One thing of particular note, as Brian points out, is that from 1996-2001, Michigan graduated 14 starters, half of which were drafted to the NFL. And from 2002-2007, 14 starters graduated, 3 of which were drafted. While at first blush, may not seem to be a huge disparity, upon delving a little deeper, it becomes clear as to why such a difference.
Enter: Andy Moeller. Michigan's o-line coach from 2002-2007. Mgoblog thinks while not all the blame should fall on his shoulders, at the end of the day, the buck has to stop somewhere...and typically, the position coach is the guy holding the short stack.
The standouts from Moeller's time at Michigan are pretty obvious...and proof that every squirrel does in-fact, find a nut from time to time. Jake Long and David Baas.
But this blog feels that Moeller was never given a fair shot from the beginning. It's not a mystery that Lloyd and his coaches (for the most part) lost their edge in the waining years at Michigan. Lloyd got comfortable with coddling his players and not instilling the fear of God like a responsible coach should. Chalk it up to old age. Either way, it's probably a combination of things that led to the sudden lack of domination at offensive line that Michigan fans had grown accustom to.
So, where do we stand now, you might ask?
Incoming Freshman next season:
|Ricky Barnum||OL||6-2||265||Lakeland, Fla. (Lake Gibson)|
|Rocko Khoury||OL||6-5||280||Traverse City, Mich. (Traverse City West)|
|Elliott Mealer||OL||6-6||280||Wauseon, Ohio (Wauseon)|
|Patrick Omameh||OL||6-4||260||Columbus, Ohio (St. Francis DeSales)|
|Dann O'Neill||OL||6-7||295||Grand Haven, Mich. (Grand Haven)|
|Kurt Wermers||OL||6-5||260||Crown Point, Ind. (Crown Point)|
Not a whole lot of experience coming back, but the incoming freshman offer a slight glimmer of hope that good things are on the way.
Next year's projected starting line (via Varsity Blue) should go something like this:
LT - Mark Ortmann - Junior
LG - Tim McAvoy - Junior
C - David Molk - Freshman
RG - Cory Zirbel - Junior
RT - Steve Shilling - Sophomore
Disclaimer: Of course, this is all speculation and hearsay. But, in April...we'll take all we can get.
According to RR, this is all subject to change, and he's yet to come out with any sort of depth chart for any position, especially the offensive line. So, we'll have to wait and see. Odds are we'll see a pretty steady revolving door on the line (among other positions), and likely that some true-freshman could by thrown into the fray (i.e. Dann O'neill).