Wednesday, August 22, 2012

2012 Season Countdown: #8 Patrick Omameh

Patrick Omameh
Name: Patrick Omameh
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 305 lbs.
High school: Columbus (OH) St. Francis DeSales
Position: Offensive guard
Class: Redshirt senior
Jersey number: #65
Last year: I ranked Omameh #7 and said he would be Second Team All-Big Ten.  He started 13 games at right guard.

Omameh started every game last year, and while he wasn't quite as good as I expected, the offensive line did fairly well.  He was named to Phil Steele's midseason All-Big Ten Second Team, but he struggled with his pulling, especially early in the year.  As the season went along and Michigan seemed to use more spread plays, Omameh appeared to get more comfortable with the footwork that offensive line coach Darrell Funk was using.

Omameh enters 2012 as a fourth-year starter at right guard.  He has experience in Al Borges's offense now and should pick up where he left off in the second half of 2011, paving the way for both Fitzgerald Toussaint and Denard Robinson to gain over 1,000 yards.  His primary backup is redshirt freshman Chris Bryant, who is a good drive blocker but needs work on his pass sets.  I think Bryant is going to be a good player, but he might be a year away from being effective . . . and aside from him, there are just true freshmen or walk-ons.  The loss of Omameh for any significant period of time could seriously derail Michigan's rushing offense with the question mark at left guard and a new starter at center.  I hate to predict the same thing as last year when I was wrong, but I think that Omameh will step up his performance another notch this season.

Prediction: Starting right guard; Second Team All-Big Ten


  1. Your comment about Bryant is why I'm worried about our OL next year and the year after (and our depth this year). I'm a big fan of the guys we are bringing in, but most OL develop slowly. You would rather not have an OL start until their redshirt sophomore year. Some may be able to play effectively before that, but they are the exception.

    1. Anytime one of your starters gets hurt, it puts you in a bad situation. Bryant will only start if there's an injury. I think every team plays guys before they're "ready" if injuries start to happen. It's just part of the game. It would be great to always have a redshirt junior waiting in the wings to step in, but I don't think that's very realistic at most places. Even in the Carr years when things were going well and attrition hadn't hit Michigan extremely hard, we had freshman Justin Boren stepping in when there was an injury.

    2. I understand about injuries, but the difference next year and maybe the year after is that freshman or redshirt freshman will have to start, even if no injuries. That is not a situation you want to be in.

    3. Right. I guess the Bryant comment was confusing, because Bryant will be a redshirt sophomore when he's "required" to start.

      And technically, no freshmen or redshirt freshmen will have to start in 2013, at least the way things set up now. Lewan will be a senior, the LG will probably be a sophomore (perhaps Kalis, who is likely to play this year), the C will probably be redshirt sophomore Miller, the RG might be redshirt sophomore Bryant, and the RT should be senior Michael Schofield. That's still pretty young on the interior, Lewan might leave, etc., but there's still hope for a slightly more veteran OL next year than what you're expecting.

    4. Yeah, I only referred to Bryant because you mentioned that, as a redshirt freshman, he is still a year away. That's the case for most redshirt freshmen. Even in your best case scenario, we are using Kalis, in his second year on campus, as a starter. Kalis seems to be far advanced for is age, but it still could be an issue. I'll be glad once the normal OL recruiting kicks in and we start getting a more veteran unit where we only play really young guys when they are too good not to play.

    5. I've been worrying about the '13 line for a couple years. Thunder is right that the best-case-scenario leads to a starting unit that looks reasonable in terms of class: SR/SO/SO/SO/SR. Kalis and at least one of the freshman tackles are almost surely going to play this year, so they'll be Sophomores next year. However, none of the projected '13 starters at the 3 interior positions have played a single snap of college football at this point, and they're going to be sitting behind veterans in 2012 again.

      Because best-case-scenarios don't usually work out, it is likely that a redshirt-freshman or a true freshman starts next year on the OL, but that's beside the point. The line will very green next year (unless an injury befalls a starter this year - which none of us want.) Root for some blowouts so these kids get a little in-game experience.

    6. The line should be OK. A couple points to put into perspective:

      If you look back at good college lineman (w/ legit NFL talent), they tend to earn starts by their 2nd season in the program. Really good OL prospects are not shelved for three years no matter what the depth situation - that's a myth. If Omameh can come in at 240 lbs and be a competent starter in year two, I'm not too worried about guys like Kalis or Magnusson in year 2.

      The 1997 team started a lot of inexperience and youth on the OL, not to mention mediocre players at RG and C. It's obviously nice to have experienced studs across the line. But teams can move the ball even with merely competent OL. OT is the primary concern. In '13, they will at minimum have Schofield who can play LT. And they should find another respectable OT between Bars, Magnusson, and Braden. The much bigger deal in '13 will be not not having an obvious QB waiting in the wings.

    7. @PSmurf - Clearly you're buying into the recruiting rankings. I'd argue you have way too much confidence in them. I think they're especially unreliable when it comes to OL. Look back at Michigan's '02 , '04 and '05 OL classes. Look back at the '08 class where ONeill and Mealer were ranked above Omameh.

      I'm not arguing the sites and rankings aren't worthwhile, as general indicators they're fine, but you don't have to look far to realize that the variance/uncertainty is very very high. The reciprocal logic to "if Omameh can do it" is "if Schiano can't do it".

      I get what you're saying - yes, if Michigan has NFL-caliber linemen, they'll likely be able to contribute as underclassmen. With that I agree...the question is: do they have them? We don't know. Kalis, Magnuson, and the others haven't played a snap. Right now, Kalis is being outplayed by a guy you think very little of - Burzynski.

      The issue with the '13 line is primarily about the interior, not OT. They need to replace the entire interior of the line and have no one with experience to do it. Center is particularly worrisome, given it's importance and level of difficulty. Compared to QB, where we will have a 5 star senior who has already played with reasonable competence, and a RS SO who is getting plenty of compliments, and a true freshman 5 star...the OL is a much much bigger concern. It's not even close.

  2. Hoke says "Joey Burzynski’s part of that competition. I know Darryl’s done some things with moving him around a little bit, trying to find those seven or eight guys that can fit and can play a lot of positions.”

    That kind of talk (but more importantly past coaching actions) is why I don't get too hung up on similar positions like LG and RG. The backup isn't necessarily the replacement. If Omameh gets hurt they'll plug in the 6th best linemen, whoever that may be. Right now it sounds like Burzynski.

    1. I don't read too much into the "competition" talk coming out of training camp. It's pure motivational stuff, like the pumping up of Brink last year. Burzynski will fade at OG as the season progresses, as the younger guys get more comfortable. The coaches need to rehearse for two new OG's in 2013, and for sure Burzinsky will not be one of them. Burzynski's best shot in my opinion is to win the back-up OC role. His lack of size is less of an issue there.

    2. Burzynski to center is an interesting idea. It wouldn't surprise me to see the coaches work him in there if he proves competent at guard. Huge area of need next year.

    3. Burzynski played center in spring 2011, so that's not really a stretch.

  3. I take it all back. With Bryant done, OG looks just about as thin as OT. The starting OL should be 1-5 in this countdown. ARGH.