Quick Hoke Presser Tidbits: O-Line Taking Shape? Comment Count

Ace August 14th, 2014 at 6:03 PM

3/5 of the starting line for the opener? [Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog]

Brady Hoke held a presser this evening, and while Adam should have the full transcript up later, Brian asked me to do a quick rundown since this was a particularly newsworthy one. Let's start with—you guessed it—the offensive line, which seems to be taking form.

That's from left to right, and confirms what Hoke said on the radio earlier today about Braden solidifying his spot at right tackle, with Mason Cole still holding strong at LT.

While Glasgow looks to be the starter at right guard, he's suspended for the opener; Kyle Bosch and David Dawson are competing to start against Appalachian State. As for concern that Kyle Kalis hasn't been mentioned much at all this fall, there's apparently good reason for his absence:

If Hoke is to be believed, Miller is in position to do more than just start the first game—according to the man in charge, Miller is outplaying Glasgow at center. That'd be great news, as it would allow Glasgow to work at guard—where he seems to be a better option than Bosch/Dawson—and let Miller provide an apparent upgrade at center over Michigan's most consistent interior lineman from last year (that is, admittedly, not a distinction worth throwing a parade over).

UPDATE: Per Angelique Chengelis, Hoke actually said that Kalis would be a starter—though one or both of them didn't specify where—if his back was healthy.

That could mean Kalis would take over at left guard, Magnuson would slide over to left tackle, and Cole would move to the bench, or it could mean that Kalis would play right guard over Glasgow.

Michigan held a scrimmage on Wednesday, and in addition to Kalis, three other players were held out: Devin Funchess, Drake Harris, and Delano Hill. Harris is dealing with a hamstring injury, while Hill is reportedly two to three weeks away from returning from his broken jaw. No reason was given for Funchess' absence that I could find, so let's hope upon hope that it was simply "you're Devin Funchess, and we have no need to risk you."

Multiple spots are still up for grabs. Hoke praised the scrimmage performances of Derrick Green and Drake Johnson, while saying De'Veon Smith had a slow start. On the other side of the ball, Jake Ryan is the only linebacker who's locked down a starting spot.

Jabrill Peppers "has a handle" on playing nickel, so he's now getting some work in at cornerback. Given Michigan's depth there, that sounds very positive in regards to Peppers' development.

Adam will have the full transcript up at some point, but that should hold you over for now.



August 14th, 2014 at 6:22 PM ^

This is one of those situations where it's strange to be a college sports fan, in that I found myself relieved that this young man is injured. I had to remind myself that the normal human reaction should be, "Oh, how terrible for him, that sucks, I hope he gets better," not "Phew, good to know that his performance might improve at some point."

As I get old enough to plausibly be a college player's father, it's interesting to watch my viewpoint on this stuff change.


August 14th, 2014 at 6:13 PM ^

That sucks for kalis, I was suspecting he was hurt. He had issues with his back last year so I hope this isn't a chronic thing. Too bad for the team too, I thought he was our best guy in the spring game.


August 14th, 2014 at 6:45 PM ^

My wife tweaked her back and she recovered within a few months.  Then again, she rehabbed it like it was a new religion.  It's well after the pain's gone, she's down with a fever right now but last night still insisted on doing her back rehab yesterday.  So, yeah, um, my point is that it depends on the extent of the injury, necessary treatment, rehab prospects and the diligence of the patient.

In Kalis' case, he stopped being mentioned long before this back thing came out, and while Hoke has always been very guarded about details, he won't hesitate to say someone has a "boo-boo".  So I'm thinking prior to this news (even if true) Kalis hasn't been held back by injury, but there's probably something he's not getting.  Maybe he's slacking off, or struggles with consistency. . . and mind you, Hoke has been known to lie to protect his players when he feels telling the truth might do more harm than good.  For example, if Kalis is homesick, I've been there -- it can get as bad as acute depression.  But good luck telling that to the media.  There would be trolls telling him to kill himself within seconds.

Mind you that's purely speculative on my part, but what I'm saying is, there are a gajillion reasons to A) doubt what Hoke's saying that he's injured yet B) not be too worried about Kalis, either.  He's human, and thus it's perfectly possible -- likely, even -- he has problems outside football that is none of our business.  Or he could be injured.  I just consider any non-specific news on Kalis at this potint to be non-information.

Anyway, not everyone progresses at the same rate, so it's way too early to say he's a bust.


August 14th, 2014 at 6:28 PM ^

Yeah, sounds like Funchess is banged up.  But probably not badly, as it hasn't received Hoke's "booboo" label.

Glad to hear Drake Johnson is still getting praise.  He looked like he had serious top-end speed last year, and I felt so bad that he went down early.  Really hope he gets some more reps this year.  If he continues to be ranked #2, no matter who is trading spots at #1 and #3, that should happen. 


August 14th, 2014 at 6:15 PM ^

I had thought that if ever there was a lineman ready to play in college, it was Kugler above all these others.  I wonder what the issue is that's holding him back.  He had the guru ratings, the dad who was an NFL O-line coach (and now a head coach), the size, everything.


August 14th, 2014 at 6:27 PM ^

...competing against two redshirt juniors with starting experience at the O-line position that requires the most knowledge of the offense and ability to make calls and command the line.

Any concern about Kugler is way premature.


August 14th, 2014 at 7:01 PM ^

Center is a key leadership position, and we're probably better off starting either Miller or Glasgow who both have game experience than Kugler: someone entirely new for a third year in a row (actually we broke in 3 new centers in 2 seasons).

Of the three, Miller is the only one who has been at center his whole time at Michigan (if not in games, certainly in practice), so I would expect him to have the most experience at recognizing coverage and making assignment calls at the line.

Without two NFL bound seniors at either tackle spot to provide counter-guidance - perhaps these guys can act as one from the center out.


August 14th, 2014 at 6:42 PM ^

Well...I swore Josh Furman was going to be awesome too.....

I think Kugler will have his day. If this line turns out half decent this year...welcome to the future. A future FULL OF DEPTH, TALENT, and COMPETITION. We are due!!


August 14th, 2014 at 9:08 PM ^

People are expecting way, way, way too much out of young linemen. He was a high school offensive tackle who was switching to center for college. That's a big change, and he has experienced guys ahead of him. Let's slow down with the constant hype train for freshmen.


August 15th, 2014 at 8:55 AM ^

Yes, it isn't.  Anyone who doesn't see this does not follow football closely enough.

This line will be no better than last years.  Its the teams achilles heals, and all hope will rest in Devin being a little better than last year and being the savior of this offense (and the D being as advertised, which i do believe will be).

But man, you have to feel for Devin.  Possibly one of the top QB's to ever put on a Michigan uniform, but does not get a chance to show what he can really do because he just happened to play during the worst offensive lines in Michigan football history (and still is puting up great stats).  Running for his life every play, or taking a big hit every other play.

Honestly, Devin is not getting the respect he deserves.  Without Devin last year, what do we win?  4 games +/- 1?

And to make matters worse, next year our line will have more experience and another year of S&C, so it will at least return to average in the big ten, which is a HUGE jump.  But then we will be breaking in a new QB.


Just wish a junior/senior Gardner would have had the opportunity to be behind a great line.  He would have broke some records.


August 15th, 2014 at 1:23 PM ^

Perhaps it is crude, but I challenge you to show that a line can perform at a high level when one or two players on it are below average players.

My point is that the interior of the line was not good for various reasons, but we have reason to believe it will improve. The tackles are obviously new, but if they can perform decently (which isn't out of the question in my opinion), we may actually be OK on the offensive line.

Boom Goes the …

August 14th, 2014 at 6:24 PM ^

forces you to bring your best every day and doesn't allow for complacency.  I like the feel of this team that they are hungry.  I hope Kalis can recover and compete for that G spot, but if Miller is really improved, Glasgow will be a solid G


August 14th, 2014 at 6:27 PM ^

I'm massively worried.  It helps that Hoke is hyping him up a bit, but nonetheless, it's definitely a major concern that won't go away unless he does somewhat solid against ND.

On the positive side of things, it sure seems like true freshman Cam Robinson is going to be starting at LT for Bama...and they're Bama.


August 15th, 2014 at 1:09 PM ^

No doubt Cole was very good in HS--probably the best OL in Florida c/o 2014--and I remember him really impressing at the Opening against the best talent in the county.  And although he's barely 6-5 I think he could be a better tackle than guard because (at least in HS) he wasn't an elite drive blocker.  Most analysts thought he could be a starting tackle at a BCS program, but only after he spent time in a S&C program and added at least 20 pounds of good weight.  According to his roster bio, he's only 292.  So he may be vulnerable against the bull rush.

Last, just as surprising as Cole getting the start at LT is that not one of the elite OL from the c/o 2013 is mentioned in the starting 5.


August 14th, 2014 at 10:37 PM ^

and 15-20 pounds heavier in HS he probably would have been rated much higher than his already damn good #126 in the 247 composite.

We have to remember the NFL potential factor in star-rankings and Cole will never be a prototypical NFL tackle unless he has a late growth spurt.

Even if he plays LT this year, I wouldn't be surprised if he moves to the interior line or RT later in his M career if LTT or JBB ever develop from project to prototype tackle.


August 15th, 2014 at 10:49 AM ^

If Cole's as good as Hoke's hyping him up to be, I wouldn't be shocked if he stays at LT, and you make a good point re: the lack of ideal NFL measurables being something that affects star ratings.  I think the comparable for Cole might be Zack Martin at Notre Dame -- he was 6'4"; unlike Cole, he redshirted, but as a RS frosh they plugged him in at LT and he started almost every single game there the next four years as one of the better OL in the country. Ended up getting drafted at #16 by the Cowboys, who projected him from the beginning as an NFL guard because of his height and shorter arms. Cole supposedly has long, tackle-length arms, which mitigates the height issue a bit.

This is a semi-hot-seat year (at the least) for Hoke, so if he's trusting his senior QB's blind side to a true frosh, the kid must be pretty damn good. I also think this might be about getting the best group of 5 on the field, and having really top-notch guys w/experience at the interior spots for the inside zone-based offense. Magnuson's obviously one of the Top 5; if they prefer him at LG and Cole at LT, that must mean in the coaches' eyes Cole @LT > Bosch/Kalis at Guard. So Cole/Magnuson/Miller/Glasgow/Braden are your top 5, with Kalis/Bosch/Dawson being your first three off the bench.


Zone Left

August 14th, 2014 at 6:25 PM ^

My bet is Magnuson moves outside if Kalis can come back. I really hope Cole is Taylor Lewan as a redshirt freshman, but it just seems so improbable that he can come from high school, spend a summer lifting weights, and be ready to play at this level.