Long-term OL Depth Concern

Submitted by UMaD on October 25th, 2010 at 2:47 PM

The Campbell-Washington swap is bad news because it further depletes the depth on the OL.  Q. Washington is a RS freshman while Campbell is a sophomore, so unless Campbell redshirts, he's yet another player on the OL that will depart after the 2012 season. The coaching staff is setting themselves up for some serious concerns going beyond that. I admit this is premature, but I also think its reasonable.  Here's my logic:

2012 - the OL should be a team strength, as its is in 2010 and 2011.

T:  Lewan (JR), Schofield (JR)

G:  Omameh (SR), Barnum (SR) Mealer (SR) Campbell (SR)

C:  Khoury (SR),  Pace (SO)

Two things to notice:  very little depth at OT (though Barnum appears able to move around) and a lot of seniors, which means bad things for 2013.


T: Lewan (SR) Schofield (SR)

G: -

C: Pace (JR)

With Q Washington's presumed move to DL to address current depth problems, the long-term OL depth is further depleted.  Only 3 OL would remain from the last two recruiting classes.  You want upperclassmen on your OL, even moreso than at other positions. Lewan, Schofield and Pace would be the only upperclassmen on the OL, and this assumes no further attrition

Obviously, recruiting has to fill the gaps here, but to what extent can we count on the 2011 and 2012 class to do so?

The 2012 recruiting class won't help in 2012 and will be RS freshman in 2013.  Usually RS freshman don't play, but occasionally there are superstars like Lewan who can do this well.  These people are rare.  We can't count on this happening again.

The 2011 class (RS freshman in 2012) may not get much experience behind a veteran unit in 2012, but will be needed in 2013, many of them will be counted on to be starters as RS sophomores.


OL is THE critical recruiting concern for the 2011 class.  These players, particularly the OGs, almost HAVE to pan out for Michigan to have a chance of being competitive in 2013.  For those who want to argue that this is all premature and alot of things can happen, what do you see fixing the situation?  More position switches from the DL?  Transfers?  JUCOs?  Another Lewan/Long type in the 2012 class?

There will be next to no returning experience on the 2013 OL. We absolutely NEED Miller, Fisher, Posada and whoever else  joins them (Bryant, Zettell, ?) to stick around and develop.

I know its popular to hope for hyped recruits to be saviors on the defensive but the long-term depth there looks great compared to OL. The coaching staff has put themselves into a corner.  I'd really like to see them recruit a minimum of 5 OL with maybe a guy like Zettel who can play either side added into the mix in case things don't work as hoped with some of the others.



October 25th, 2010 at 2:51 PM ^

I'm not saying its a bad move.  I trust the coaches if they think QWash is better at DL and WC is better at OL.  I'm just hoping they see the long-term depth concerns and talk WC into red-shirting.


October 25th, 2010 at 2:57 PM ^

We have 2 seniors a junior and 2 reshirt soph's in the starting line?  Not bad.   You forgot about the next 2 Taylor Lewans we sign next year when were averaging 55pts a game.

On the downside T. Lewan will be gone as a top 10 draft pick and won't be playing in 2013, so ther's that.


October 25th, 2010 at 2:57 PM ^

You are worrying about the staff swapping a RS FR on offense for a SO on defense in 2010 and its potential impact in 2013? We have plenty of depth problems -- this is not one of them.


October 25th, 2010 at 3:16 PM ^

Not sure having people to play OL in three years is some huge concern.  In fact, its zero concern considering we already have three commits and likely lead for Bryant.  Why didn't you plug those guys into your matrix?  Seems odd.


October 25th, 2010 at 3:00 PM ^

I'm going to trust the coaches knowing what they are doing recruiting wise when looking at the team in 3 years.  I am going to guess they have a plan to recruit the o-line heavily once the defense is squared away.


October 25th, 2010 at 3:00 PM ^

I think you bring up some good points, but so many things can happen between now and then that it's really hard to project any of this.  You're talking about three seasons down the road.  We don't even know if the Washington position switch is going to stick or if Campbell with redshirt next season.  Wouldn't this be better to talk about in the offseason?


October 25th, 2010 at 3:07 PM ^

I don't mind this post; he's merely raising the thought "hey, this is something to pay attention to...hope the coaches are..."  I myself hadn't thought this through, and sort of agree that it's a bit far down the road, but given all that's happen on D, I don't mind someone calling this stuff out. 

The Name

October 25th, 2010 at 3:13 PM ^

Yes, but at the same time if the coaches are making these decisions its not like those moving were considered bona fide studs at those positions. Rich Rod's not saying "yeah, Will would be a certified all american at DT, but lets move him to Guard"

Recruiting ranks and stars be damned. If a guy isnt performing at a position lets not cry if he gets moved to another, where the coaches think he will have more value.

Also as to possible Oline shortages, we do this thing called recruiting. We do it every year, and it gets new players on our team as old ones leave. It works pretty well.


October 25th, 2010 at 3:17 PM ^

That's fair, I don't think moving QWash destroys depth per se, I just like any overall topic that takes a look at depth or a particular facet of the team.  In other words, I don't think this post is necessarily out of place.  It's discussion material.


October 25th, 2010 at 3:20 PM ^


Our recruiting class this year is absolutley solid on the OL.. and if Toms predicitons are right we have 4-5 guys coming in that will redshirt and be ready as RS So in 2013..

I really like Posada, Miller and Fisher, and add to that the possibility of Elliot and Bryant and the last thing Ill be worried about in 2013 will be OL depth.. We only need 2 of those 5 to be competent B10 OL after 2.5 years of Barwisination.

Now, if you had raised the question about DL, I'd listen.


October 25th, 2010 at 3:54 PM ^

I agree that we'll end up with 4 or 5 good OL prospect.  The issue is that 2 or 3 of them MUST be able to start in 2013.  Thats a really aggressive goal. 

Consider the 2008 class (Omameh, Barnum, Mealer, Oneal, Wermers).  2 of those 3 are gone, one looks like a stud, two others look like solid players.  But how much worse is this team if Barnum or Mealer start instead of Schilling?

Look at the 2009 class (Lewan, Schofield, Washington, Campbell).  1 stud, 1 solid prospect, 2 guys switching positions half way through their sophomore/junior year.  Lewan is a rockstar, but if Schofield is a starter this team takes a step back.

If we land another couple of recruiting class that match up with the 2008 or 2009 classes we'll be OK, but its far from certain.  Lewans and Omamehs don't always come around.

The Campbell-Washington swap doesn't tilt the axis of the world, but it makes an existing concern slightly bigger.


October 25th, 2010 at 4:04 PM ^

I'm thinking you're forgetting one thing... both Campbell and Washington are ridiculously young. Both of them could possibly end up starting on either line at some point in the next 3-4 years (assuming a RS is in Campbells future).. and I like the odds of letting Frey mold Campbell into a solid OT/G etc. Dont forget that Lewan had to displace a starter to be where he is.

And your forgetting, we still have all of next year to land another Lewan/Long/Beast. Im guessing OL will look at Michigan and see the fact that we run the hell outta the football (lots of lineman love to punish defenders, not sit back and play protect the Q for 4 secs) and think that this place is where they want to be.
No reason to fret over 3 years from now...  you might be worrying about a team that has just won a national title.


October 25th, 2010 at 4:14 PM ^

I agree that we'll end up with 4 or 5 good OL prospect.  The issue is that 2 or 3 of them MUST be able to start in 2013.  Thats a really aggressive goal. 

Not necessarily.  There  may well be players from the 2012 class who will be ready to play in 2013, their redshirt freshman year.  Good offensive linemen often see the field early.    Schilling, Molk, Omameh and Lewan all started as redshirt freshman.  And that's not just a function of us not having depth after the transition; we have a long tradition of four-year starters at OL.  Our 1997 OL, for example, started three redshirt frosh (Hutchinson, Backus and Brandt). 

Bottom line: 2013 is a long way away.  You do not need to stress out about it.


October 25th, 2010 at 4:53 PM ^

for RS freshman to play on good teams. 

Schilling was not good as a freshman. I don't remember Molk starting but that team won 3 games, and Omameh's team won 5...and he was forced into duty only after Molk got hurt.

The '97 team OL is a good argument.  I guess I just wonder how often Hutchinson and Backus types come around.  We're talking about NFL 1st rounders.  And Hutchinson was moved over from DL because the team had sufficient depth there...

If freshman start, you want it to be Lewan beating out a senior, not Schofield forced into action.  Bottom line: you don't want to depend on stud OL coming through the system.  If it happens, great, but there should be a Plan B - your more veteran OL.


October 25th, 2010 at 5:00 PM ^

Its exceedingly rare for RS freshman to play on good teams.
This simply is not true.  Maybe it was true 30 years ago, but in the age of 85 scholarships it happens all the time.  Heck, Justin Boren played as a true freshman in 2006 (Carr's second-best team).  Nowadays, if a lineman does not crack the starting lineup by the end of his third season in the program, he almost certainly won't be a very good player. 


October 25th, 2010 at 5:15 PM ^

Is when that rule was adopted. 

There was an absolutely amazing and not replecable class playing in 1997 - 2000 (Hutchinson, Backus, Williams, etc.)

Looking at Rivals commit years by year only takes us back to 2002, but let at those classes.

'02:  Berishaj, Bihl, Kolodziej, Riley.  4 recruits, I think Rily is the only starter, and he did so as an upperclassmen

'03  Kraus, Long, Sharrow, Zutah.  4 recruits, Long, obvs, argues your case.  Kraus...I don't remember him starting as an underclassmen

'04 Mitchell, Gallimore, DeBenedictis, Cilla, Branch.  5 recruits.  Mitchell started, I think, but he did so only as an upperclassmen and he stunk at it.  Everyone else flamed out or moved to DL - which is where some of the problems in '08 originate -- This class stunk!

'05 McAvoy, Moosman, Ortmann, Schifano, Slocum, Zirbel.  6 recruits. McAvoy, Moosman, Ortmann...all started, none as underclassman AFAIK.

'06 Boren, Dorrestein, Schilling.  3 recruits - 2 started as underclassmen, Dorrestein...I don't think he did.

So, thats 20 some recruits (removing some DL switch guys) over 5 years.  Only 3 of them started as underclassmen, from what I remember, but lets say I missed a couple and its 5.  Thats a pretty low success rate of around ~25% of recruits. 

My point is you don't want to pin your hopes on this, because Tyler Lewan and Jake Long are less common than Dan Oneal and Jeremy Ciulla.

I agree that the great players will often emerge as starters earlier, but expecting that to happen again is like expecting a Charles Woodson, Ty Law, Marlin Jackson to come from your next recruiting classes.



October 25th, 2010 at 5:31 PM ^

And if you notice, our star linemen invariably saw the field by the third year in the program.  The guys who didn't play until their fourth or fifth year, almost without exception, turned out to be mediocre players. 

Yes, the star players are the exception.  But that's always true.  You normally have like 15 OL on scholarship.  Only five can play.  You don't need every OL recruit to be awesome, just one or two per class.  In 2013, the HS seniors we are currently recruiting will be redshirt sophomores.  The players we will recruit next year will be redshirt freshmen.  That's two classes of players to fill those spots.  No reason to panic. 


October 25th, 2010 at 6:06 PM ^

"You don't need every OL recruit to be awesome, just one or two per class."

Thats just the problem, most classes DON'T have the awesome guys.  Our success in 2013 depends on finding them - TWICE.  You've helped convinced me that its more probable than I originally thought, but its still a big area of concern.  No panic here...just a dark cloud in the distance that I'm keeping an eye on.

We've seen where whiffing in consecutive classes has done to the secondary. The hole was evident years ago but everyone assumed recruiting would will the void. It hasn't, despite massive hype for guys like Turner, Dorsey, Christian.  Even a sure-fire 5-star stud like DWarren, while impactful, didn't help the team nearly as much as we hoped even though he started as a freshman (out of need).


October 25th, 2010 at 4:30 PM ^

more or less...but OL is a position where its particularly uncommon for underclassmen to be successful.  RB, CB, DL, etc. a young guy can come in and be effective.  OL - the occassional Lewan/Long, aside, its rare.

That makes OL a bit more straightforward to project.


October 25th, 2010 at 4:40 PM ^

As I noted just above, this is incorrect.  It's very common for star O-linemen to be three- or four-year starters.  What's actually rare is for a guy to sit on the bench for 3-4 years and then step in and be a quality starter.  Generally speaking, if a lineman doesn't start by his redshirt sophomore season, he probably won't turn out to be very good.


October 25th, 2010 at 4:56 PM ^

Look back from the stable years of the program (Prior to say 2006 and sophomore starters on the OL were a rare thing).  The last few years are an anomoly.

I agree that talents like Lewan, Long, Hutchinson, Backus will emerge, but these guys are the exception.  More often you have Pape, Dorrestein, types.


October 25th, 2010 at 7:45 PM ^

is that you seem to be advocating recruiting 5-10 top end 5-star ol per year to make sure we have a dominating ol every year, then you argue against young players playing, but then you say you want them to all be long/lewan types that start early, but you don't want them to start early.
Personally, I found this whole argument to be very high on Duh Derp, and FUD factors.


October 25th, 2010 at 6:19 PM ^

This may be MGoPropoganda I was fed, but I could have sworn the reason why we only took 1 OL was as follows.  We whiffed on all of our primary targets (the only one I can think of right now is Torrian Wilson).  The coaches determined that this year's 2011 class was deeper and they were more confident in being able to land some of their top targets.

Therefore, they made a conscious effort to use these scholarships for other more pressing needs and to only take an OL if a bona-fide prospect came along (e.g. Seantrel Henderson, etc.)


October 25th, 2010 at 3:24 PM ^

IMO you always want at least 7 or 8 linemen ready to play. Players are rarely ready to play before their 3rd year in the program. As of now we've got 3 guys who will fit the criteria on the team, the remainder must be made up in this recruiting class and so far we only have two. I'm not panicking, but if we don't add at least another two recruits we're asking for problems.


October 25th, 2010 at 3:13 PM ^

Relax.  Haven't seen anyone mention their names yet, but we have two OL commits this year in Jacob FIsher and Tony Posada.  We could even land Zettel if the season goes well enough.  That's three people right there that would be Juniors or RS Sophomores in 2013.  No panic necessary.  You sir, are getting WAAAAAAAAAAY ahead of yourself.

Same arguement can be made for 2013 QBs... On no we only have Devin Gardner, panic!  /s It'll shake itself out.


October 25th, 2010 at 3:43 PM ^

Khoury's performance against Iowa when compared to Moosman's struggles last season backing up the same position, showed again that this program develops excellent offensive linemen.

Lewan was second string to start the year too don't forget. Another example would be that Patrick was totally off the radar until the mid-season position shuffling last season too. 

The remote problem would be complete neglect recruiting causing lack of numbers.  Never gonna happen.


October 25th, 2010 at 3:49 PM ^

If you had done this analysis then you would have said:


C: Molk


OT. Huyge, Dorrestein

OMG, DOOM!!!  Most of our line will be underclassman on the 2-deep and how about injuries and transfers? Shilling might go pro early.

Looking at 2010 I'd say our OL is looking pretty good now.  If we keep recruiting and developing OL talent like we have I see no reason we shouldn't be in a similar position in 2013. Far greater things to worry about right now.


October 25th, 2010 at 4:03 PM ^

But the thing is we've done an absolutely killer job at recruting the OL position in the '08 and '09 classes.  Lewan and Omameh look like first round NFL picks.  Is this repeatable?  Yes. It is possible for underclassmen OL starters to emerge.

Is it likely?   I'm not so sure.  Thats a lot of faith in recruits.

Also, 2 other points:

1.  The OL was terrible in '08 and '09 so some of these guys (e.g. Omameh) got to play and gain experience before they became starters.  Thats unlikey to happen again in '11 and '12.

2. 4 is better 3.  If Schilling goes down, this OL takes a step back and requires 2 sophomore starters.