The Wolverine

February 2019

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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FEBRUARY 2019 THE WOLVERINE 31 This group gets credit for being the most improved on the team — by far — under first-year position coach Ed Warinner, but being dramatically better doesn't mean there wasn't room for more development. The line struggled mightily against the three best opponents of the year, all of which helped re- sult in losses. Junior quarterback Shea Patterson was under duress most of the game at Notre Dame, which might have been expected given it was the opener in a hostile environment against an eventual College Football Play- off team. Ohio State and Florida both made it tough on Patterson with consistent pres- sure as well. He was sacked eight times in the last two games after being sacked only 13 times in the first 11 contests. This group played very well, however, in wins over Michigan State, Wisconsin and Penn State. The season was a positive step, though the right side still needs work. They missed fifth-year senior right tackle Juwann Bushell-Beatty (injury) against Ohio State and Florida. NUMBERS TO KNOW In 2017, Michigan's offensive line al- lowed 36 sacks (tied for 114th nationally) and 83 tackles for loss (deadlocked at 101st), but decreased those numbers in a big way under the tutelage of first-year position coach Ed Warinner. This past season, U-M's offensive front yielded just 23 quarterback takedowns (tied for 37th) and 60 stops behind the line of scrimmage (tied for 15th). Offensive Line status Of schOLarship pLayers GRADUATED: Juwann Bushell-Beatty MEDICALLY RETIRED: Grant Newsome TRANSFERRED: James Hudson (Cincinnati) ELIGIBILITY REMAINING (YEARS): Ben Bredeson (1) Michael Onwenu (1) Jon Runyan Jr. (1) Nolan Ulizio (1) Cesar Ruiz (2) Stephen Spanellis (2) Andrew Vastardis (2) Chuck Filiaga (3) Joel Honigford (3) Phillip Paea (3) Andrew Stueber (3) Jalen Mayfield (4) B- MVP REDSHIRT JUNIOR LEFT TACKLE JON RUNYAN JR. Smart money would have been on junior left guard Ben Bredeson taking home best lineman honors, but Runyan emerged from out of nowhere to earn the Hugh H. Rader Memorial Award given to the team's best lineman — joining his fa- ther, Jon Sr., in 1994 as U-M's only father- son duo to capture the honor. Runyan not only handled the move from right guard/tackle to the left side well, he thrived on the blindside after struggling mightily in the opener at Notre Dame. He got better each week and earned first-team All-Big Ten hon- ors from both the league coaches and the Associated Press. He was easily Michigan's most im- proved player from a year ago. 2019 PLAYER TO WATCH ANDREW STUEBER The redshirt freshman started at right tackle in Michigan's final two games when fifth-year se- nior Juwann Bushell-Beatty was out with injury, and with the latter now out of eligibility, the right tackle job could be Stueber's to lose heading into 2019. The four starters along the rest of the line all return, so the battle for the right tackle gig will be the primary one to keep an eye on this offseason. OVERALL GRADE Jon Runyan Jr. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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