Look, you can have all the QBs and RBs and slot-WRs you want. None of it will matter at all unless you can block the defensive front and make room for those speed burners to get into space. For as much as the skill players need to know the offense, so to does the offensive line. No one on the field plays more physical or takes nearly as rough of a beating than the linemen, especially the interior line.
So it stand to reason that we owe these big fellas their due attention on the pages of MBN. This season, just as almost any season, we're only going to go as far as our OL will take us. Here's a chance to take a good look at what we can expect to see this weekend, and in the fall.
Gone from 2009:
Spring 2010 Observed 2-deep:
#77 Taylor Lewan (6-8, 283, FR)
#72 Mark Huyge (6-6, 305, JR)
#52 Stephen Schilling (6-5, 303, SR)
#76 Quinton Washington (6-4, 307, FR)
#50 David Molk (6-2, 270, JR)*
#63 Rocko Khoury (6-4, 291, SO)
#65 Patrick Omameh (6-4, 293, SO)
#57 Elliot Mealer (6-5, 310, SO)
#72 Mark Huyge (6-6, 305, JR)
#79 Perry Dorrestein (6-7, 305, SR)
#75 Michael Schofield (6-7, 281, FR)
*=Molk has been injured this spring, but is projected as the starter at center in the fall.
Other notable linemen:
#56 Ricky Barnum (603, 282 SO)
#61 Zac Ciullo (6-1, 266, JR)
#74 John Ferrara (6-4, 283, SR)
#69 Erik Gunderson (6-8, 295, FR)
Now, of course these are simply observations from spring. OL coach Greg Frey has talked a little with the media this spring about the overall depth and experience that he has to work with this year. This is a huge plus for the Michigan offense. Our lack of experienced depth over the last couple seasons, as well as injuries have got a lot of younger guys some big playing time...of which we'll reap the benefits this season.
I fully expect to see a very fluid lineup this season. Lots of guys playing in lots of positions. Guys will get banged up and injured, just as in every year...so our experienced depth is key.
There are a couple freshman that could make an impact. Quinton Washington and Michael Schofield, both red-shirted last year, could have a chance to step up if given the right circumstances. Guys like Ricky Barnum and John Ferrara, who saw meaningful action last year will add as some great depth to our lineup this fall.
Michigan will add 2010 recruit Christian Pace to the roster this fall, but will likely red-shirt him, just as they typically red-shirt most recruited linemen.
My personal feeling is that they key to the success of this line is David Molk at the center position. I fully expect him to be a pre-season all-Big Ten selection.
When he went down midway last season with an injury, this whole offense went away with him. David Moosmen, who switched from right guard to center struggled to get his snaps crisp and on target to the QB. And it just seemed like the swagger that this line had in early in the season was gone. It's clear to me that the heart and soul of this line is David Molk.
No question injuries will occur, but I think that this lineup is better equipped than almost any lineup Michigan has ever had to adapt quickly to position changes if needed. That's going to a huge reason why the 2010 edition of the Michigan offense will be much improved over 2009.