The Wolverine

2014 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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THE WOLVERINE 2014 FOOTBALL PREVIEW ■ 129 OL When he returns, he could slip back in at center, but that's not a done deal, Funk pointed out. "He could be anywhere in the front," Funk said. "That's a positive. He's played different places, and it gives us that versatility." It also gives Michigan a spot to fill at center, at least for the opener. That likely goes to redshirt junior Jack Miller (6-4, 297), who started the first four games of the 2013 campaign as the tip of Michigan's offensive spear. "Jack Miller has had a great offseason," Funk said. "He's held his weight. He's gotten stronger, stouter. He's picked up the system, and he's always been highly intelligent. "I could see him being the center in game one. He played really well at guard, too. That's another thing I was excited about. In years past, he'd be the first to tell you, he didn't play great in practice at a guard. I never understood that. He's really picked it up, and figures heavily in there." At right guard, redshirt sophomore Kyle Kalis (6-5, 305) broke through to start nine games last year. The former five-star recruit did get moved to a backup spot for four games, before starting the final three. He's learned plenty, sometimes the hard way. "His first two years aren't exactly like he wanted them to go, but at the end of the day it will work out," Funk said. "Sitting the first year, then last year wasn't the year he wanted, during the middle of the year, between him being hurt and him taking a seat and watching for a little bit. "The good thing about him is, he battled back. He did some better things in the final games than he did earlier." Like Bosch, Kalis could be ready to turn it up, according to their position coach. "Bosch and Kalis have a great chance — if they do what they're capable of doing — to take a big step as individuals and be the guards," Funk said. "They have the ability. That's what we recruited them to be here. They've both slimmed down a little bit, and we're expecting their redirection to be better. "They're both having good summers. They're both going to be right in the mix." A t r i g h t t a c k l e , m a s s ive r e d s h i r t sophomore Ben Braden (6-6, 319) should be ready to break into the lineup, after getting a cast removed from his broken hand. A failed experiment at guard behind him, he's back to a more natural spot. "I'm excited about the spring he had, even though he had to play with a cast most of the spring," Funk said. "His run blocking is where we need it now. He's got some work to do to complete his game, but I thought he had a great spring playing one-handed. "He's really set himself up well at the right tackle. We'll head into camp with him playing there. I'm excited about the summer he'll have, and he's ready to take off. Physically, he's as impressive as anyone you'll see, in terms of his weight room numbers and how he runs. He's really ready to evolve into a player. "We tried him at guard last year for a long time — all spring and most of camp. It just wasn't a fit. He's comfortable on that right side, and he's ready to come on." The Wolverines feature several potential wild cards, beginning with redshirt freshman David Dawson (6-4, 295), who has indicated he'll perform wherever along the line and backed it with his play. "He played tackle and guard in the spring," Funk said. "He's got a real chance to get into the mix. They all have things to work on, but he played left tackle and left guard in the spring, and finished mostly as a guard." Redshirt freshman Patrick Kugler (6-5, 295) can play the inside spots, and is expected to challenge at center. He's just now getting to where he can combine college-level conditioning with the savvy of the coach's son that he is, Funk noted. "He made some big strides," Funk said. "He came here shortly after labrum surgery. He came to camp and hadn't lifted. He's just starting, now, to get his numbers back up. He's a savvy player. "If you came in from the street and watched him practice, and if you knew anything about football, you'd say, 'That guy might be a coach's son.' You can just see he's very intelligent, and does some things naturally. He's got to get stronger." Freshman offensive linemen are usually neither heard nor seen on game days, but Hoke has mentioned early arriving true freshman Mason Cole's name a couple of times. There's a reason, Funk said of the 6-5, 275-pound newcomer. "A guy that had a great spring is Mason Cole, and we'll see what happens with him in the fall," Funk noted. "Because we were down some tackles, he started out at second left tackle. He spent probably half the spring playing exclusively with the ones at left tackle. "That's great experience, and he'll have a chance to make a run at some things. Mason is going to be a terrific player. He's got his weight up. He got great time working against Frank [Clark] and [Brennen] Beyer and those guys, working the edge. "I remember thinking midway through the spring, 'Wow, this kid should be getting ready for prom, and he's in there battling a pretty good player in Frank, not backing down.' He's got a chance to be there. He's going to start off behind Magnuson at that left tackle spot, QUICK FACTS Position Coach: Darrell Funk (fourth season). Returning Starters: C Graham Glasgow (13 career starts), RG Kyle Kalis (9), LT Erik Magnuson (7), C Jack Miller (4), LG Kyle Bosch (3) and G Joey Burzynski (1). Departing Starters: LT Taylor Lewan (48) and RT Michael Schofield (36). Projected New Starter: RT Ben Braden. Top Reserves: G/T David Dawson, C Pat Kugler, G/T Blake Bars, T Logan Tuley-Tillman, T Chris Fox, T Mason Cole and T Juwann Bushell-Beatty. Moved In: None. Moved Out: None. Rookie Impact: Cole. Most Improved Player: Bosch. Best Pro Prospect: Magnuson. FYI: Michigan could field a lineup of five players with starting experience and no seniors in 2014 … Burzynski is a three-time Academic All-Big Ten performer, majoring in biomedical engineering … If Cole plays in a game this season, it would mark the second straight year in which the Wolverines have taken the redshirt off an offensive lineman, after Bosch performed a year ago … Kugler is the son of UTEP head coach Sean Kugler and the brother of Purdue center Robert Kugler … Glasgow is the brother of Ryan Glasgow, who plays on the defensive side of the football for the Wolverines, and is a former walk-on out of Aurora, Ill., who earned his scholarship … Bars' grandfather, Douglas Eggleston, played football at Michigan … Kalis made the All-Big Ten Freshman Team last season as a redshirt frosh … Fox represents the only Wolverine on the roster from the state of Colorado … Michigan is determined to bounce back from a year in which it rushed for an average of only 125.69 yards per game, ranking No. 103 in the nation … The Wolverines were worst in the nation in tackles for loss allowed, sur- rendering 113 a year ago … Taylor Lewan, the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2013, became the first Michigan player selected in the first round of the NFL Draft since Brandon Graham went in round in 2010. Redshirt junior Graham Glasgow started all 13 games last year for U-M, the first four at left guard before moving to center for the final nine games of the season. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL 126-132.OLs.indd 129 6/19/14 3:16 PM

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