The Return to Manball-

Submitted by O Fo Sho on November 27th, 2012 at 8:31 AM

You can't play manball without a solid run-blocking OL.  I think our offense will benefit from losing most of their line to graduation.  Unfortunately it appears very likely that Lewan could also be gone.  With that said, I'm sure our coaches were tempted to throw some of these FR in, primarily Kalis.  In the long run we'll benefit by these guys not blowing their redshirts.  With that said, what will our OL look like next year?


Magnuson, Kalis, Miller (or Kuglar), Bryant, Schofield (or Braden)




November 27th, 2012 at 8:42 AM ^

Assuming Lewan leaves, I'd guess Schofield plays LT. Braden probably takes the RT job since Magnuson still needs to add some weight; he's probably the first guy off the bench at T.

Kalis definitely takes one of the guard spots, probably LG. Bryant wins the other as I don't think we have any other guard-type guys who would be ready to step in. That's where missing out on Garnett (and, to a lesser extent, Dawson) hurts the most.

No way Kugler wins the C position out of high school - he's simply not big enough and is unlikely to get big enough by the start of the season. Miller has the inside track.

My guess is, from left to right: Schofield-Kalis-Miller-Bryant-Braden


November 27th, 2012 at 11:24 AM ^

No, Blake Bars did not see the field this year and I see him more of a guard. I think he will be a Mealer type of player and fit in just about any where along the OL though and may get a shot a little later in his career. But it is possible he fits in before his Junior / Senior seasons. 


November 27th, 2012 at 9:51 AM ^

Sorry, but unless something major happens, Lewan isn't going in the second round this year. At this point, he's projected to go in the top-10, maybe top-15 at worst. I hope he stays (and if he does, he's got a very good shot at being a top-3 pick with a strong showing during his senior year), but it's hard to pass up a shot at the NFL. So I'm still guessing that he'll thank everyone for all they've done for him and ride off into the sunset.

Perkis-Size Me

November 27th, 2012 at 8:59 AM ^

really have to say that i'm happy kalis, magnuson, and all of the o-line freshman look to be getting redshirts, barring an o-line catastrophe before/during the bowl game. that is probably the most critical position that a player needs time and development for before being ready.

the line looks to be full of talent next year, although it will be really young talent, and it might take until the 2014 season before it all really starts to gel together.

swan flu

November 27th, 2012 at 9:33 AM ^

Web is a bigger upgrade: Countess "replacing" Floyd, or Bryant replacing Barnum?

Most will likely say Countess, but I would not be surprised to see our interior run game explode next year with better play from the guards.

Pulled P

November 27th, 2012 at 9:56 AM ^

You can't play manball without a sun-blocking OL.

How I understood the OP's first sentence:

(Nodding along) Yes, of course. You need some O-linemen so huge they'd block the sun. Wait a second, sun-blocking? Did the OP mean the whitey stuff? I know some players play with built-in visors, but sun-block??


November 27th, 2012 at 9:55 AM ^

Kalis is manball defined, he sets the tone for an ultra aggressive OL . As next season goes by our OL gets stronger and stronger. As a former OL, I can't wait to get back to mauling. There is a beauty in lining up on third and three and slamming the ball down the defenses throat!!



November 27th, 2012 at 10:01 AM ^

I disagree that Kugler won't win the starting C job based simply on size.  First of all, listings I've seen have him at 280 right now.  That's what Molk signed at as well (though Kugler is a few inches taller), and the last listing I saw for Miller was 263.

Considering what Kugler's father does for a living, I would say his strength training and technique should be pretty advanced.  While Miller is simply 2 years older, making his body more mature, and has been in the system to know the current playbook (which will hopefully change, minimizing his advantage) - it seems like that may be the only edge he has.  There's no reason to believe Kugler can't come in during the summer at 290 or more.

He may not win the job, but size shouldn't be an automatic reason why.  Yes, Mealer is listed at 310 - a full 30 lbs more than Kugler, but again that's almost 50 more than Miller!

Young John Beilein

November 27th, 2012 at 10:20 AM ^

Mgoblue has Miller at 6-4 and 288.  Recruiting sites tend to inflate player weights, particularly with linemen.  I do not believe Kugler will be enrolling early.  Hoke redshirted all the linemen this year.  Putting together all of these facts, I conclude that it is not likely Kugler will be the starting center next year.


November 27th, 2012 at 10:23 AM ^

Last I saw on Miller was 6'4" 288 (per Yahoo, ESPN, and even MGoBlue itself), so I could be wrong.

I don't trust the recruiting sites when it comes to getting height/weight correct, but I live in Pittsburgh and have a friend who coaches OL at one of the big time high schools here who has basically said as much about Kugler. He's going to be good, but he needs some time in the weight room (size isn't all about how much you weigh, after all) and on the practice field getting used to playing the C position.

Molk is a different animal altogether - he wasn't big in terms of his weight, but he was one of the strongest players in all of college football. He was 298 at the combine, but also only 6'0" - that's a lot of height difference, so the weights aren't comparable really.


November 27th, 2012 at 10:06 AM ^

"You can't play manball without a solid run-blocking OL."

Right, but that's hardly unique to Manball. You can't run Oregon's offense without a solid run-blocking OL, for example. The way you framed the OP makes it sound like the need for good run-blocking is only a recent one resulting from a coaching change. That's simply not true.   


November 27th, 2012 at 10:43 AM ^

You can't play manball without superior personnel at all positions.  Since Michigan doesn't go the route of other elite programs and buy recruits or lie to them and suddenly make their schollies vanish on NSD, classic manball is not going to work in Ann Arbor.  

The real question should be, "How can Al Borges make the manball contingent think Michigan is playing manball, while he is actually engaging in sutble use of 21st century concepts?"  If Michigan doesn't allow Borges to tweak manball into a viable 21st century offense, we are going to have to endure a decade of "close losses" to Ohio and other elite teams.

Really, we have no idea of what Borges is cabaple of doing, or what the offense is actually going to look like a couple of years from now.  Intrinsically, the WCO is not classic manball.  It is nearly as much of a departure from what was here for 47 of the previous 50 years as the spread option is from the WCO.  It does, though, need a QB whose strengths are appropriate for the system.

Once upperclassmen know the offense well enough to teach it to underclassmen, Borges will be able to use the multiple formations we were told about when he was hired.  It would be interesting to know what percentage of his offense Borges has actually be able to install after inheriting what had finally become a competent spread option team.  

The next three years will define the Brady Hoke hire and the "return to manball."  By Shane Morris' junior year, we will know whether Michigan is actually going to compete for championships, or if they are going to average 3.5 losses per year.



November 27th, 2012 at 10:14 AM ^

This is my rule of thumb based on potential.  A 1st day pick can start his 2nd year.  An all conference player begins starting his 3rd year presuming a red shirt.  A competent starter begins his 4th year.  You can expect contributions in the prior year.  This is of course more accurate for tackles as a lot fewer guards/centers get picked on the 1st day.  But if you believe you have one of the top guards like Kalis it is reasonable to presume he is ready to play on year two.   What I heard about him is he could have started this year.  Now regarding all of the other linemen, it is a stretch to expect that they will be ready in the 2nd year.  It is possible but should not be a given.  This is why Lewan staying is real important.  By having both tackles return you reduce your dependency on 2nd year players.  Letting Braden season one more year would be very nice as I do not believe expecting effective blocking from a player whose weakness out of HS was "raw" is reasonable. 

I think it is reasonable to presume Kalis will be just fine based on his recruiting profile.  With Lewan back we would have two senior types, 2 middle types, and one young but very talented RS freshmen which is acceptable.



November 27th, 2012 at 10:19 AM ^

How do we know that the OL play didn't underacheive due to poor coaching, conditioning or predictable playcalling?  Our OL was not a problem in the ND game.  We had our way on the ground.  We were running the ball effectively enough in the Nebraska game until Denard got hurt.  We didn't lose those games because of the line play, we lost one game because of poor playcalling and the other because a poor decision was made to stick a talented QB at receiver and had an untested kid backup our fragile QB.  Those two losses go more to the coaching staff than the offensive line.


November 27th, 2012 at 10:37 AM ^

Here's a crazy idea from Saban's play book: take your stud tackle and move to center so you can get your 5 best OL on the field.

Lewan is not Jones so it will never happen, but it's 1 example to highlight the gap between our depth/quality vs the elite Manball teams.


November 27th, 2012 at 10:45 AM ^

guard previously and won't play tackle in the NFL. I get the weak comparison.

My broader point is our debating if Miller is big enough or a walk-on like Burz should start. Meanwhile Bama debates how to get their back-up 5* tackles on the field with Jones.

It will take 2 years before we have similar debates.

blue in dc

November 27th, 2012 at 11:00 AM ^

At center, does Burzynski have a shot to beat out Miller? According to Mgoblue he's 294 compared to Miller's 288. It also seems like he's viewed by the staff as the better blocker since he's been the guy when we've gone to 6 linemen in short yardage.

If Bryant isn't fully recovered, does Bosch have a shot at gaurd? He's enrolling early, so he'll get a spring practice and a headstart at conditioning. Also Rivals lists him at 311, so, even if exagerated, he is likely in the 300 lb range.

Ron Utah

November 27th, 2012 at 11:06 AM ^

I would hope that we all learned something from last year's "lock" of Barnum being our 2012 center.

This coaching staff is not going to tip its hand about who the starter will be.  I think Miller will be the guy everyone says has the job; it really could end-up being almost any interior line player.


November 27th, 2012 at 1:43 PM ^

That he is being graded as the #2 or #3 OT this year, if that's the case and he may go mid to late 1st or 2nd. I wouldn't leave then. People are very high on the OT's from Texas is a Matthews boy so go figure!!!