By ERICK LEHMAN, Guest Reporter
The Michigan offensive line suffered some growing pains in 2013. Aside from having two NFL-caliber tackles anchoring the line, it was a group filled with inexperience. Losing Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield will not make things any easier, but multiple guys made debuts and gained experience last season.
As for settling the new offensive line, head coach Brady Hoke said it would take some time at media day on Aug. 10.
“I think sometime next week, middle of the week, or end of the week, we’ll settle in a little more with what we want to look at and do as far as the top 5 guys,” he said.
With game week arriving Monday, Michigan released it’s first depth chart for the 2014 season. The first rotation
True freshman Mason Cole claimed Lewan’s left tackle spot. Redshirt sophomore Erik Magnuson was listed first at left guard, followed by redshirt junior Jack Miller at center. Joey Burzynski and Ben Braden claimed right guard and right tackle, respectively.
Hoke said at media day that the use of rotations were helping the team in its attempts to pick a first-team offensive line.
“(Offensive line coach Darrell) Funk and (offensive coordinator Doug) Nussmeier have done a nice job of rotating the guys in who we think really have an opportunity to be in the first group,” he said.
Hoke was asked during media day about how legitimate of a chance Cole has at making his debut this fall. He’s listed above Magnuson at the top of Michigan’s left tackle depth chart.
“I think he has a very legitimate chance,” Hoke said. “If you ask our coaches, I think we all feel that way…He comes everyday, works hard, he’s physically better now than he was in the spring.”
The offensive line is going to seem different without Lewan and Schofield, yes. But with the experience multiple players gained last year, along with the work ethic and potential of some incoming freshman, the line has a chance to gel this fall.
When Hoke was asked about any players that have surprised him to that point, he designated a few offensive lineman.
“Erik Magnuson, maybe not a surprise but he’s done a good job,” Hoke said. Ben Braden is a very good athlete. He hasn’t played a lot obviously, played some, but fundamentally we see him. Jack Miller has done a nice job there at center.”