Ben Bredeson on chemistry on Michigan's offensive line. Angelique S. Chengelis, The Detroit News
Ann Arbor – Michigan offensive lineman Ben Bredeson shrugged and said he doesn’t mind that a video was posted from a recent practice showing freshman Aubrey Solomon dismantling him on a play.
Solomon made the tackle for loss, and Bredeson moved on to the next play.
“Happens,” Bredeson said Friday night after the team practiced at Michigan Stadium. “He’s a big, strong kid. We’re glad to have him on our team. He got me. It’s part of the game. You get beat once in a while. We trade shots every day. We’re taking a lot of reps against each other, so I win some, he wins some. It goes back and forth.”
Injured offensive lineman Grant Newsome, who is redshirting this year while he recovers from a devastating knee injury suffered last season, joked with reporters on Friday as he left Schembechler Hall that they should keep reminding Bredeson of the play. All season.
That’s an indication of what Bredeson described, a closeness in a position group that has had daily competition as the coaches determine the best starting five. They are able to joke around with each other, no feelings hurt, and they’re able to compete hard against each other as they work to replace three starting offensive linemen from last year.
“We’re just one big happy family out there,” Bredeson said. “Everybody loves each other. We hang out outside of football all the time. We’re a good group of guys. We all hang out together, the entire offensive line.”
While nothing has been made official, Bredeson likely will start at left guard, where he finished last season, and Mason Cole will move back to left tackle, where he started the first two seasons before moving to center last year, Patrick Kugler will start at center, Michael Onwenu at right guard and Jon Runyan Jr. or Juwann Bushell-Beatty at right tackle.
The lineman have said throughout camp that offensive line coaches Tim Drevno and Greg Frey have made a point to rotate the players through different positions to make certain each is comfortable at multiple spots on the line.
That has helped the offensive line develop chemistry, vital for the position group.
“There’s always cohesion,” Bredeson said. “If you’re a first-string guy, you might be, during practice and individual, doing combinations with second-string guys so that you know how everybody plays with each other. That’s helped.
“From the past year, from what I’ve seen, the cohesion across the board has skyrocketed, so we’ve been able to play next to the guys that you’re not technically on the same string with, but you’ve taken so many reps with them it doesn’t matter at all.”
Michigan’s skill players on offense have said since this summer that this will be a more athletic, quicker offense. That goes for the offensive line, as well.
That has come from recruiting, coaching and player development from coach Jim Harbaugh and his staff.
“I would say so,” Bredeson said, when asked if the line is more athletic. “I think we definitely have gotten more athletic, we’re moving a lot better. Nature of things, the way the guys are this year, the way we’re all in shape. It’s helped a lot. We’re a more athletic unit.”
And that goes for him, too. The video with Solomon is one snapshot. Bredeson said he has continued to improve his game since spring practice.
Players often speak of the game slowing down for them. That’s a sign of having a better knowledge of all phases of the game, which allows them to think less and perform at a higher level.
That’s where Bredeson said he is now.
“That comes with experience with game-snaps played,” he said. “You kind of learn the tempos, how things go, you’re able to anticipate the way linebackers and defensive linemen are going to move, so you start picking up on things, little cues. It helps knowing pre-snap where everybody should be going. It helps the game slow down from there.”