Michigan Football Preview 2013

2013 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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OL He's only one half of a bookend tackle tandem with plenty of experience. Versatile lineman Schofield hasn't had quite as much playing time — 23 starts to Lewan's 35, including all 13 at right tackle last year — and he's still adapting after playing left guard two years ago following Barnum's injury. He's got room to improve, Funk said of the 6-7, 303-pounder, including translating his strength gains to the field. Funk predicted Schofield would take his game to another level this fall and become a force on the right side. "He was solid last year in his return to tackle. He had some games where he wishes he would have played better, and some he really stood out and did a good job," Funk said. "He is very talented. He's going to have a big year, too. He's also become more vocal, which has really helped Taylor in terms of the leadership of the group. My first year he said maybe 20 words and last year was maybe 40, so we're making progress." He's a great kid with high goals, Funk added, who just needs to take his game up one more notch. "Mike is also much stronger than some people think, which can be good and bad," he said. "He keeps getting stronger and surprises me with the numbers Coach Wellman gives to us. "One thing he needs to do is have a little more of that show up in the physical-ness of his game. I think he will as he learns to take it up a notch and play with a little more emotion. We've talked about that. "I thought he had a really good spring, especially the second half of spring, and I think he'll be ready to go." Schofield would be the first one over to the critical left side if something happened to Lewan, and he'd also be a candidate to move back inside should some of the younger guys not pan out as hoped. Funk's looking for the best five on the line, and that meant Lewan and Schofield on the outside following spring ball, but it's subject to change. Behind them are a number of candidates to back up the projected starters. Fifth-year senior walk-on Erik Gunderson (6-8, 316) has appeared in nine games as a reserve in his career, and he had solid moments in the spring. Redshirt junior Kristian Mateus (6-7, 306) was another walk-on who earned some reps. The answer, though, might lie in the talented class of redshirt freshmen. "The one who repped the most with the ones out of that second group is Erik Magnusson," Funk said of the 6-6, 286-pounder. "He plays both sides. [Redshirt freshman] Ben Braden [6-6, 314] was a Quick Facts Position Coach: Darrell Funk (third season). Returning Starters: LT Taylor Lewan (35 career starts), RT Michael Schofield (23). Departing Starters: C Elliott Mealer (13), LG Ricky Barnum (16), RG Patrick Omameh (41). Projected New Starters: C Jack Miller, LG Ben Braden, RG Kyle Kalis. Top Reserves: C/G Graham Glasgow, RG Chris Bryant, LG Blake Bars, T Erik Magunson. Newcomers: G Kyle Bosch, C Patrick Kugler, T Logan Tuley-Tillman. Moved In: None. Moved Out: None. Rookie Impact: None. Most Improved Players: Glasgow, Schofield. Best Pro Prospect: Lewan. FYI: Michigan leads all colleges with three starting centers in the NFL … Magnuson is one of only two Michigan players from the state of California, along with punter Mat Wile, and both hail from San Diego … When Lewan recovered a fumble for a score against Massachusetts, he became the first U-M offensive lineman to score a TD in more than 60 years (in 1948, center Bob Erben was credited with a score vs. Northwestern) … Lewan's father, Dave, played football at Minnesota … Bars' brother Brad plays at Penn State, while his younger brother Alex committed to Notre Dame this summer … Kalis' father, Todd, was a long-time NFL lineman with the Minnesota Vikings, while Kugler's dad, Sean, was the OL coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers before accepting the head coaching job at Texas-El Paso recently. 122  ■  The Wolverine 2013 Football Preview Redshirt sophomore Jack Miller is one of three candidates battling to be Michigan's starting center this fall. Photo by Lon Horwedel tackle last year, but I'm giving him a chance to earn the left guard spot. If he does, that's fine. If he doesn't right off the bat, he will also play tackle because I know he can. He played it all last fall and played both sides. "Erik's strength is pass protection. He did a nice job. He's just got a natural skillset in terms of footwork, posture and punch — he just needs to get stronger. As he gets stronger, his run blocking will improve. "He's not a bad run blocker by any stretch, but he's further advanced in pass protection, which is good on third-and-seven, but at the goal line, third-and-short or trying to establish the run game, you have to have a guy who can do it all. He will be able to do that." How soon could determine how much he plays. This summer will be big for his strength development, and if he proves he's among the top five, he'll play, even if it's inside. Funk hasn't ruled out a move to guard should Magnusson progress to that point. In The Middle While the tackles are theoretically set, the interior line battles continue. Funk has an idea how it might play out, but he cautions that things can change quickly depending on what happens in the summer. A case in point is last year's center battle. Fifth-year senior Ricky Barnum seemed to have an edge throughout camp, but fellow senior Elliott Mealer rose up with a better few weeks to win the job. Funk doesn't want to be in the same position this year. He's hoping someone secures the job in the first week to 10 days, and he's got three candidates — redshirt sophomore Jack Miller (6-4, 291), redshirt sophomore walk-on Graham Glasgow (6-6, 303) and fifthyear senior Joey Burzynski (6-1, 291) battling for the position, with Miller and Glasgow a slight step ahead. "They're neck and neck," Funk said. "There's no one ahead of the other. That's how we finished spring. They graded out very close — each one does something a little better than the other — and they're going to battle it out." Unlike the other two, Miller plays center and center alone. Funk has to remind himself sometimes that his young lineman didn't play center in high school. "Last year I think he thought he was ready, but I didn't think he was and he didn't play as much," Funk said. "This year could be his year, but he's going to have to battle it out with Graham and Joey.

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