Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Greg Mathews: The "X" factor

Wide Receiver Greg Mathews (Jr./Jr.) looks to have a breakout year next season as he takes over as the #1 receiver as Mario Manningham and Adrian Arrington have departed early for the NFL. In Coach Rodriguez' spread offense, Mathews is likely to be used as the "X" receiver. That means he will be deployed as the outside receiver on the weak-side of the offensive formation. The "X" receiver is usually the team's top receiver and the player will see a lot of one-on-one coverage as a result of the formation. Mathews will be counted upon to take advantage when he has single coverage and force defenses to bring a linebacker over to help the cornerback with coverage. By forcing the defense to shift a linebacker over to the weak-side of the formation, it opens up the running lanes on the strong-side of the offensive formation.

Mathews is the top returning wide receiver and punt returner for the Wolverines. At 6'3", 207 lbs., he has a good combination of size and speed. He will be the prime target for Michigan's new quarterback. Last season he pulled in 39 receptions for 366 yards and 3 touchdowns. Look for those statistics to dramatically increase next season. Although fans are sorry to see Manningham and Arrington leave Michigan early, Mathews is ready to rise to the challenge and become the Wolverines' #1 receiver. Go Blue!

*Note: Photo of Greg Mathews (13) from the 10/27/07 Minnesota game by JOHN T. GREILICK/The Detroit News

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