Michigan football podcast: Balas and Skene on spring ball, O-line

Chris Balasby:Chris Balas04/09/24

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The Wolverine's Chris Balas & Doug Skene Discuss Top Michigan Football Spring Storylines I #Goblue

Chris Balas and former Michigan offensive lineman Doug Skene break down the U-M line and more in today’s podcast, including the center position, tackles, and more. The Wolverines are rebuilding up front, but Grant Newsome believes the Wolverines have the pieces needed to put a good line together.

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“I think it’s always a balance of letting guys compete at one spot, but you’re also trying to find the best five,” Michigan first-year offensive line coach Newsome said. “We’ll move guys around so if stuff happens throughout the season, you have the ability to play guys at multiple spots.

“You’re trying to let guys compete at one spot and feel like they have a home. I think it’s something that people don’t understand about playing offensive line unless you’ve done it is that it’s as easy as changing which foot is up in your stance. Going from tackle to guard … obviously center is a different animal in itself. It’s tough to be able to play at multiple spots at a high level. We consider that, and try to balance that with still making sure we’re putting the best five out there no matter what the circumstances may occur.”

And again, he said, there’s plenty of talent in the room. Five Michigan starters have moved on, but there are guys returning who have starting experience.

“One thing that we have that is kind of viewed as an oversight just because we lost six guys who started a ton of games is that it’s not like the next group is all freshmen or redshirt freshmen,” Newsome continued. There are a lot of guys in that room — [Michigan center] Greg Crippen [is one] — that have started games here. Jeff Persi started a game two years ago now. Gio [El-Hadi] started games for us here … obviously, Myles [Hinton] started games, and Josh [Priebe] has started games elsewhere. There are a lot of starts in that room, so there are a lot of guys who have played football at a high level.”

Now, he noted, it’s going to be them on them, him, and the rest of the coaching staff to find the best five and continue to develop beyond that and find the best chemistry in the room.

“We haven’t viewed it as, hey, we’re starting from zero,” Newsome said. “It’s just continue to develop the guys no different than you would any other spring.”

Balas and Skene break it down in today’s podcast.

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