It's still the off-season and college sports news is, at best, sparse. So to pass the time we're making up our own news. In that vein we're previewing portions of the University of Michigan Football Team's upcoming 2010 Schedule.
Specifically, we're previewing the most dangerous players on each team Michigan will face this year. Some will be on offense, some on defense, and all of them will be players worthy of your scorn. We've got a full 2010 football schedule, so we'll break down the key cog to each opponent one at a time. We've even got a convenient schedule and hatin' guide for you to go off of.
Today we're focussing on our first person to despise as a conference opponent, the Indiana Hoosier's Junior, First Team All-Big Ten Receiver Tandon Doss.
Who Is He, Exactly?
He is a bad, bad man. When you catch 77 passes and account for 962 receiving yards while playing at Indiana, you are officially a menace to any team you play. Doss was originally a three star WR out of Indianapolis. Doss held offers from Purdue and Kentucky, and reportedly got a sniff of two from Michigan, but eventually settled on his home-state Hoosiers. Doss was originally listed as a tall, speedy, slashy receiver out of high school and seems to have lived up to his billing. Despite only playing in a handful of games his freshman year, he made his presence on the field known to the Big Ten with a 100 yard, 1 TD performance against bowl bound Northwestern. While Doss didn't close 2008 out with any flair, it does appear he may have been tapering for 2009.
Doss started out 2009 with an 8 catch, 125 yard performance against Eastern Kentucky, and went north of 90 yards receiving fourth other times. This includes five catch, 105 yard day against Michigan where he spent most of the day torching our secondary. Doss also seemed to get better as the season went on, posting a two touchdown day against Wisconsin and 68 yards/1TD on Penn St.
The result of all these efforts was a First Team All-Big Ten selection for the Sophomore. So, you might say he's someone Michigan fans would like their defense to keep an eye on.
So, Explain Why We Should Hate Him
Really? After watching Doss burn Michigan's coverage-challenged corners last year you shouldn't really need much to get your gander up. But since you're asking, I'll elaborate. Indiana is coming in pissed off. After last year's near miss in Ann Arbor the Hoosiers are going to be looking for revenge, and with nine returning starters on offense they have the punch on offense to scare the bejesus out of you. Doss is the haymaker in Indiana's repertoire. He's tall enough to give our shorter corners some serious problems on jump balls. He's also experienced enough to make good decisions and make people miss on double and triple moves.
Perhaps more importantly, he's got help. Darius Willis might not be a superstar in the making, but he lit up Michigan's linebackers and secondary for 152 yards (and an 85 yard TD run). Opposite of Doss is the more than serviceable Damarlo Belcher. You might remember seeing him trying to wrestle the ball away from Donovan Warren on last season's game ending pick. You might also remember him hauling in 61 catches and 770 yards last season. Then there's senior quarterback Ben Chappell delivering the football behind a mostly returning offensive line. Doss is the homerun threat in this offense. He's the guy that makes it dangerous. If he does get loose it's going to be a very annoying afternoon. So get your hate on now. There's good reason for it.
More after the jump................
Give Me His Weaknesses, So That I Might Exploit Them
One thing Doss didn't do last year is break a lot of tackles as the season wore on. He's not the strongest guy in the world and there's been some fear that if he adds too much muscle it might actually slow him down. Whether there's any truth to that is for you to decide, but the lack of strength is a pretty universal criticism. Another issue, at least last year, was that Doss wasn't the best route runner. Not even close. Rumors from Indiana's spring game seem to indicate he's worked hard to become a more polished receiver, but we're not going to know whether that's legit until people start smacking each other around when the score counts. Doss has above average speed for a big receiver but he's not Denard Robinson. His lack of elite speed was one of the reasons he ended up at Indiana rather than a bigger name program, but we're looking for flaws. Right?
Doss is an up and coming talent, but one season does not make you. Doss will now have to deal with defenses adjusting for him as well as with the expectations of being an elite receiver in the Big Ten. Both of those weights have been known to unravel even some of the more promising prospects in the conference. He's got a big target on his back now, and he's going to have to run routes with it on.
Now that you know who he is, get your hate on.