Kalis & Miller talk O-line Improvement

Kyle Kalis

The two starting lineman discuss the play of the interior line through two games and more.

Michigan redshirt freshman right guard Kyle Kalis

What's one thing you're taking out of this game?

Kalis: "Biggest thing for me is to stay focused. In an atmosphere like that it's easy to get distracted and not focus on whether sam dog is coming or whatever. Biggest part is just focus and not letting the crowd play a part of it."

How much did you improve from the first game to the second game?

Kalis: "I slightly improved, I didn't make any great gains or anything, it was just another week, but I think having that first game under my belt I wanted a second game. Even with the atmosphere I was feeling a lot more comfortable with myself and how I was playing. My body position, etc."

The three of you interior guys -- there's so much talk about how you guys are going to adapt, is there going to be cohesion? Do you guys use that as fuel or anything?

Kalis: "I mean it's definitely motivation. But I think motivation in itself is that you're playing at a great University like Michigan. If you can't get motivated from that you need to go somewhere else, especially from a game like that. I think the three of us just focus on being the best we can. Leadership is definitely a big part of that -- like Taylor and Schoefield do a pretty good job helping us out."

Has Taylor (Lewan) said anything memorable before the games? Anything that he said before Notre Dame that stuck with you?

Kalis: "There was one time in the game; it was just us five out lineman out there. He took us all in and held us and said, "Look around for a second, take it all in for a second. Look where you are, you're at Michigan, look at this place!"

How much pride do you guys take in only allowing one sack so far this year?

Kalis: "I guess it's good, but the goal for us was to get no sacks. So I mean that's definitely not good in our book and we need to get better."

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Michigan redshirt sophomore center Jack Miller

How would assess your play and the offensive line play after two games?

Miller: "There's plenty to work on, but I think it's alright. I think some things are showing up that shouldn't be; some really correctable things that we all can work on and fix really quick. But overall I think it's alright. There's a lot to work on and that's our goal right now. But we're getting there."

They always say that the biggest improvement takes place between the first and second game... but after you play Notre Dame and you see what a legit front seven is like, does even more improvement take place because of what you learned from that game?

Miller: "Maybe, we'll see. I mean, we'll see Saturday -- I don't know until we play. It might, I feel like we improved as an offense a lot going into week two. I hope we improve in week three, week four -- so we'll see Saturday how those things pan out."

You said you want to see things improve, what are some things that you really need to see?

Miller: "We didn't do a great job with blitz pickup I don't think. There's some really easy stuff in all of our opinion that we just kind of messed up for whatever reason. I'd say that's probably the biggest takeaway from all of it. And just little things, play in and play out -- focusing and just a consistent execution that we're all trying to strive for. Just continually getting better at that."

How much does it help you to go against players of that caliber of Tuitt and such, where you're going against some of the better guys you'll go against all season?

Miller: "Yeah, it's awesome to play them early and get a feel for where you're at, and the things for where you need to get better at. and to get a true test for where you stand as an offensive line and as an individual. So it was huge, and like I said there's plenty to work on -- but I was pretty happy with the way a lot of that went."

Was that the most difficult matchup you ever had in your life?

Miller: "Probably, yeah (laughs). I think he outweighed me by 70 pounds or something like that. So yeah I would say so, but at the end of the day how many points did we put up, 40-something? We got the job done to a certain extent; we got the W so that's all that matters. Like I said, it's a good measuring tool for where we're at up front."

In the running game obviously you've had a lot of success with Devin. How much do you want this week to get back to a traditional running game -- let's see what we can do with our tailbacks?

Miller: "A lot. And, you know, we do that and it opens up more. I would say a big priority for this week and for the coming weeks going into Big Ten play in a few weeks is can we get Fitz going -- and obviously the success we have there can open up can open up other things. So that's a main point of emphasis."

How different has it been from your expectations from these first two games? Any things that have popped up that you've said, ‘Well I didn't see that these last few years standing on the sidelines'?

Miller: "Not necessarily. Honestly I think it's been a pleasant surprise how naturally it's unfolded. You know, ‘What's it going to be like when it's go time and the best guys are out there, like Notre Dame's front seven?' Before this year -- you've put in two full years going against guys in here and it really prepares you. I'm becoming an "older guy" and I'm starting to understand the importance of taking reps and practice and how easy that makes other things."

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