The Wolverine

September 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 55 of 83

56 THE WOLVERINE SEPTEMBER 2016   MICHIGAN FOOTBALL of the posterior cruciate ligament in his knee, sidelining him for all of spring practice and into the summer. The potential Michigan captain took a steady, measured road on the way back. Now, he insists he's fully prepped to go. "I'm ready," Chesson said at the Aug. 7 Michigan football media day. "If we had practice tonight, I'd be participating." Chesson explained that the injury could have been much worse. "It was a minor tear, a minor set- back," he said. "I'm ready to go at this point. That's behind me. That's buried. I'm ready to compete with my teammates tomorrow." It took a while to bury, though. Missing spring football hurt because other wideouts were working with the quarterback who will eventually take the reins this fall. "Any time you don't get the chance to play out there with your broth- ers on the field, it's hard," Chesson admitted. "I'm no exception to the rule. Anybody who suffers that in- jury, there is a certain time period it takes to get back to be full go. "There is a certain attitude with which you attack each day to get back to full go. I took advantage of all the situations and opportunities I had to get better, and I'm really ex- cited to compete with the guys." The process included a gradual progression toward running and cut- ting again, and eventually taking to the workout fields with teammates. "I definitely made a transition, but everybody does that," he said. "Ev- erybody that suffers that injury has to go slow, then pick it up and gradu- ally go. It's a process, right? "I'm not the expert in that, the doc- tors are. We worked together, put to- gether a great plan to get on the field as best I can." He's ready to compete again, ex- pressing the "utmost confidence" in whomever Michigan chooses to guide the team behind center. Chesson insisted he also appreciates "the character of guys we have on this offense. It's a daily grind. When you walk into Schembechler [Hall], the guys who you are going in there with, it's so exciting to be around those types of guys. "When you're surrounded by posi- tive people like that, guys who are willing to suffer the consequences you're suffering to pursue a champi- onship, it makes it all worth it." Chesson overcame plenty in the months leading up to the 2016 season. Now he's looking to overcome every- thing else in one final season inside Michigan Stadium. KYLE KALIS: OFFENSIVE LINE WILL BE AT ITS BEST Fifth-year senior offensive lineman Kyle Kalis doesn't mince words when asked about the Wolverines' offensive line this year. It will be, Kalis assured, "damn good." It couldn't be much more experi- enced. Three fifth-year performers are expected to retain starting jobs, with Kalis (6-5, 305) at right guard, Ben Braden (6-6, 335) at left guard and Erik Magnuson (6-6, 305) at right tackle. Junior Mason Cole (6-5, 305) has moved to center, with two starting seasons at left tackle behind him. Only sophomore Grant Newsome (6-7, 318) — who came into fall camp projected to start at left tackle — lacks extensive experience. "This is the pinnacle," Kalis insisted. "This is when there is nothing left. We've done it all up to here, and this is the year we've got to polish it up and really make a stamp on the program, leave a mark." Michigan's line certainly improved over the course of the 2015 season, going from a tough loss in the opener at Utah to a dominant performance in the 41-7 New Year's Day romp over Florida in the Citrus Bowl. Several ex- pressed that they wanted the bowl effort to serve as the "floor" for Michi- gan's offensive line to get better. That may not happen right away, with 2015 center Graham Glasgow off to the NFL and a subsequent shuffle taking place. Still, the Wolverines go into the fall as a top-10 team nation- ally with no lack of confidence, de- spite head coach Jim Harbaugh's poll aversion. "He's instilled in us a mentality to not care about the outside sources," Kalis said. "While that's nice and very cool that we have that to our name, we really don't think about it at all. "I was with my family last week and they said, 'Oh, you're ranked No. 3 in one of these polls,' and I'm like, 'I have no idea. I don't watch that stuff at all.' "We're just really confident as a team right now." Part of the confidence, Kalis noted, involves going against Michigan's de- fensive line every day in practice. The attackers for defensive coordinator Don Brown's crew look talented, fero- cious and deep, all characteristics that can improve coach offensive coordina- tor Tim Drevno's blockers. "Oh yeah," Kalis agreed. "Those guys have always been that talented. They've made us so much better, and we've made them better, but those guys are unreal. "Worm [fifth-year senior defensive lineman Chris Wormley], Mo [red- shirt junior defensive tackle Maurice Hurst Jr.]. Taco [Charlton, a senior de- fensive end], Ryan [Glasgow, a fifth- year senior defensive tackle] — you can't find better guys than that around the country. We're lucky to have them. "If you've got Worm spiking into you from a five-technique … in a game, there's no one else I'm going to find that's better than Worm. Same thing with Ryan … there's no one in a game that's better than Ryan." Senior tailback De'Veon Smith lit up when asked about running behind a host of battle-tested offensive linemen. "Exactly," Smith said. "We've got four returning offensive linemen. That's a great feeling." DOUG SKENE WEIGHS IN ON THE PLAYOFF AND NOTRE DAME Doug Skene sports five Big Ten championship rings from his playing Fifth-year senior offensive lineman Kyle Kalis is one of three expected starters up front in his final year of eligibility. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - September 2016