Well if the freshmen on this list were suddenly juniors then I would see depth issues in my rear view...
Hooray. Michigan OL depth issues are in the rear view mirror.
yay depth.. still fear that the line next year is going to look ok at best. Very young and inexperienced. Mike and Joey are the only two have taken competitve game snaps right?
I sort of agree on the whole (though a lot of the "depth" is young), but Glasgow does not look serviceable to me. I think Burzynski is the lone walk-on with a chance of playing important minutes next year.
"Erik Gunderson" is too offensive lineman-y of a name for him to sit on the bench all year. It's science.
Isn't Glasgow that mammoth of a man that just started playing football as a senior in high school?
With Gardner at the helm we're more than capable of an Air Raid offense in 2013.
the proven left tackle and plethora of tall wide receivers /s (I see Gallon having a phenomenal year next year though)
I think we have more depth than this year (see Magnuson being able to back up both tackle spots and Braden also if Lewan were to court my heart and stay for his senior year). However, I do not think this line is that safe and secure; it is two serious injuries away from trouble. Outside of Magnuson/Braden, we have Burzynski as a a replacement and, although serviceable, he would probably be a significant step down. We only had 4 freshman OL redshirt and the coaches were not willing to let any of them play, even though that included "the most college-ready OL" that many experts had seen in Kalis, so I am skeptical that any of the freshman OL will be able to contribute to game situations. OL generally need at least another year to get physically and mentally ready to play. If a freshman RB makes a mistake, we lose a couple yards, miss a big play, or fumble the ball; however, if a freshman OL makes a mistake, our RB or QB get destroyed. I think this year will be just as scary on the OL as last, especially if Chris Bryant cannot come back healthily from his leg break.
Biggest thing is size, which particularly distinguishes Bryant versus Miller. Burzynski is 6'1 and never looked particularly proficient out there. Miller was tiny as a freshman and was a RS freshman coming off a eat-as-much-as-you-can type of off-season program. If Miller can put on another 10 pounds through this season and the off-season then he will be near good playing weight. Miller reportedly has a nasty mean-streak that the coaches like. Also, I remember TVH scouting Miller back in the day and he always thought Miller was underrated and would be a good player at the college level. Additionally, Miller will have now spent 3 years prepping to be a center while Burzynski has been primarily a guard. The coaches have used him as a jack-of-all-trades type of replacement player on the interior line. Ideally, we could have someone play C who has been prepping for it. Finally, Burzynski is walk-on so there is clearly bias against him. This is a post about OL depth concerns being gone, but we are on the edge of playing a walk-on signifcantly, which, outside of Kovacs, generally is not good. People can cite the quality of play walk-on's provide but when you are considering starting one against the Shorts, Hankins, or Jesse Williams of the world (yes, they all graduated or are going pro or not on our schedule-Thank God) that isn't good. Burzynski will obviously improve and get bigger but you cite the coaches having him compete with Barnum and Mealers' talent as a reason that we shouldn't be particularly high on Miller; this is also a reason that I am skeptical of Burzynski: he couldn't beat those two out and instead of starting Burzynski at C when Barnum wasn't adequate there, they moved Mealer away from his more comfortable position instead of starting Burzynski. Basically, Miller was another year of weight-lifting away from being able to start and after this off-season, I think it is more likely that he will be there rather than Burzynski. As to Bryant, well I've talked to much so I will say he is Big and would ideally fit better into what Borges and Hoke want to do and hopefully can help our anaemic run game.
Molk was also a Rimington winner. Burzynski may get to his size but that doesn't mean Burzynski will have Molk's strength, agility, play-recognition, or general ability to play C. Centers can be smaller and still win Rimingtons/be great an all but it requires a special player.
Miller was also off a RS year. Most teams try to avoid starting RS freshman at OL. While Lewan and Long are two recent examples of who could do that, they are the exception and not the rule.
Walk-on bias isn't necesarily that walk-ons cannot play, but that generally they are less athletic. They are the guys coaches (same coaches that you mention) were not willing to expend a scholarship on until they came to practice and earned a place in the rotation. Kovacs, Burzynski, Kwiatkowski, etc. all show they can contribute but outside of few, most all limited in their potential. Yes, there are the Kovacs and Aberrderis's of the world that become big-time playmakers, but they are the exception to the rule. The majority of guys walk-ons populate scout teams and the depth chart. Being a walk-on doesn't mean that Burzynski cannot play, but on a post commenting on finally being comfortable with OL relief, it should be worrisome that the first OL off the bench will be a walk-on or Miller/Bryant if either is beaten out, a RS freshman, or a true freshman. That does not bode well for depth. The difference between a walk-on and a recruited player is potential. Lewan is 6'7-6'8; even if a walk-on who knows how to play the position better and works harder, Lewan is going to have a better chance at being the guy that makes an elite difference because of his measurables and athleticism. Miller is 6'3-6'4 and can probably play at a greater weight (doesn't necessarily mean stronger but is an indication) while more likely retaining speed. Burzynski will make plays like Kovacs, but he wouldn't be able to make plays like Molk did.
As to your next point, RS freshman versus being a RS sophomore. Big difference. Being a RS sophomore to RS JR is a big difference also, but much closer than the first. And he was competitive, but was a pure C and the coaches didn't want a RS freshman playing C as they didn't want Burzynski.
They both will improve. I just think Miller has more potential. If we want to win a Big Ten Championship next year we need to be able to compete with Ohio and Nebraska, and I think Miller can provide more there. All in all, we still are not in a great situation either way, which is my general criticism of this post.
Ehh, this doesn't make me feel much better given that only one of our starting lineman next year will have taken a meaningful amount of snaps (although jack miller has appeared in 6 games, I don't know how many snaps he was in for and the context of those snaps).
What does make me feel slightly better is that Notre Dame is similarily replacing 4 starters on their line, so I guess we aren't the only ones.
Out of curiousity, have their been any practice reports regarding if how these now rs fr lineman have been doing in practice as part of the scout team?
Miller is still fairly undersized to play center. Hopefully he bulks up some more this offseason so he won't get bulled around.
Dreaded DP. Time to go sit out a few plays.
technically we still have a game left. Can you burn a redshirt in a bowl game?
I think jr or RS soph is pretty much the tipping point when most OL's get big enough to really play well at a major conference level. They need the time to bulk up and get stronger. I don't want to witness anymore "underclassmen playing against upperclassmen" nightmares at Michigan.
Coaches won't burn a redshirt next year if they didn't do it this year. We have versatile linemen, 2 backup sophomores on scholarship, and some preferred walkons. Still, it'll be nice when we don't have true freshmen/walkons in the two deep.
So you're worried we'll lose 3 or more of our linemen to injury? That must be rough. We have 2 scholarship backups, and some solid walkons. Coaches will go through them before they start burning redshirts. They played an entire backup line this year at times, and they have the depth to do it this year too.
Next year doesn't look like an OL improvement. If Lewan leaves (and he will), there's a real chance the OL is a tire fire, and the "Fire Borges" yells will reach cacophonous levels. I just don't see good things for Michigan offensively next year, and it all revolves around a far too young and inexperienced OL. There is talent there, but so many true and RS freshman starters on the OL = death.
Gardner is good on his feet, but look at the number of sacks in the three games leading up to OSU against rather mediocre teams... Now take away a lot of experience and we're looking at a difficult year for Gardner and RBs next year.
Michigan allowed 4 sacks in the three games leading up to OSU, or 1.33 sacks/game. That would be good enough to tie for #28 nationally.
Take away experience for the offensive line, and add experience for the QB (since, you know, Gardner was a wide receiver up until those three games), and you might end up with about the same number. I think we can deal with being 28th in sacks allowed.
And why did Denard Robinson take so few sacks? First of all, he couldn't throw very well, so Borges really scaled back on the number of pass plays he was calling. And secondly, when Robinson did drop back, he wouldn't take sacks...he would throw the ball up for grabs when pressured.
I'll take sacks over interceptions any day of the week.
I don't see the OL numbers as better.
Inside run blocking has more promise. Outside run blocking - not so much. I don't see Bryant pulling and being effective - but we haven't seen him play. That is a big body to pull. Kalis is an upgrade - but we don't know where everyone is going to be yet. Barnum was suppose to be the center out of Spring ball and that didn't happen.
Pass protection is unknown. Lewan is a loss wrt pass protection. Who will step up there? It's not going to be an upgrade regardless.
Big questions and challenges on OL.
I think you can also throw in the tight ends in there as well. An improved AJ Williams should allow for essentially a 6th offensive linemen on the field during running plays. Hopefully improvement in blocking by both him and Funchess should help alleviate some of the growing pains from playing a bunch of young guys next year.
Jury is clearly out about a starting 5 for next year, let alone quality depth. Scholfield & Miller are the only known talent - and they are role players with iso issues vs good B1G DL. 1-2 injuries could cripple us even next year.
Wellman, Funk, another stellar class and time are the key variables, but I expect YES on this same headline 1 yr from now.
I see your point, but I think the dropoff from, say, Lewan to Gunderson this year would be much worse than the dropoff from Magnuson to Braden (or at just about any position on the line) next year. I think that applies to most of the line, since I'm not sure we're really going to have any studs next year, hopefully just a cohesive unit. 1-2 injuries might force us to put some of the freshman into service, but the dropoff from there, IMO, won't be hugely significant. That's probably not a good thing, but it is what it is.
Magnus said he heard that Chris Bryant was possibly our best run blocker. So I'd add him to the list. And Hoke would've used Kalis if needed, unlike the other true freshmen, which says something.
this year, "best run blocker" is a fairly thin compliment and Kalis needs to continue developing if he didn't beat out Barnum.
Dont get me wrong, the talent and temperament of our OL is clearly moving towards Manball. But we have a bunch of starting spots that require upgrades and not merely reloading; then we need at least a strong 2nd fivesome to proclaim any depth.
Yeah, I heard that Bryant was our best interior (centers and guards) run blocker. Not better than Lewan, but that's probably expected, since Lewain is a potential first rounder.
when we can say the same about the defensive line
coaches must think DL depth is fine. They are only bringing in 3
Maurice Hurst Jr.
It is. Guys will keep moving inside like they do, but our 2013 depth (by class) should look something like NT Washington/Ash/Pipkins/Henry, DT Black/Wormley/Godin/Hurst, SDE Brink, Heitzman, Strobel, Poggi, and WDE Clark, Beyer, Ojemudia, Charleton. 4 deep at each position, likely only 2, or maybe 3 of them playing.
I am confident Funk and the boys will be ready come September. M still has bowl practice, spring ball and fall camp for the OL to get better, all the while competing against a very good DL. I got no consternation about fielding a quality OL in 2013 and then things get better from there.
The sky ain't falling.
but holy crap look at all of the "FR"s attached to those lineman's names. We were a rolled ankle or two from playing high schoolers on the line this year
I was surprised by the post, too, thinking of that many "FR"s attached to the linemen, as you say. I don't think RS Fr as "depth." When we get to 2014 and 2015 and we have 18 OL and half of them are upper classmen, THEN we can start talking about not having to worry about depth.
if we didn't still have depth issues, we wouldn't be looking to start at least 2 rs freshmen next year. i get where you're coming from, and our depth situation is definitely getting better, but we're not out of the woods yet. i say that, barring no major injuries, by the 2014 season we should be set. we will have a small army of wooly mammoths for the offensive line.
Better numbers but that doesn't mean better depth. We're on our way there barring crazy attrition or injuries.
Stanford plays a solid version of Manball and they frequently use formations with 6 or 7 OL simply because they have depth and want to pound.
Not sure if Borges embraces jumbo packages (Hoke has to be a fan), but we can definitely claim depth if we start to debate next year how to get our 7th OL on the field without burning a redshirt.
Not seeing it yet. You have 12 scholarship OL for 2013 and that is without any attrition, injuries or non-qualifiers. Normally that should be more like 18 or so. Even granting Burzynski as a legit player you are giving a lot of credit to walk-ons. Attrition does happen too and was the source of this problem in the first place. We can't even put together a two deep next year without counting either 3 true freshmen and/or walk-ons. With an injury or two in spring the entire second string OL is walk-ons. We need to go through another recruiting class cycle where we add 4-5 guys to replace Schofield (and Lewan possibly). And with limited injuries or attrition. We're getting closer but the risk is still pretty big next year.
Even more in the rear view mirror than I imagined, what with the return of Taylor Lewan