August 19, 2010 at 3:12 pm

Angelique S. Chengelis: U-M Insider

Taylor Lewan, Michael Schofield push for starts on U-M line

Taylor Lewan is a 6-8, 294-pound redshirt freshman from Scottsdale, Ariz. (John T. Greilick / The Detroit News)

Ann Arbor -- Much of the discussion regarding Michigan's offense during preseason camp has involved the quarterback and running back positions.

But there is competition elsewhere, of course.

The interior of the Wolverines' offensive line appears set with center David Molk, and Stephen Schilling and Patrick Omameh at the guards. But what about the tackles?

Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield, both redshirt freshmen, have from all accounts been impressive.

"(Lewan and Schofield) have been competing their butts off," Michigan offensive coordinator Calvin Magee said Wednesday. "They are much improved because some more time has passed, and they've matured. They know we want that competition, so they are preparing well. That's part of depth."

Magee said redshirt freshman Quinton Washington offers depth at guard and overall he sees a great deal of flexibility on the line because of the personnel.

But Schilling, a senior, and Molk, a junior who spent much of last season sidelined with injuries but clearly is a vital part of this offensive line, will be the anchors.

"Naturally, with Schilling and Molk, they've played a bunch, and Patrick played quite a bit inside," Magee said. "They've just got a lot of games under them right now, seeing every front and twist, naturally they're going to get better in there. They are becoming leaders, helping the younger guys a lot. Having that core inside has been really good."

Moving players?

Following Tuesday's news that senior cornerback Troy Woolfolk dislocated his right ankle and broke the fibula in that leg during practice and might have surgery, Michigan could move players from offense to shore up what already was a thin position.

Magee said the final decision belongs to Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez.

"I'm sure defensive coaches and coach Rod are thinking about that and will make the right decision," Magee said.

Running back update

Magee said U-M's staff is not prepared to identify a starting quarterback -- or a starting running back, for that matter.

Rodriguez has said the running back competition could be the most "interesting" of camp and the depth chart might not be decided until shortly before the season opener against Connecticut on Sept. 4.

While Magee wouldn't offer much insight into that competition, he did say sophomore Vincent Smith, who has returned from knee surgery, has recovered well and is performing well during camp.

"We entered camp unsettled (at running back,)" Magee said. "It's been good. There are several different people running with different groups, and we're just starting now to put the combinations together."

More Stonum praise

Rodriguez has been generous in his praise of outside receiver Darryl Stonum, and Magee added his positive impressions of the junior.

"He's been consistent and dedicated and is playing at a high level," Magee said. "We're hoping that continues into the season. He's been lucky enough to stay healthy, and he's consistently out there."

How they started

Michigan opens against Connecticut and Notre Dame this season. The Wolverines are 14-6 in their first two games the last 10 years.

2009: Beat Western Michigan 31-7, beat Notre Dame 38-34

2008: Lost to Utah 25-23, beat Miami (Ohio) 16-6

2007: Lost to Appalachian State 34-32, lost to Oregon 39-7

2006: Beat Vanderbilt 27-7, beat Central Michigan 41-17

2005: Beat Northern Illinois 33-17, lost to Notre Dame 17-10

2004: Beat Miami (Ohio) 43-10, lost to Notre Dame 28-20

2003: Beat Central Michigan 45-7, beat Houston 50-3

2002: Beat Washington 31-29, beat Western Michigan 35-12

2001: Beat Miami (Ohio) 31-13, lost to Washington 23-18

2000: Beat Bowling Green 42-7, beat Rice 38-7

By the numbers

1 -- The jersey number no Michigan player is wearing this season.

46 -- Tackles made by defensive back Troy Woolfolk last season.

75 -- Tackles made by safety Jordan Kovacs, U-M's leader among returning players.

210 -- Tackles made by Stevie Brown (80), Donovan Warren (66) and Brandon Graham (64) last season. All three are now in the NFL.

He said it

"I have mine."

-- Calvin Magee's response when he was asked Wednesday if U-M sophomore quarterback Tate Forcier had earned back the maize wings on his Michigan helmet. Magee is U-M's offensive coordinator.

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