Irish Front Will Test Michigan Interior OL

Each of Michigan's three interior offensive linemen made their first career starts Saturday against Central Michigan. Moving on to Notre Dame, the Irish will present a much greater challenge with a talented and powerful defensive front.

ANN ARBOR—One full game tape is all Michigan coach Brady Hoke has to look at when it comes to the interior of his offensive line.

Left guard Graham Glasgow, center Jack Miller, and right guard Kyle Kalis all made their first career starts for the Wolverines in Saturday’s win over Central Michigan, drawing positive reviews from Hoke, even after reviewing the film.

“For the most part, and not entirely obviously, they did a pretty good job,” Hoke said. “They’re a pretty stout group, especially the two guards and so, for their first time out there with live bullets, I think they did a good job.”

Kalis, a former five-star recruit from the state of Ohio, made his presence felt physically, especially on the first of Devin Gardner’s two touchdown runs, body slamming a Central Michigan defender to the ground.

“I thought he played well,” Hoke said of Kalis. “I thought he did a nice job. A couple back side cut offs he could’ve been a little better but I thought he was physical.”

Now with Central Michigan thoroughly disposed of, Michigan looks ahead to Notre Dame, boasting a defensive front that will look a little different not only because of the sheer size and athleticism of defensive ends Sheldon Day (6-2, 290-pounds), Stephon Tuitt (6-6, 322-pounds) and nose tackle Louis Nix (6-3, 357-pounds), but also because of the 3-4 alignment, pinning added responsibility on the shoulders of the Wolverines newly baptized interior group.

“Jack, Kyle and Graham, it gets a little tougher this week (with) who they play,” Hoke said. “And that’s no disrespect to anybody but Notre Dame has three guys up front that are big, strong, active, guys who have played a lot of snaps, have the experience.

“The odd front will be a little bit different, that they like to work in and out of. Having a bigger guy on the center is a little different when he’s head up on you.”

Miller, specifically, listed at 6-foot-4 on Michigan’s depth chart, though looking closer to 6-foot-2 in person, will have his hands full with Nix, giving up nearly 60-pounds and at least an inch in height to the senior on the Bednarick and Maxwell award watch lists in 2013. Nix recorded 50 tackles in 2012, including 7.5 tackles for loss and two sacks.

Nix accounted for four tackles and a forced fumble in Notre Dame’s 13-6 home victory over Michigan in 2012.

Notre Dame’s lone sack against Temple last Saturday came from Stephon Tuitt.

By the stats

Michigan’s six tailbacks were able to account for 155 total rushing yards Saturday against the Chippewa’s, excluding the 38-yard scamper by Dennis Norfleet on the reverse and Devin Gardner’s 52-yards.

Michigan’s running backs combined to eclipse the 100-yard mark just three times in 13 games in 2012, at least running backs not named Denard Robinson, that is.

Good news for Michigan is the Irish front did give up rushing yardage in chunks to Temple in their season opening 28-6 win in South Bend.

The Owls accounted for 134 rushing yards on 29 attempts for an average of 4.6 yards per carry, including a one-yard touchdown run.