ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A year ago, Eddie McDoom arrived on Michigan’s campus and only had a limited idea of what preseason practices would entail.
It would mean more studying. It would mean long hours inside Michigan’s football facility. And it would certainly mean more hard work.
McDoom found out his first summer at Michigan meant taking part in football at warp speed. McDoom needed a few days to adjust to the tempo of college football.
Is this year’s preseason camp easier?
The sophomore wide receiver from Winter Garden, Fla., shook his head.
“No,” McDoom said. “It’s still a grind. Last year, this year, there’s no difference. Every day, we come in and work our butts off. We’re working with [passing game coordinator] Pep Hamilton every day. We have to get into the playbook. We have to make sure we get these plays in and make sure we know the offense really well.”
McDoom played primarily at slot receiver as a freshman in 2016, with 5 catches for 59 yards as a freshman in 2016, and had 16 carries for 160 yards.
Yet you couldn’t miss when McDoom was on the field. Many of the 110,000 inside of Michigan Stadium greeted him with a chorus of “McDOOOOOM!”
McDoom, however, didn’t coast on the newfound attention. Instead, he’s taking advantage of a year of experience as a college football player. He knew that he had to apply himself going into his sophomore year, as Michigan looks to fill the spots vacated by starting receivers Jehu Chesson and Amara Darboh.
“I feel like I’m doing pretty well,” McDoom said. “Everything is growing. I’m getting better in the playbook, and making big gains, and trying not to make the small mistakes I would have made freshman year.”
Last summer, Chesson and Darboh set the pace for Michigan’s younger freshmen, including McDoom, freshman Kekoa Crawford, sophomore Grant Perry and junior Maurice Ways.
Instead of being one of the new kids in practices, McDoom is one of the more experienced wide receivers in preseason camp.
“It’s being able to take more reps,” McDoom said. “Learning from Jehu and Amara last year, now I have to step in and be that older guy for the young guys. It’s a different feeling. More reps. You’ve got to make sure you get more recovery and get into the playbook a lot more.”
Sophomore tight end Sean McKeon has noticed McDoom’s efforts.
“Eddie’s showing the guys how to do it, how to work,” McKeon said.
McDoom balances that responsibility with competing for a spot in Michigan’s lineup.
“We’re all trying to fight for our spots,” McDoom said. We’re trying to battle and grow and trying to make gains every day.
“Now that we have so many young freshman receivers, we like to put it on our shoulders to try to get them used to the vibe of college life, the speed, making sure they’re in the playbook. We’re looking for the young guys to do big things, just like us. We’re all making gains together. When we grow, they grow.”