Borges searching for 'real dude' at receiver

October, 16, 2012
10/16/12
3:56
PM ET
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges doesn’t mind the balance among his receiving corps right now. It has been that way since he arrived in Ann Arbor last season, where he would not necessarily have a go-to receiver.

Even after Michigan had nine different receivers catch a pass against Illinois Saturday -- each catching one pass -- he is fine with it. One day, though, he would like that to change.

[+] EnlargeDevin Gardner
Rick Osentoski/US PresswireDevin Gardner leads the Wolverines in TD receptions with four.
“You’ve got more people to attack them with, absolutely. You like that,” Borges said. “But by that same token, if you have a weapon and he’s only catching one pass, you have to re-evaluate.

“You know, a real dude, you know what I mean.”

A “real dude” does not technically exist in Michigan’s offense thus far. It didn’t last season either, when Junior Hemingway was the team’s leading receiver with 34 catches for 399 yards and four touchdowns.

The numbers, though, screamed balance instead of having a guy to depend on. That guy -- or those dudes -- are on the roster, though. Borges has seen it.

“I think there’s some potential there, yeah,” Borges said. “Some potential. And some young guys, too.”

He might already be setting his team up for it, too. Borges acknowledged Tuesday that he is tightening up the amount of receivers he has been playing. Unlike earlier in the season, when between seven and nine receivers would see passes thrown their way in close games, Michigan has shrunk the number to four and maybe five.

Some of them are experienced, like Roy Roundtree, Jeremy Gallon and Drew Dileo. Then there are the two who might have the most “dude” potential on the roster -- leading receiver Devin Gardner and tight end Devin Funchess.

Team Devin has been productive this season while they are still learning both their position and, in Gardner’s case, how to be a receiver in the first place.

“I think we’ve pretty much got who is going to be in the games,” Borges said. “You’ve seen them.”

Now it’s just on them to transform from a plain old pass catcher into the “real dude” Borges is looking for.

Michael Rothstein | email

ESPN Detroit Lions reporter

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