The Wolverine

November 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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NOVEMBER 2018 THE WOLVERINE 21 to get to that inside linebacker as fast as possible. I don't care what else is going on, I've got to do my job.' "Now all of a sudden, you put in there the fact that he sets that guy up, makes it easy for Ben to come out there and kick him out, and it sets up that inside linebacker, because he doesn't see him coming. It makes his block easier. Those little things are the difference between what I've seen from Zach in previous years and what I'm seeing from him now." Harbaugh sees all kinds of differ- ences. "He's progressing really well," the head coach assessed. "To have ev- erything you want from a tight end, blocking, the catch, being able to gain separation, making the tough catch, having the big catch radius, in-line blocking, in-space blocking, he's got the speed you like to see, the athleti- cism you like to see. "The next thing for him to be one of the best tight ends you've ever coached, or compared to some of the other tight ends that have played this game, would be his yards after catch. Get the ball and create those yards after he catches the ball. "I think that will come. Every- thing that he's done as a player has improved and developed. The next thing he's attacked, he's grown and gotten really proficient at. That's the best place for the next bit of growth, for him as a player." GAINING HUGE RESPECT The Patterson pat on the back rep- resents the tip of the iceberg for the effusive praise Gentry has garnered in his new role. New tight ends coach Sherrone Moore knew he inherited a lot when he walked into Michigan's tight ends room. Gentry will be one to follow for a long time, he assured. "He's just going to get better," Moore said. "There's so many things you can do with a guy that's 6-8, 265 pounds that can run like that. It's go- ing to be fun to watch." "It's understanding the nuances of the position," Jansen added. "If you're on the back side, you've got to have your head across on the back- side cutoff. Early in the year, I didn't see that. Now, his landmarks are so much better. You've got to experience it to see why that's important. "He's experienced it, and I know Sherrone Moore has probably helped him feel that experience. He's getting it done. When you have big runs, you have to have tight ends that block. You have to have wide receivers that block. On all the big runs we've had this year, that's been the key." Even Michigan's defenders have taken notice. "I'll tell you what, Zach Gentry had one heck of a fall camp," fifth-year senior defensive end Chase Winov- ich recalled. "Coach [Greg] Mattison always jokes with us at some points and says: 'Wow, Zach Gentry, All- American,' because of some of the stuff he was able to do that popped off out of nowhere. "I'm excited for him. I love Zach, and I think he deserves to have a great season." He's having it, and Michigan is looking to follow suit. Gentry's first big season as a tight end occurred in a down year for the Wolverines. Now, he assured, everything is genuinely falling into place. "This is the most excited I've personally been," Gentry insisted. "Walking around this building and getting ready for a game, I feel the energy with the rest of the squad. Everybody's got high expectations this year. "We know maybe we could have done more things last year, but we're excited about it … and maybe ready to prove some people wrong." ❏ Redshirt junior tight end Zach Gentry's move from quarter- back to his present spot could become one of the all-time best reassignments in Michigan football. He's got some competition in that respect. Some of the most successful Wolverines in history made a position move before they made it big. These five certainly stand out: 1. Jon Jansen, tight end to tackle — Jansen made the move early in his Michigan career and wound up becoming an All-American at the position, as well as a two-time first- team All-Big Ten selection and two-time captain. Jansen carried the captain's mantle in 1997, through the Wolverines' 12-0, national championship season. 2. Steve Hutchinson, defensive tackle to offensive guard — This mammoth Floridian spent a redshirt year playing defense for the Wolverines, before becoming a redshirt freshman starter on the offensive line of the '97 national champs. He wound up a four-year All-Big Ten first- teamer, a two-time All-American, two-time team captain and Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year. 3. Rob Lytle, tailback to fullback — Bo Schembechler never ceased to heap praise on Lytle, who unselfishly shifted from tailback to fullback due to the needs of the team. Lytle still piled up 3,317 rushing yards and earned consensus first-team All-America honors in his senior season of 1976. Starting nine games as a fullback that season, Lytle gained 1,469 yards with 14 touchdowns. 4. Ian Gold, running back to linebacker — Gold repre- sented another key cog for the 1997 national champions. A running back early in his Michigan career, Gold ventured over to the defense at the urging of head coach Lloyd Carr. He became one of Michigan's fastest linebackers ever, an All- Big Ten performer and the 1999 Roger Zatkoff Award winner as the team's top linebacker. 5. Devin Funchess, tight end to wide receiver — Funch- ess could always catch the football, setting a U-M record for tight ends with 748 receiving yards in 2013. But splitting him out regularly as a receiver afforded him even more op- portunities, and he flourished there, making 62 catches as a junior the following year before leaving to become an NFL standout at his new position. — John Borton A Fab Five Of U-M Position Switches Gentry on the move to tight end "I was recruited as a quarterback. I'd only played quarterback growing up. … At the time, it was kind of tough to understand. At this point, I'm glad that I was able to listen to [head coach Jim Harbaugh]."

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