Michigan offensive line starting to take shape
Ann Arbor — Michigan’s spring game was never expected to shed an enormous light on how the offensive line will look in the fall.
But there were some takeaways from Saturday’s game, namely that veteran Mason Cole looks like he will be returning to left tackle, where he started his first two seasons before moving to center last season. Ben Bredeson started at left guard, where he played last season as a freshman, fifth-year senior Patrick Kugler looks to be the center, Michael Onwenu, who played on both lines last year, was at right guard, and Jon Runyan started at right tackle.
Three starters are gone from last year’s line, so finding replacements has been critical this spring. Michigan still has four practices remaining, with one next week and then three in Rome, Italy.
“I think they’ve gotten a lot better,” defensive lineman Maurice Hurst said after the game. “Mason’s been a great leader for them, somebody’s who has played a lot of football and not missed a day. Those guys have been great leaders and role models.”
Juwann Bushell-Beatty, who could also factor at right tackle, apparently was not available for the game
“They did everything needed to and more today to make holes to block the blitzes and stuff,” quarterback Wilton Speight said.
The Maize team had 92 yards rushing and the Blue had 130 yards.
“We ran the ball pretty well today,” Cole said. “That’s good to see. We’ve been working on protections a lot this spring. The sky’s not the limit for protection. You can always get better.”
Cole said it’s great to see Kugler on the field playing a bigger role.
“I’ve been here going to be four years with Kugler now,” Cole said. “He’s a great guy. He’s grown up with the game of football and knows it inside and out. Seeing him get out on the field will be really good for Kugs.”
The linemen have been moving around this season playing at different spots to add to their versatility.
“You never know what can happen in a season, so having guys that can play all over the place and play with other guys, that’s good for the whole team,” Cole said.
Speight on linebacker Devin Bush, who was active all game and made quite a few appearances in the backfield: “I saw a lot of Devin Bush,” Speight said with a laugh. “He’s just so explosive so fast. He has such football savvy he sees plays develop very quickly and acts on it.”
Defensive lineman Rashan Gary, who will be a sophomore next fall, was asked to describe the strongest part of the line during the game: “Just our motor, getting after it. Just our movement. We’ve got to go back, watch the film. There’s a lot of things we can build on. We want to become great, so there’s a lot of things we can build on. This is yet to see our potential for that “D” line, but it’s going to be great.”
Receiver Eddie McDoom suffered what appeared to be an injury to his left leg late in the game. He was taken off the field on a cart. … offensive lineman Jon Runyan also appeared to suffer a left leg injury in the second half.
… Several players did not participate in the game, including early enrollee freshmen J’Marick Woods and JaRaymond Hall, defensive lineman Michael Dwumfour – earlier this spring teammate Bryan Mone said Dwumfour was out with an injury – receiver Drake Harris, tight end Ian Bunting and quarterback Alex Malzone.