UM’s Ruiz steps up, but ‘too early’ to say he’s top 5

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Ann Arbor — Freshman Cesar Ruiz has played admirably at right guard the last two games filling in for injured starter, sophomore Mike Onwenu, but Tim Drevno isn’t ready to say Ruiz is one of the best five offensive linemen.

Drevno, Michigan’s offensive coordinator who also coaches the interior line, praised Ruiz, rated the nation’s No. 1 center coming out of high school, for his performance the last two weeks.

“Cesar does a nice job,” Drevno said Wednesday before practice as the Wolverines continue preparations for Saturday’s game at No. 5 Wisconsin. “His athleticism, his initial quickness, the way he can recover on a block, both of them bring great things to the party. To say he’s one of the best five right now, that’s just a little too early to tell just because of where we are. He’s played two games, did a nice job in there and there’s things all of them need to work on.”

Drevno said Ruiz is an inside offensive lineman.


“Doesn’t mean he couldn’t go out and play tackle,” Drevno said. “He’s probably suited right now just at the guard position because at the center it’s so much thinking, ID’ing things, communicating. For a younger guy in the offense that’s a hard thing to do. You don’t want to put that on his plate just yet. We’ll get to there at some point in his career. He makes a nice guard.”

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh during his morning radio appearance on 97.1 The Ticket described Onwenu as an “improving player” and said he has liked the way Ruiz has filled in.

“Cesar Ruiz has gotten in there and played very well and might just stay in the starting lineup, maybe not at right guard, maybe at a different position, because Mike Onwenu is one of our best offensive linemen,” Harbaugh said. “But that bodes well for us going forward. Patrick Kugler has done a very good job as the center, directing things and making the calls and finds the way to get the blocks and get the snap. All that is not that easy to do.”

Onwenu traveled to Maryland last week and was dressed, but did not play. Drevno said Ruiz is “ready to rock and roll this week.”

As for any conversation about left guard Ben Bredeson moving to tackle, Drevno said he’s athletic enough to do that but wouldn’t count on it.

“I don’t foresee that in the future,” Drevno said.