Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Depth chart analysis: Right guard
By Michael Rothstein
Over the next few weeks, WolverineNation will look at every position on the Michigan roster and give a depth chart analysis of each position on the roster heading into the offseason.
For three seasons, Patrick Omameh was a significant, serviceable option for Michigan at right guard. He would rarely wow anyone off the line with a crushing block, but he also had his moments going against quality defensive linemen almost every week.
Now, though, Omameh is gone and Michigan will lose its most experienced offensive lineman. In his place, no matter who it is, will be someone with almost none.
The starter: Redshirt sophomore Chris Bryant. The Michigan coaches have always liked his size and he likely would have been good depth for the Wolverines behind Omameh before he injured his tibia before the season. At 6-foot-4, 318 pounds, he has the potential to be a massive force inside for the Wolverines and when he signed, Michigan coach Brady Hoke described Bryant as “a refrigerator with legs and arms.” Michigan would like to get that type of size on the line.
The depth: Junior Joey Burzynski, redshirt freshman Ben Pliska, freshmen David Dawson, Kyle Bosch and Patrick Kugler. Burzynski almost beat out the Elliott Mealer/Ricky Barnum grouping at left guard last season and will give Bryant ample competition throughout the spring and fall. He could end up being the starter here if he pushes enough as the coaches have always liked him. Dawson, Bosch and Kugler all have major potential down the road, but it is tough to see one of them starting barring injury. The three might end up in a similar situation to this year’s freshmen offensive linemen, where they would be pushed into service with one or two injuries.
The question mark: Whether Bryant is healthy. All Michigan has said about its injured players is they are coming along. Other than Blake Countess, the one the Wolverines need to come along the most is Bryant as he plays a position of major need. If he is healthy and hasn’t lost speed or flexibility, he should start. His body has major potential, but his health needs to come along with that.
The bottom line: Either way, a new starter without a ton of game reps is likely landing here. If it is Bryant, this could bode well for Michigan until some of the freshmen are ready a year or two from now. If it is Burzynski, it could end up being a competition as long as he holds the position considering the talent level behind him. No matter what, though, this is going to be a learning curve position for Michigan for the first half of the season. There is a chance tackle Michael Schofield moves back inside to guard, but for now we have him slated at right tackle. That could change by August.