grabs including a touchdown during red-zone action late in the scrimmage.  He is physically ready to play and could find himself on the depth chart if he keeps it up.

Josh’s Take: The true freshman wide receiver was easily the most consistent wide out in Saturday’s scrimmage. He caught four passes throughout the contest.  When it came to a 50/50 ball, Ways used his 6-foot-4, 195-pound frame to gain the advantage on the defender. While most of his reps were with the second or third team offense, Ways looked the part of a legit college receiver in the scrimmage.

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