The Wolverine

2014 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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124 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2014 FOOTBALL PREVIEW "He should have some confidence coming in," Funk observed. "His playing time, his starts, playing the four positions … "I ask myself, 'Why didn't we have Magnuson helping us a little on some things?' He wasn't ready. He wasn't ready game one, two, three. He didn't have a great training camp. He came along slowly. "He played pretty solidly. He should come in thinking, 'Okay, I played four positions at a decent level.' Not always a winning level, but always pretty close. He was consistent. Now, just playing one position, putting all his eggs in that basket and getting better and better, I would think he'd really take off." Magnuson has already cleared a host of hurdles. He spent his true freshman year getting over the separation from home, even though he was excited about his California- to-Michigan adventure. Last season, he became immersed in playing for the first time, making those initial breakthroughs, even amid numerous setbacks. Just getting used to playing in front of 100,000-plus can require an adjustment, he admitted. When Taylor Lewan went out of the Penn State game for a time with an injury, Magnuson entered the game. That in itself put his head on a swivel. "It was Penn State's sold-out crowd, biggest crowd they've ever had, a white- out that night, and I got into the game," he recalled. "There was a break in the game and I looked around. I was thinking, 'This is Big Ten football. This is the real deal.' "There are times during the game, at a timeout, you just look around and it blows my mind that there are that many people there just to come and watch us play football. You won't get that anywhere else. I don't care what you say. You won't get 115,000 people. There isn't a stadium that even holds that many. "It's incredible. It's a feeling we're very lucky to feel." Even the most chilling winter in memory couldn't throw Magnuson off. He tends to scoff at midwestern snowboarding opportunities, living as he does some three hours from 11,060-foot Mammoth Mountain in California. But nothing within a pretty good hike from San Diego can prepare one for what he encountered in January and February. He passed that test as well, Magnuson acknowledged with a laugh. "It was a brutal winter, no doubt," he said. "I've been to a lot of cold places. I've been in the snow a lot of times. I've never experienced living in those types of conditions. "But I've lived here for two winters, and I've yet to buy a coat. For people who say that winters in Michigan are too cold, I don't believe that. Put a couple of sweatshirts on and you'll be all right." Magnuson's parents even gave him money to purchase a coat last Christmas. Instead, he warmed to the Michigan winter in a different fashion. "I ended up going to Chipotle every day, for about three months straight," Magnuson offered, with a grin. "I didn't buy a coat. I just ended up wearing a lot of sweatshirts and long-sleeve stuff. I don't believe the hype that it's too cold to live here. "I probably got more strange looks because, since I didn't have a coat, I was forced to run to class as fast as possible. I tried to spend as little time outside as possible in the wintertime." He plans to spend more time basking in the warmth of victory following football games this fall. He's absorbed some hard knocks and seen the vast difference in readiness between the Michigan State and Ohio State games. The Wolverines lost both, but took the Buckeyes down to the final play and put 41 points on the board against them. That both encourages and frustrates Magnuson, when reflecting back and gazing forward. "Why would we show up and play our best against Ohio State, when we didn't play our best against Michigan State?" he mused. "We didn't play our best against anybody on our schedule that we should have. That's the biggest disappointment. "At the same time, that's encouragement. A big core of us are coming back. If we figure out a way to do the little things every single game, every single week going into the game, we can play with the best of them and we can beat the best of them." He knows, personally, what to expect and how to respond. "It goes back to the Ohio State game," he said. "They were such a high-ranked team and had such a good record. I had a really good block on the offensive line and we Following In the Footsteps Of … Adam Stenavich (2001-05) Why Stenavich: Just like Stenavich did, Magnuson seems to be ready to move into the left tackle position in his third year as a Wolverine. Stenavich proved a very solid, if not initially spectacular, performer for Michigan, one who started 39 games at the spot and was smart enough to eventually move into the coaching ranks. Stenavich stood 6-4, compared to Magnuson's reported 6-6, and the U-M sophomore reached 315 pounds around the bowl game, but was trimming back at last word. He could well end up around the 310 at which Stenavich performed for the Wolverines. What it could mean: Stenavich turned into a three-year starter for Michigan at the key spot, and certainly Magnuson has that opportunity ahead of him. At this point, the present-day Wolverine could certainly hope for what Stenavich achieved in two of his seasons as a Michigan player. Stenavich performed as part of Big Ten championship lines in 2003 and 2004, which appears a pretty good leap for the Wolverines at this point. Again, Stenavich simply remained steady that first year, while surrounded by more veteran talent than Magnuson will see. Overall: In the end, Stenavich went beyond just being a contributor to a pair of Big Ten title seasons. He earned All-Big Ten honors in 2004 and 2005, and even rose up to win the Hugh R. Rader Jr. Award as Michigan's top offensive lineman in his final season. Of course, Magnuson has a way to go to achieve all of that. But he's laid the foundation for having a shot at a lot of accomplishments and a good, long run on U-M's offensive line. — John Borton Stenavich, who started 39 games at left tackle for U-M, was part of Big Ten championship offensive lines in 2003 and 2004. PHOTO BY ERIC BRONSON/WOLVERINE PHOTO 122-125.Erik Magnuson.indd 124 6/19/14 2:54 PM

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