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UM’s Cole doesn’t know if move to center will be permanent

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Mason Cole

Bradenton, Fla. -- Mason Cole has started the last two seasons at left tackle, and as he did last spring, he is practicing so far through two practices at center again.

Cole, who will be a junior, said offensive coordinator Tim Drevno, who coaches the offensive line, asked him to work at center this spring, while the staff tries to figure out who will best replace Graham Glasgow.

“(He) said, ‘We’re going to try you out here and if it works out, it works out, if not it’s a good experience to have and good thing to have under your belt,’” Cole said Tuesday night after practice. “If it works out, it works out, if not I’ve learned and I can do it.”

Cole said he doesn’t know if he will be playing center this fall.

“I don’t think coaches know yet,” he said. “I think we’re just experimenting, seeing how it goes.”

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He said he has been snapping well but admitted to a bad snap during Tuesday’s practice and said the four-hour spring practices have allowed things to slow down and offer him more teaching.

Clearly center becomes more complicated because the position has to know all the defensive schemes to make the appropriate calls, and while it was harder last season as the Wolverines put in a new offensive system, it’s still challenging a year later.

“On top of that, it’s just a little different (with a) nose tackle breathing down your neck than a wide defensive end,” Cole said.

Revving up

Tailback De’Veon Smith had his best game last season in the Citrus Bowl against Florida when he rushed for 109 yards on 25 carries and scored two touchdowns.

He finished last season with 753 yards on 180 carries and had six rushing touchdowns.

“It felt good having a good game against Florida,” Smith said after Tuesday’s practice. “I’m happy about it, but it’s a new year, it’s a whole new season. People might say I had a good game, I had a rough year, but I’m not really worried about that now.”

Smith said of course he would like to have more carries this fall.

“The more the merrier,” he said. “I wouldn’t mind more carries. Give me the ball.”