Tuesday, June 3, 2014

2014 Season Countdown: #75 Patrick Kugler

Patrick Kugler (image via Go Blue Wolverine)
Name: Patrick Kugler
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 295 lbs.
High school: Wexford (PA) North Allegheny
Position: Center
Class: Redshirt freshman
Jersey number: #57
Last year: I ranked Kugler #87 and said he would redshirt. He redshirted.

Kugler had surgery to repair his injured shoulder between his senior year of high school and his freshman year of college, so his rehab impaired his ability to contribute last season. Even so, a true freshman playing offensive line in college is somewhat rare, let alone at center. Kugler was a full go for the latter part of the season in practice, and he seemed none the worse for wear during the spring game.

Kugler enters the 2014 season as the third center on the roster. Redshirt junior Graham Glasgow leads the way, followed by redshirt junior Jack Miller, who started the first few games last year before being passed by Glasgow. So there's a fair amount of experience ahead of the redshirt freshman. Despite being listed at 295 lbs., Kugler looked pretty thin this spring and could afford to add some mass before he hits the field in the regular season. I think he will eventually take over the position and could even help out at guard in the meantime, but that's probably still a year or two away.

Prediction: Backup center


  1. I thought Kugler looked solid in the spring game and better than Miller. I think Miller was the back-up center due to seniority and due to Glasgow being back for the second game. If the center battle was between Kugler and Miller this year, I think Kugler would be the guy.

    I see Magnuson, Glasgow, Bosch and Kalis as near certain starters on the OL. If Braden is ready at RT, he will be the 5th starter. If he's not, I see Kugler at center and Glasgow at RT. Beyond these 6, I didn't think the other OL looked ready to go. By 2015, the competition will be fierce.

  2. I think Kugler will see non-garbage snaps this year and be starting by year end. Forget Miller - his 2013 benching, more than any other individual factor, screwed up the OL big-time last season. If he had any potential, the coaches would have given him another shot and let Glasgow relieve a struggling Kalis. And his case was a rare one in that Hoke actually publicly spoke about his deficiencies (size and strength) - that's atypical, and not a great sign for Miller. Now that UM has a bunch of big, young talent coming on, it would be a major disappointment to go back to Miller for any period of time.

    Kugler only needs to be so-so to move ahead of Miller. Glasgow is a potential all-conf RT or OG, but not a natural C. I don't think Braden will stick at RT, so the coaches will be motivated to move Glasgow out there. Long story short, Kugler asserts himself in year 2, as the majority of good OL do. I agree that he is not fully filled out, but he still looks plenty big and certainly has a larger frame than many historical UM C's. If you use his size against Kugler, it's much worse for Miller. Forget listed weights - in shots where they show Miller standing next to his line-mates, he stands out by looking like a pudgy high school player.

    1. I doubt Glasgow has all conference potential. I think you might be giving him too much credit for being the only competent player on last interior OL - but that doesn't mean he's a good starter, let alone an all conference one. It also sounds like a move to OT might be more likely than OG.

    2. Guess we will see. Thought he looked quite good for a first time starter in the early games at OG last season. He looked much better than Kalis and Bosch. The move to C did him no favors - he never got the feel for combo blocks down with the OG's.

      Glasgow looked much, much more aggressive and competent at RT than Braden in the spring game. He should be the leader of the line this year, no matter where they play him.

    3. by default, yes

  3. A young lineman actually gained weight?

  4. I am hoping for Steve Everitt 2.0 here. Big hopes, yes.

  5. Agree with the others saying Kugler is more important than Miller. Miller's not going to start, but Kugler might. There's a danger in buying in to recruiting hype, but there has been some positive practice reports that indicate he's in the top 6-8 contenders for a starting spot. If he figures things out, there's a decent chance for him to win the job.

    In the best case scenario for this OL (and the team), Kugler is the starter at OC. That has the domino effect of moving Glasgow to a more natural position and not having to start Braden/Dawson/Cole -- none of whom sound any more ready than Kugler does.

  6. Can you explain why you put Kugler (prediction: backup center) behind Winovich (prediction: red-shirt)?

    Just wondering.

  7. The third string center has less value than a guy who can at least run down the field on kickoffs, if not play a little bit of linebacker in garbage time.

  8. I don't really agree that Kugler is the third string center, but even if he's only on the fringe group of top 10 OLmen, he's an injury or two away from seeing significant playing time or at least backup duty. For Winovich, his best case scenario is, realistically, special teams play - a role that is extremely replaceable. I guess you can argue the 11th OLmen isn't significantly different than the 10th, but I just see far less of an established pecking order on OL than LB.

    I view it like this - Winovich has a 30% chance of being a special teams guy, a 10% chance of being a helpful backup, and 2% chance of being a starter. Kugler has a 2% chance of being a special teams guy, a 30% chance of being a helpful backup, and a 10% chance of being a starter. (I actually think Kugler's chances of starting are a lot higher than that, but I'm pegging him as around the 10th best OLmen for the sake of this discussion).

    There's just too much uncertainty on the OL this year. Look at all the guys we cycled through last year, and that was with two established starters. Now we have 4 spots up for grabs. Burzynski, Kugler, LTT, Dawson, Cole, Miller -- any of these guys could end up as an important player.

    If you're convinced he's buried behind Miller and locked in to being a center with no positional flexibility and zero chance of starting, I can understand the ranking. Given the practice buzz and recruiting profile, it seems like that's a negative view of Kugler though. I think Kugler belongs in the 50s, where you had Burzynski last year, if not higher.

    I think our philosophical difference here goes back to the Burzynski discussion last year. You view the 7th-9th OLmen as not likely to play and not significantly different from the 10th-12th OLmen and I see guys who are both more likely to play than a 4th string LB and more differentiated in ability.