ANN ARBOR, Mich. – It’s an understatement to say the Michigan offensive line has struggled this season. Especially after two straight Big Ten defeats and a combined rushing total of minus-69 yard rushing and giving up 14 sacks.
So it should be easy to blame the offensive struggles on the offensive line, right?
“Well, everyone is going to point to the offensive line,” Michigan coach Brady Hoke said. “But it’s really all of us. It’s not just them. So, I don’t know if that’s fair. It’s never one guy, one thing in anything in life. … In a team sport it’s not that way. So all 11 parts have to be working in the same direction.”
The offensive line has two fifth-year senior tackles in Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield, they have a ton of youth as well. With Kyle Bosch (freshman), Graham Glasgow (redshirt sophomore) and Eric Magnuson (redshirt freshman) starting in the inferior front.
With Michigan’s worst two-game rushing performance in recent memory, Schofield, the starting right tackle, has consistently reminded his young line mates of the struggles that come with playing so early on in their careers.
“We’re trying to keep their confidence going,” Schofield said. “Because you know I was in that spot my redshirt sophomore year when I played a new position and I was totally new. I know it’s hard sometimes, but you know ((them) probably hearing it from me and Taylor (Lewan) or helping those guys out is going to help those guys out.”
Hoke has adamantly stated throughout the season that offensive line is the hardest position to play early in college. A big part of that he said, is the “grind” that comes with the position.
“I think any freshman No. 1, it’s a grind,” Hoke said. “It’s a grind, they have been here since June. It’s a grind. They haven’t been home. It’s a grind. And you know for those guys who have been there who have redshirted they understand it a little bit. But it’s a different thing redshirting and looking on cards, and then all of sudden ‘man’ you’re out there.”
When asked if he was disappointed in the development of his offensive front, Hoke replied, “So from that standpoint, you disappointed? I think you would be lying if you said you’re not because what you see what they can do. And when they do it right, it speaks so much to them being able to do it right.
“We got to keep grinding away. There is no easy fixes to anything ever in life. This is life and life lessons that are taught through the game of football.”
With three games remaining this season and Michigan no longer having a chance a Big Ten Championship, the new goal is apparently a ten season, says Hoke.
“Well No. 1, you’re a competitor,” Hoke said. “You want to go out in and fight. If not, they shouldn’t be at Michigan. I think for our seniors, we always play for our seniors. And we’re always going to work hard for those guys. This group is a group you know, that has been through some struggles. They’re very important to all of us. The other things is, you got a chance to win 10 football games. That opportunity is out there. And that’s always been a little bit of a bench mark.”
It’s just matter of getting back and playing football, said Schofield.
“W got to do our job,” Schofield said. “We have to have a good week of practice this week. We have to get going. We have to make to make sure get execution going I guess. Just get back to playing football.”
Recruiting Smash Mouth Physical Players
“I do know we have those guys,” Hoke said. “Does it frustrate you when you’re not there right now? Yeah, but from the guys who have been recruited, yeah, we have those guys.”