B1G Offensive Line Sizes

Submitted by BlueGoM on September 23rd, 2014 at 11:17 PM

Hello.  First Diary entry, woo! [ EDIT: Lol nope, my 2nd. forgot about the one I did  in '09]

So, when the offensive line struggles, the claim is frequently made that the offensive line is too small.   I heard this alot on call-in radio shows during the RR era, and it's starting to creep back into style, or so it seems to me.

So, I thought let's see just how big Michigan's line is compared to the rest of the B1G.   I basically went through every B1G teams site, got the roster and then checked the game participation notes from the most recent game they were in to see who was listed as starting on the OL.

I then computed the average weight of the OL for that team/game.

Notes: I didn't include any TE's or FB.  Just  from one tackle to the other.

I didn't check for situation subs (unbalanced lines, etc.)

I went by weight alone, didn't look at height.  Perhaps I should have gone by body mass index?

Would be nice to do a comparison of games played / experience as well.  Maybe next time.

Also some teams rather suspiciously seemed to have players weights in exact increments of 5 pounds. Some teams roster's were worse than others in this regard.  But the roster is all I really have to go on, so, it is what it is.

So, here is the sorted list of average weight of offensive lines in the Big Ten.

Weight Team
321.0  Wisconsin
312.8  Penn_State
312.0  Minnesota
308.0  Illinois
304.8  Purdue
303.8  OSU
303.6  Michigan*
302.0  Nebraska
300.6  MSU
299.0  Rutgers
299.0  Maryland
298.0  Iowa
295.0  Indiana
294.0  Northwestern

*If Kalis is in UM's line instead of Glasgow, the average drops to 301.0

Michigan is smack right in the middle.  No surprise Wisconsin is tops, by a relatively large margin.  Iowa, a somewhat run-first offense, is surprisingly near the bottom.  Indiana's potent offense is also only at 295.

The most notable thing here is probably that in terms of weight most lines are roughly the same.

So IMO this shows that Michigan's line isn't undersized.  To some this may not be a big deal, but I've always bristled at the claims of UM's line being small for a reason for them struggling.  I always felt that is just a knee jerk superficial criticism. It's kind of a pet peeve and I wanted to dispel any such notion.

Raw data below

52    Mason Cole    OL    6-5    292    FR
78    Erik Magnuson    OL    6-6    294    RS SO
60    Jack Miller    OL    6-4    299     RS JR
61    Graham Glasgow    OL    6-6    311    RS JR
71    Ben Braden    OL    6-6    322    RS SO

67    Kyle Kalis    OL    6-5    298    RS SO

average weight: 303.6
w/Kalis instead of Glasgow:  301.0


LT 71 Lewis, Alex 290
LG 68 Cotton, Jake  305
C 56 Pelini, Mark  290
RG 74 Moudy, Mike  305
RT 57 Sterup, Zach 320

LT       66      Cermin, Cameron  303
LG       72      King, Jason      309
C       57      Kugler, Robert   298
RG       70      Roos, Jordan     312
RT       73      Prince, J.J.     302


LT       68      Cvijanovic, S.  310
LG       5H      Hill, Alex      310
C       71      Spencer, Joe    300
RG       69      Karras, Ted     310
RT       74      Heitz, Michael  310


LT       65      Campion, Josh  317
LG       52      Epping, Zac    318
C       58      Olson, Tommy   306
RG       77      Bush, Foster   304
RT       78      Lauer, Ben     315

LT       78      Jorgensen, Paul 295
LG       53      Mogus, Geoff     295
C       66      Vitabile, B.     300
RG       57      Frazier, Matt    290
RT       76      Olson, Eric      290

LT       68      Scherff, B.     320
LG       79      Welsh, Sean     285
C       63      Blythe, Austin  290
RG       65      Walsh, Jordan   290
RT       78      Donnal, Andrew  305

LT       68      Decker, Taylor   315
LG       65      Elflein, Pat     300
C       50      Boren, Jacoby    285
RG       54      Price, Billy     312
RT       76      Baldwin, Darryl  307

RT       59      Nelson, Andrew  305
RG       53      Dowrey, Derek   323
C       66      Mangiro, Angelo 309
LG       70      Mahon, Brendan  292
LT       76      Smith, Donovan  335


74    Jack Conklin    OT    6-6    303    SO
63    Travis Jackson    OL    6-4    291    SR
66    Jack Allen    C    6-2    299    JR
76    Donavon Clark    OL    6-4    306    JR
79    Kodi Kieler    OL    6-6    304    SO
average weight:  300.6


61    Marz, Tyler    OL    6-5    321    RS JR
73    Lewallen, DallasOL    6-6    321    RS SR
70    Voltz, Dan    OL    6-3    311    RS SO
54    Costigan, Kyle    OL    6-5    319    RS SR
78    Havenstein, Rob    OL    6-8    333    RS SR

average: 321


Lumpkin 310
Johnson 300
Bujari 295
Muller 300
Alexander 290
average: 299


LT   78 Spriggs, Jason    300                
LG   68 Kaminski, David   295              
C    64 Rahrig, Collin    285                
RG   67 Feeney, Dan       305             
RT   62 Evans, Ralston    290
average 295


T       76      Dunn        300
G       68      Altamirano  290
C       65      Conaboy     295
G       66      Zeller      310
T       55      Doyle       300
avg 299




September 24th, 2014 at 8:16 AM ^

The extra 20 pounds must make a difference in O.L. play. Wisconsin doesn't seem to ever have issues with blocking no matter who they plug in there every year.They always create big holes for their running backs.


September 25th, 2014 at 3:41 PM ^

sacks are up, pressure is up, the pass game is down and it ain't all on the QB

the run blocking does look better though

Just ask yourself if it makes any sense that going from Lewan/Schofield to Cole/Braden can be an improvement, even with adding a year for the guys inside.


September 24th, 2014 at 7:39 AM ^

I did keep that info, but what I was thinking of doing was comparing the number of starts along with the number of years with the same offensive coordinator,  rather than just 3rd year , 4th year.

There is this:


But I think that is a bit outdated and probably didn't account for Mason Cole (true freshman) starting.



September 24th, 2014 at 9:28 AM ^

A couple things I noticed:

1) Michigan has 322-lb. Ben Braden at RT, and the only other 300-pounder is Glasgow (311). The left side of the line actually is a bit undersized.

2) I think undersized linemen is potentially more of an issue for a team like M that wants to run inside zone and mash people off the ball, compared with a more finess-style spread like, say, Indiana.

3) I do think strength and technique are ultimately far more important than pure mass, but often weight does correspond to strength. An upper-classman OL who has polished technique and weighs 315 lbs. because he's been through several years of college S&C is going to be a hell of a lot better than a first or second-year lineman who weighs 295 because he hasn't had the S&C yet (or who weighs 315 because he's carrying an extra 20 lbs. of fat).

Space Coyote

September 24th, 2014 at 9:35 AM ^

And really agree with point number 3.

Beyond that, and it's outside the scope of this exercise, but it's difficult to say how much any of these numbers are fudged. We can probably guess a bit with the Michigan players, but it would be unfair only to apply that to our guys and not other guys.

For instance, I'm guessing that Cole is not his listed weight. I'm guessing he's in the mid-to-low 280s. I don't think Mags or Miller are really at that weight either, probably high-280s to low-290s. But that sort of thing is likely fudged at all schools to some degree, probably less so with the older guys than the younger guys, but still.

In the end if comes down to technique I think most importantly, then functional strength. Mags, for instance, doesn't have a great body to have functional strength on the inside. He's lean. He's an OT playing inside out of necessity. I don't think this team is too far behind anyone else, I think the conclusion is probably about right (they are just about average in size for the B1G), where they currently lack is functional strength (particularly on the left size) and technique.


September 24th, 2014 at 1:13 PM ^

Agreed with the general idea that strength matters more than just mass. 

Good example is David Molk, IIRC he never was over 300 as a player yet wound up winning the Rimington trophy. 

Unfortunately we don't have access to the weightlifting performance of the players, and as I mentioned people tend to reflexively revert to "gotta get bigger dudes" when an OL struggles.


September 26th, 2014 at 10:36 PM ^

Strength is such a vague word.  What does strength mean...a one reprtition max on a bench, squat, deadlift, hang clean, etc.?  Does it mean pushing another man backwards?  For example to be a good bench presser it's beneficial to have shorter arms ala Molk.  Molk benched more at the combine than Mike Martin.  Does that mean Molk is stronger than Martin? Having longer arms is typicall more beneficial at almost every position in football and as an offensive lineman which is why Lewan is a better lineman than Molk.  I'd be willing to bet the highest lifters in any position on their teams are almost never the best position players, even at offensive line.  Ultimately being an offensive lineman is more complex than that.  Being a good offensive lineman is what's important, not just being strong.  You can have a bigger or smaller, stronger or weaker, faster or slower guy and still be a good offensive lineman.  A position is not that simple and is more complex than that.  Also, confidnece, knowledge of the system, understanding your assignment, etc. all go into this and why older players are better...not just size and strength.  Saying strength is important IMO has no real meaning in the context in which it was used.


September 27th, 2014 at 9:32 AM ^

I hear what you're saying, but I think you have to quantify what specifically strength means if you're going to say that.  IMO strength is not the most important factor, motor control is.  As Stu McGill once said "The best athletes rarely outperform their peers in pre-season testing like bench pressing and squatting.  Their distinguishing qualities are motor control.  The ability to exert strength quickly, deactivate muscle quickly, and optimally project forces throughout the body linkage is characteristic of this skill."


September 24th, 2014 at 9:56 AM ^

In regards to the "increments of 5" comment, I'm totally fine with that. Most guys don't weigh the same every single day, and a generic "his average day he weighs X" is close enough. I'm pretty consistent with my diet, workouts, etc., and I regularly bounce around between 198 and 205, so when asked I just say I'm 200. Not to mention weight differences from morning to evening.


September 24th, 2014 at 1:19 PM ^

Agreed, it's just that some rosters this seemed more prevalent than others which seemed a bit fishy - like they didn't have the real info and the media guy just made it up :)

Maryland's roster seemed especially bad about this.


Michigan's roster doesn't  have the 5 lb increment thing, so at least superficially seems more legit.





September 24th, 2014 at 11:11 AM ^

Cole is a true freshman so I expect he will bulk up a bit over his career. I'm hoping at least 310.  Magnuson has always had issues adding weight to his frame so I don't expect him to grow at all.  Miller is a good 15 pounds bigger than Molk was.  Glasgow and Braden are where they need to be size wise.