Tuesday, October 1, 2013
O-line changes could come this week
By Chantel Jennings
Albert Einstein once said that insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Obviously, Einstein didn’t play college football and didn’t account for the amount of chemistry gained by an offensive line from week to week (despite his work with chemistry).
But maybe on the football end of things Einstein had a point.
The Wolverines have been running with the same five up front. And for the most part (and especially of late), the results have been mediocre. The offensive line hasn’t opened enough holes for Fitzgerald Toussaint to really get going. And it hasn’t protected Devin Gardner enough to help him stave off the unnecessary turnovers.
Michigan coach Brady Hoke has talked about moving some guys around on the offensive line -- though left tackle Taylor Lewan and right tackle Michael Schofield would be safe. But with last weekend being the Wolverines’ first bye, it seems probable that if a change were coming, it would happen this weekend against Minnesota.
The Gophers’ defensive line allowed 246 rushing yards to Iowa last weekend in a 23-7 loss. Iowa’s offensive line opened up major holes in the run game as it picked up 13 of its 22 first downs on the run.
The Wolverines’ offensive line hasn’t been nearly that effective.
On Monday the depth chart showed no changes in the starting lineup, but Hoke said that he would know more after Michigan’s practice on Tuesday.
“We've talked a lot and done a lot during the bye week,” he said. “We got two real good work days with Tuesday and Wednesday, and I think really probably after Tuesday, we'll have a little better indication which way we want to go.”
If the Wolverines do decide to make a change, it seems most likely that redshirt sophomore Graham Glasgow would move to center and redshirt sophomore Chris Bryant would fill in at left guard, keeping redshirt freshman Kyle Kalis at right guard.
Hoke also brought up Joey Burzynski, so he could possibly be a guy competing for time, if the coaching staff decides that the group might be better off with Glasgow at center or any other mix that they “wouldn't have a problem making a change if that's what we deem we ought to do.”
But unlike most other position groups, changing up one player or one small piece can have a much larger domino effect in how the chemistry of the line operates. But according to Schofield, that wouldn’t be a problem because offensive line coach Darrell Funk has been moving players in and out of the line up all season.
“The whole season we’ve been shuffling guys in and out, trying to get guys going, like younger freshmen, get them reps,” Schofield said. “We’re just trying to get everyone acclimated.”
And while everyone might be acclimated and the chemistry is important, Hoke said that there are also other factors -- productivity, which this group, no matter how much chemistry it might have, hasn’t achieved.
“That might be more critical than chemistry,” Hoke said. “We've got to put the guys in there that give us the best opportunity to be successful.”