Michigan Football Preview 2019

Digital Edition

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 90 of 179

THE WOLVERINE 2019 FOOTBALL PREVIEW ■ 89 OFFENSIVE LINE "Chuck's doing a great job there," Warin- ner said. "Then Hayes is the backup left tackle. That's a solid two-deep. We're mov- ing the ball with both groups, so I feel really good about that." While Hayes remains listed at 271, his po- sition coach said he's in the 290s now, after coming to Michigan as a tight end. "He has a long wingspan, so his pass pro- tection has been really solid, and he's im- proved in the running game, because he's stronger and playing with better football fundamentals — base, footwork, hand place- ment," Warinner said. "His growth has been tremendous. He's easily in our two-deep right now." Warinner sees no issues getting Michi- gan's 2019 line ready for the Wolverines' extreme makeover offense. He did note they might run 75 plays on any given Saturday now, rather than 55 or so like last year. He made sure his linemen know, though, they're saving seven yards of steps back to a huddle and up to the line of scrimmage. That said, he's hoping to see them all running downfield farther this year. "I've been no-huddle, offensively, since 2003, except for last year," Warinner men- tioned. "We're back to what I was at all my other stops — no huddle. I get the no- huddle, I get the whole component. "I'm very comfortable in this offense and very comfortable in all the schemes that we're doing. A lot of them are the same. There are just different pieces and forma- tions to it. The linemen have adjusted well." The linemen have also grown up. The starters are used to starting. Now they want to finish. ❑ Jon Jansen knows a good line when he sees one. He was an All-American part of a national champion 1997 line, and the former captain gives the 2019 crew a thumbs up. "When you go into spring football, with four guys re- turning that started every game from last year, you can start at level 10, instead of starting at level one," Jansen said. "They started at level one last year, when Ed Warin- ner was the new offensive line coach. Now all of a sudden, instead of starting at the basics, you're starting so much further ahead and cover so much more ground. "You've got a base of knowledge, and you've got a con- fidence that they've mastered certain skills. You can move forward and work on things that are a little bit more com- plex, a little more intricate in techniques. That in itself will breed more confidence in going out there a second year." Here are his quick takes on Michigan's four returning starters, along with the battle at right tackle. • Fifth-year senior left tackle Jon Runyan Jr.: "This past spring, there was only one group that had every guy play every snap and never missed a down. That was the offensive line. When you've got leaders like Jon Runyan, leaders like Ben Bredeson, there's no secret about why they were able to do that. "That's just good leadership, and that's one of the intan- gibles that Jon provides." • Senior left guard Ben Bredeson: "I know he's lost a little bit of weight and worked on his footwork. He looked very good in the spring. "When you're a captain and a leader not just of that of- fensive line, but a leader of the offense, a leader on the team, you can also look back and say, 'What I had to say here, it was spot on, and here's why it was.' You take that and implement it into different situations that are coming up in the summer and as you prepare for the season through fall camp. "When you get into the games, there are hard lessons learned. We all learned some of those against Notre Dame last year. We learned some in Columbus. The things Ben was able to see and recognize will pay huge dividends this sea- son in his fourth year of starting." • Junior center Cesar Ruiz: "That's where confidence really pays off the most — when you have to be the guy who goes out there and calls out where the linebackers are, you set the protections, you talk to both sides of the of- fensive line. That can be a huge challenge, going into South Bend [in last year's season opener]. "Now, you've got more confidence, because you've got greater stature with the team. Now you go out there, and it's like you've got a bullhorn. You see things more clearly, the game slows down, and all of a sudden, what seemed like a huge deal last year — and it was — is no longer a big deal, because you've done it. You've experienced it. You've felt what it feels like to be right, to be wrong. "There's a huge jump in confidence from year one to year two, whenever you're the signal-caller of that offensive line." • Senior right guard Michael Onwenu: "He's moving a lot better. I know he's lost a couple of pounds. It's hard to tell when you're as big as Mike is. "When I see him pull, when I see him get out of his stance, he's able to stay lower and be ready to strike somebody on the defensive line. When he gets up to that linebacker level, he's able to get up in better position. "That all comes from being in a little better shape. Mike has done a great job of recognizing that and doing what he had to do to have a chance to be successful this year." • The right tackle battle between redshirt sophomore Andrew Stueber and redshirt freshman Jalen Mayfield: "I think it's awesome. Especially since they didn't name a starter coming out of spring ball, those guys are going to be bat- tling as hard as they possibly can for reps. "Any time Andrew Stueber takes the field — whether it's with Ben Herbert, the strength and conditioning coach, with the guys in senior-led practices this summer — he knows, just like Jalen Mayfield does, that I have to earn the op- portunity to be on the field. "That's going to drive those guys to focus on all of the little things. Whether it's a step, whether it's a punch, whether it's coming out and getting a good drive on a guy, or understanding the offense. It drives those guys to be better and better. That's the beauty of competition." — John Borton Jon Jansen Excited By U-M's Line Prospects Senior right guard Michael Onwenu has started 22 games in his career, including each of the last 14 contests. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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