2008 Michigan Preview: TE & OL

For as much as any offense relies on the backfield, this blogger feels that it all starts up front. And with 4 of 5 of last year's starters gone this year, there is a lot of work to do. There are some bright spots. For example, our depth. But as far as experience is concerned, as you will see, its not pretty.

Starting from left to right, tackle Mark Ortmann (6-7, 294). Mark has played in 13 career games, and starting 2 last year at the right tackle position. Saw action in 6 games last year. Seems to be a pretty solid player at right, we'll see how he does on the left side. Not that it needs to be mentioned, but I will...he has maybe the biggest shoes to fill on this year's team.

Left guard, Tim McAvoy (6-6, 288). Appeared in 7 contest in his Michigan career, starting 1 in 2007, against Northwestern at right guard. No idea if he'll be good or not. He's surely got the build, but does he have the quickness?

Center, David Moosman (6-5, 292), has limited experience, playing on only 7 games so far, and starting none. He saw some decent backup time in 06 in 4 games, and in only 2 in 07. I'd like to think he's just a late-bloomer, but we'll see how this early-season goes. David Molk, a 4-star prospect from Lemont, Ill backs up Moosman this year. They may both see equal time as the season progresses.

Right Guard Cory Zirbel (6-5, 292) is probably the most experienced of the returning non-starters from 07. He played in all 13 games last year, both on special teams and offense, and 8 games in 06.

Right tackle Steve Shilling (6-5, 295) is the one and only returning starter from 07. He was a freshman all-American last year, starting 11 games at right tackle and 2 at right guard. He missed all of 06 due to injury and illness. He's not Jake Long, but on this inexperienced line, he's about as close as you can get.

I kind of hesitate to preview the tight end position, because tight ends are so infrequently used in a spread offense, but when lining up against big fast linebackers, tight ends on this team could end up being more valuable as blockers than pass catchers. I know, big departure from the previous coaching philosophy! The nice thing is, we have two very experienced guys at this position.

Carson Butler. Played in 24 games and started in 13 as a tight end. His career has seen 39 receptions for 412 yards and 3 touchdowns. Like most tight ends at Michigan, big and tough and can catch a zinger if thrown his way.

Backing up Butler is Mike Massey. Younger brother of former Michigan player and 2005 captain Pat Massey. He's a three year letter winner and has seemingly been in the program since the Moeller regime. He's only caught 20 passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns during his career, so I doubt his stats will drastically improve this year.

1 comment

  1. Anonymous10:11 PM

    You do a pretty good job with these, but you cannot 'preview' Carson Butler without mentioning his 'senior moments' during crucial times last year (ie- the entire OSU debacle).