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Friday, September 2, 2011

Quickies: The O-Line

Taylor Lewan's Mustache Tattoo Makes Me Giggle

The Low Down:
Minus Denard Robinson, this unit was Michigan's best position group on the field last season. Anchored by David Molk and Sr. Steve Schilling, this unit allowed all of 11 sacks last year. They paved the way for the nations 13th best rushing offense. How much of those numbers were predicated on the spread offense and elusiveness of Denard? Maybe a good amount, but offensive lineman don't collect any stats but penalties, so I'll take those provided stats as indicators to how effective they were as a whole.

David Molk finished the season on the All Big-Ten first team and was the only Wolverine to make the team. But, that doesn't bother me, the Big Ten is always deep when it comes to offensive lineman and last year was probably one of the best years in the conference in a long time.

Taylor Lewan, is the second coming of Jake Long so accept that. He shut down first round pick Adrian Clayborn, but does have this problem of holding onto the opponents jersey and not knowing the snap count, as he was head and shoulders above the rest of the offensive line when it comes to penalties.When Patrick Omameh wasn't struggling with high caliber DT's he spent his time blowing up stud linebackers...

Steve Schilling played well and never caused me to curse terrible things at the television screen. Lastly Mark Huyge played his normal Dr. Jackyl & Mr. Hyde with his performance starting at tackle until Taylor Lewan proved himself to be a much better option and then splitting time with the often injured Perry Dorrestein.

1 Year Later:
Have I mentioned that we're like transitioning to MANball? Yeah? Alrighty than...Michigan was primarily a zone running team last year out of the gun and general consensus is that, this year the team will gradually move toward a straight forward power run game. This will be a transition for the line.

A major factor in this transition being a smooth one, is that, the line returns 4 of 5 starters only losing 4 year staple in the line, Schilling. Ricky Barnum will step in and so far there has been nothing but good praise coming in on Barnum, from fall camp. Huyge has been in a battle with highly recruited red-shirt sophmore Michael Schofield for the starting RT position, but so far all words point to him starting over Schofield.

The depth chart is a little scary this year.We lost what would've been 2 scholarship lineman when Jake Fisher made the decision to decommit from Michigan and go to Oregon and Tony Posada got homesick or something and left the program. However, one thing this line has shown over various David Molk/Perry Dorrestein injuries is some versatility. Guys have been able to slide around the line without too much drop-off. Obviously this year the scheme is going to be different but I can only go off what I've seen in the past.

Expectations: What Is Them?
How does one go about making predictions for an offensive line? (Insert name) will have X amount of pancake blocks and Y amount of penalties? No, that's just silly. But here are some things I expect to see...

We will see more sacks allowed this year. This will be a combination of Denard being in the pocket from under-center and the line getting used to the new scheme. If we are allowing like 2-3 sacks a game, that will be extremely disappointing. A betting man would think that many of the sacks will be within the first couple weeks of the season, and by the time conference play swings around the line should be comfortable.

We will still run for a BOATLOAD of yards. Call this my "Guaransheed" if you will but Michigan will finish in the top 3 in the conference in rushing again. By the way top 3 in this conference is not a small feat as the Big Ten had 5 teams in the top 14 in the country in rushing yds last year if you count Nebraska, 4 if you don't. I'm a firm believer that past quarterbacks if you can run, catch, block, whatever in one scheme you can do it another. Michigan's line will be good. We need Molk to stay healthy as he is definitively the leader of this unit and should be All Big-Ten once again. The team will still run the ball well. I can just envision Brady Hoke pointing in pleasure as the line runs off the field after many of bulldozing touchdown runs.

Taylor Lewan, will have fewer penalties, should make a solid push to be on some All Big-Ten teams by seasons end, and will continue to steal the hearts of all our ladies with his mustache tattoo...

Upnext, A quick season preview, followed by a preview of tomorrows showdown with Western. As always, Go Blue.

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