Michigan’s offensive line makes impression on Harbaugh
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh began to single out one player this spring who has distinguished himself — Michael Dwumfour — but he didn’t stop there as he offered a personnel update from spring practice.
Harbaugh appeared Wednesday on the Big Ten coaches spring call and praised the progress of the offensive line and highlighted several player performances this spring.
Michigan’s open-to-the public spring game Saturday was cancelled on Wednesday because heavy rain is in the forecast, so independent assessments of the team have to take a backseat.
“It’s been a great spring practice so far,” Harbaugh said. “I would say the entire team. The energy’s been great, the competition’s been outstanding. Feel like we’re improving in a lot of areas. Excited about it.”
Among the bigger storylines this spring is the offensive line. Ed Warinner is the new offensive line coach and he will have to replace Mason Cole and Patrick Kugler. Sophomore-to-be Cesar Ruiz will be at center and Ben Bredeson, who will be a three-year starter will be to his left at guard. Michael Onwenu likely is the starter at right guard.
“Really been pleased with the offensive line,” Harbaugh said. “Run-blocking is improving — probably one of the best things we’re doing right now. As of late, the pass protection has really been improving as well. Very excited about that.”
Harbaugh said players who saw some playing time last year have stepped up this spring.
“You can see it in the spring practice, you get very excited about them,” he said. “Probably the No. 1 guy who’s in that position of really having a great spring is Mike Dwumfour, defensive tackle. Ambry Thomas, defensive corner, and John Rosh, inside linebacker. Those three I would highlight on the defensive side of the ball.
“Offensively, just staying with guys that are poised to have a good season, contributed some last year but expect a bigger role this year, the receiving corps is really coming on fast. Tarik Black is back up to speed (coming off a broken foot last year) and Donovan Peoples-Jones continues to be an improving ascending player.
“Nico Collins, there’s a name for you. Really going a great job. Tough blocking and making tough catches. Oliver Martin is asserting himself on the scene as well as Nate Schoenle and another improving, ascending player, Nick Eubanks, doing a fantastic job. There’s some examples on offense. There’s more. You really get excited about that. Cesar Ruiz is doing a fantastic job. Another real player who will be doing great things. And Jon Runyan. I could keep going, Jon Runyan really playing consistently really well.”