Saturday, March 17, 2012

Poll Results: Who will be Michigan's starting left guard?

Redshirt freshman Chris Bryant might
be the front-runner for the LG job
Last week I asked the question, "Who will be Michigan's starting left guard against Alabama?"

This poll is a little obsolete now that it has been announced Rocko Khoury will not return.  Barnum, the leading vote receiver in this poll, is now the front-runner for the center position.  So guess what?  There's a new poll about the position on the left sidebar.  But here's how much things can change with the loss of one player:

Ricky Barnum: 29%
The fifth year senior is a 6'3", 292 lb. guard/center has been about as injury prone as a football player can be throughout his career.  He has appeared in only nine career games and started three (at left guard) in 2011.  The coaches have praised his ability to get out and run, which seems to indicate that he should stay at guard, since centers don't run very much.  However, insider indications suggest that the coaches want him to win the starting job at center and will give him the first shot to do so. [EDIT: The previous sentence is clearly obsolete now.]

Chris Bryant: 18% (tie)
Bryant is just a redshirt freshman going into 2012, but coaches are reportedly enamored with his abilities, especially as a run blocker.  He appears to be the reason the coaches want Barnum to win the center job, so they can plug Bryant in at left guard.  He was listed at 6'4" and 341 lbs. as a true freshman, but I would expect him to be a little lighter entering the upcoming season.

Kyle Kalis: 18% (tie)
Going even younger, Kalis is an incoming freshman.  He stands 6'5" and 305 lbs., which gives him adequate size (Barnum and right guard Patrick Omameh were both less than 300 lbs.).  Kalis is the highest rated offensive line recruit in the freshman class and the odds-on favorite as the most likely of the freshmen to play in the upcoming season.  Due to a lack of linemen in recent classes, at least one true freshman is almost guaranteed to be on the two-deep, unless a walk-on emerges.

Patrick Omameh: 18% (1 fewer vote than the two above players)
Omameh, a redshirt senior, has started for all or parts of the last three seasons at right guard.  It strikes me as surprising that people think he will move to the left guard position, but I guess anything is possible.  Omameh is a 6'4", 299-pounder who struggled early last season, but seemed to improve late.

Michael Schofield: 13%
Schofield is listed as an offensive tackle, but he started nine games in 2011 as a replacement for the injured Barnum.  With few true threats to replace the departed Mark Huyge at right tackle, it seems unlikely that Schofield will stick at left guard unless there's a major rejiggering along the offensive line like, say, Omameh to right tackle.  While Kalis and incoming freshman Ben Braden are both expected to begin their careers at right tackle, they seem like long shots to start from Day 1.  At 6'7" and a listed 299 lbs. (although I have heard Schofield is a bit heavier now), he seems a little tall to remain at guard.

Other: 0% (2 votes)
I would be interested to know which player(s) were being considered with these two votes.


  1. Why couldn't Miller get the center job and Barnum shift to left guard? Barnum could then shift over if Miller gets hurt. I know it's not the most likely scenario, but it is possible. Either way, the smart thing is to play Barnum at center this spring so he gets used to it. He's played guard for years so it wouldn't be a problem switching back to guard.

    1. Because then you have both your viable centers on the field at the same time. Barnum's bound to get hurt at some point, which would mean Miller is going to be your only center. If he's on the field at all times, then he's more likely to get hurt.

      Also, Miller is small and inexperienced at this point. You'd essentially be playing an undersized, inexperienced center and keeping a fifth year senior (Mealer) or a house-sized but equally inexperienced freshman (Bryant) off the field. That's probably not a good trade.

    2. I see what you mean with your first paragraph, as only having one on the field at a time is probably the only way that we'll always have at least one healthy center. For your second point, Miller would obviously only start if the coaches thought he was more ready than Bryant or Mealer. As I said, it was not the most likely scenario.