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The Michigan Wolverines return four of five starting lineman for the 2016 football season.
The Wolverines will be looking to make the next, and final step with their strong veteran core of offensive lineman as well as provide leadership for the young players on the roster in hopes to pass the torch along and build one of the best offensive lines in America.
The biggest thing to watch in this Spring Game is Mason Cole. Cole practiced at center in Florida, and it remains unknown if he will continue at center or if he will move back to left tackle, a position he has held down for two seasons at Michigan.
Cole, a junior, took over for Taylor Lewan at left tackle as a true freshman and has exceeded expectations since he took the job.
The big 6’7 sophomore, Grant Newsome has been playing left tackle for the Wolverines during spring practice, and according to reports has looked solid at the position. Newsome will definitely be another piece to watch next week in the Spring Game.
Kyle Kalis, Ben Braden, and Erik Magnuson all return and are all expected to retain the positions that they have held down the past few seasons. They have all looked great at times, and have looked mediocre at times, so retaining their started positions may not be exactly guaranteed, but most likely.
Jon Runyan Jr. and Juwann Bushell-Beatty both return to the team this season, and will add depth to the line as both are versatile. Bushell-Beatty played in four games last season as a depth lineman. Runyan Jr. is a versatile lineman who can play center or guard, and could hold his own as an extra tackle if needed. With these two, they are most likely going to see playing time as guys coming in to give someone a break, or if there is an injury. Watch to see how many different positions these two play, as that will be a key to how often they see playing time this season.
David Dawson and Patrick Kugler both saw time last year, and could fight for starting jobs this year. Their ability to open up holes for the run game against a very deep and talented defensive line in the Spring Game will be the key thing to watch from these two.
Nolan Ulizio and Ben Pliska are two guys that may not see much playing time, however offensive line depth is absolutely key. Look for these two players in the Spring Game to work their tails off to make an impact, if they can impress Jim Harrbaugh and Tim Drevno, they may see some extra time in games this fall.