The Wolverine

2022 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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76 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2022 FOOTBALL PREVIEW PAVING THE WAY AGAIN U-M's Offensive Line Looks To Repeat Last Season's Superior Effort BY JOHN BORTON [ O F F E N S I V E L I N E ] I t starts up front, and sometimes it ends in a Big Ten cham- pionship. That's how it went for Michigan last season, and how Jim Harbaugh hopes it goes again. Harbaugh appointed Sherrone Moore to coach the entire offensive line last year, and his crew responded with a Joe Moore performance — as in the Joe Moore Award, given to the best offensive line in the nation. They weren't ordinary Joes, blocking for 3,001 rushing yards and surrendering an average of one sack per game — fifth-best in the nation. Of course, it's not the same crew back, but 60 percent of the starters up front do return. The other 40 percent didn't exactly come from a yard sale. The returners include an intact left side of the offensive line, with graduate student Ryan Hayes at left tackle and se- nior Trevor Keegan at left guard. Junior right guard Zak Zinter joins them in supplying muscle up the middle in Michigan's road paving and protection game. Sixth-year center Andrew Vastardis is gone, taking an estab- lished leader out of the lineup. But in his place, Michigan inserts 6-3, 310-pound grad student Olu Oluwatimi, a transfer from Virginia who was one of three finalists for the Rimington Trophy (best center in America) last season. Not too shabby, in the plug-and-play game. Meanwhile, at right tackle, 6-4, 307-pound senior Trente Jones asserted himself strongly enough for Harbaugh to acknowledge in spring ball he's the man to beat there. In other words, there's a nice 2021 flavor to the offensive line, with some talented spice tossed in. Plus, the Wolverines feature several backups who will be fighting for time in 2022 and looking to establish themselves for further down the road. Here's a closer look at Moore's Maulers and the havoc they might produce. VETERANS APLENTY, WITH TALENT AND ATTITUDE Doug Karsch spent the past 16 years as the sideline reporter and pregame host on the Michigan Radio network. He steps into the big chair as play-by-play broadcaster this fall, and he expects to be making the calls on a lot of successful line surges. "I was a little surprised when I heard Jim Harbaugh say they could be better than last year's offensive line, which was called the best in the country," Karsch acknowledged. Could remains the key word there, of course. Talk doesn't get it done, but the Wolver- The coaches named graduate student Ryan Hayes second-team All- Big Ten last year, his first campaign as a full-time starter. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN "I was a little surprised when I heard Jim Harbaugh say they could be better than last year's offensive line, which was called the best in the country." MICHIGAN FOOTBALL RADIO PLAY-BY-PLAY BROADCASTER DOUG KARSCH

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