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Friday, January 11, 2013
Depth chart analysis: Left 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.

Yet another spot vacated by a departing senior on the offensive line, left guard for Michigan is going to be manned by someone with major potential.

Michigan liked Kyle Kalis enough to flirt with using him at left guard before the season started, when the Wolverines ended up redshirting him. They liked Joey Burzynski enough to take the walk-on and put him in the two-deep for the season, again someone who competed for a starting gig.

Joey Burzynski?
Michigan coaches liked walk-on Joey Burzynski enough to put him on the depth chart in 2012.
Now, one of those two guys will likely see the majority of the snaps this fall.

The starter: Kalis. He was legitimately in the conversation to see playing time at left guard before last season, competing with Burzynski and Ricky Barnum, who ended up beating both out for the job. But Kalis entered college a season ago the closest to being ready to play and at 6-foot-5, 294 pounds already has the frame to step right in. While he may struggle early after his redshirt season, he has the potential to be the best guard Michigan has had since Stephen Schilling.

The depth: Burzynski, freshman Kyle Bosch, freshman David Dawson. Michigan doesn’t have a ton of experience here and if Bosch were to have a strong spring, he could be a contender to reach the two-deep at least. There is a lot of talent at the position, though, as Dawson is a highly-rated prospect and the coaches like Burzynski. There is also the chance tackle Michael Schofield moves inside if the staff feels comfortable with Ben Braden or Erik Magnuson out at right tackle.

The question mark: Could someone beat out Kalis? It is possible, obviously, as Kalis has never played a game at Michigan before, but since he arrived on campus it has always appeared the coaching staff and other players have been really high on him so it is likely he will play somewhere along the line. The question is likely at which guard spot.

The bottom line: While it is tough to know how players will truly adjust to seeing meaningful time and live snaps -- Brady Hoke admitted as much last season discussing his confidence in the defensive line -- all signs have pointed to Kalis being an exceptional talent. Now he will be aided even more by the return of Taylor Lewan, which gives him an NFL-level tackle to learn from and share blocks with. Save Devin Gardner, no one might benefit more from Lewan’s return than Kalis or whomever else plays left guard.