Wednesday, August 27, 2014

2014 Season Countdown: #3 Graham Glasgow

Graham Glasgow (image via Michigan Daily)
Name: Graham Glasgow
Height: 6'6"
Weight: 311 lbs.
High school: Aurora (IL) Marmion Academy
Position: Offensive guard
Class: Redshirt junior
Jersey number: #61
Last year: I ranked Glasgow #45 and said he would be a backup center. He started thirteen games at both guard and center.

Going into the 2013 season, nobody really knew what to expect from Glasgow. He was a highly regarded walk-on - for whatever that's worth - but he really struggled to pull in his early spring game appearances, which caused me to question his ability to play that position for a team that wanted to "power" the ball down the field. He began the year as a left guard, and despite some difficulties, he eventually became a solid player. Along with Taylor Lewan, the left side was the strongest side of the line. When center Jack Miller had problems holding the point of attack, the coaches bumped Glasgow to center, benched Miller, and played musical chairs with the left guard position. The move was frustrating to watch, because Glasgow botched at least one exchange per week for his first four games at center; prior centers Elliott Mealer and Miller had zero memorable exchange issues during 2012 or the first few games of 2013. However, Glasgow ironed out his problems by the last third of the season and turned into a solid player.

Observers and coaches seem to agree that Glasgow is Michigan's best lineman going into 2014. He has experience at center and guard, and he also has the ability to play tackle. When I saw him play in high school, I thought he looked like a natural right tackle. Unfortunately, due to a DUI incident this offseason, he will be watching this Saturday's game against Appalachian State. He does not appear on the depth chart, so it's not clear where the coaches see him fitting once he returns from suspension. The possibilities are numerous with his ability to play several positions, but he will almost certainly be a starter from week two onward. Michigan has a true freshman left tackle, a once-benched redshirt junior center, a questionable trio of guys fighting for right guard, and a first-time starter at right tackle; realistically, any of those players could be sidelined in favor of Glasgow, but my guess is that he will play right guard, at least until Kyle Kalis returns to full strength after having back issues for much of August.

Prediction: Starting right guard but will play multiple positions

19 comments:

  1. Another good write up. I agree with your prediction of him playing right guard, assuming Kalis is not healthy. If Kalis is healthy, I have to think Glasgow moves back to center and Miller goes to the bench. I know the coaching have been raving about the improvement of Miller but I just find that hard to believe. Although, a best case scenario probably has both Miller and Glasgow starting, as that would give the OL two whole upperclassmen starters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sold on Miller. He completely blew an assignment in the fall scrimmage that resulted in the safety. The DL shifted the line, and suddenly he thinks his assignment is to go the second level and block air while the LG is completely hung out to dry. You just can't do that.

      Here's one person hoping for a healthy, productive Kalis with Glasgow at center

      Delete
  2. And then there were two.

    Tough call on who to make #1, but I think that I'd go with Gardner.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think #1 is the easiest and most obvious part of the countdown this year.

      Delete
  3. Yet another question about the offensive line: With the emergence of Mason Cole at LT, does this suggest that Cole is a better player than Braden? If he's not as good as Braden, why not swap them and have the better player on the left side? Also, if Braden ends up being the odd man out when Glasgow returns, why not put our "best offensive lineman" at LT and put the true freshman at RT? Maybe I don't quite understand how interchangeable the two tackle positions are...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LTs are supposed to be reliable quick-footed pass-protectors because they're on the QBs blind side. RTs can be a little worse at pass pro, as long as they make up for it with powerful run blocking. The skillsets are 95% the same, so it's less about who is "better" than who fits.

      I don't think anyone outside our coaching staff has any clue who is better between Cole and Braden. Not sure they care either, as long as they are both functional.

      Delete
    2. I'll go out on a limb and say that Cole is a better football player than Braden. Cole will be the first UM, true-freshman starter at LT in forever. The kid must have some abilities. Braden is more of a project and couldn't get on the field as a 2nd year player despite a complete fiasco on the OL. Unless the coaches are completely off their rockers, Cole has to be a better player. You could argue that Braden is more physically talented, but the game is physical and mental.

      Delete
    3. @PS

      The reason Cole is starting is probably more about the lack of viable options than his ability. I would not recommend getting your hopes up too high.

      One can argue Magnuson and Glasgow are options at OT, but if you assume that Miller is not good enough to start and that Bosch is still not ready to start, then you are looking at a still-very-thin OL that would be hurt deeply by shifting either player outside. The line's first man in (after Miller) may still be Burzynski.

      I share your skepticism on Braden, and admit we don't know about Cole, but logic says but the lack of competition at tackle is glaring on both sides.

      Delete
    4. I believe you are over thinking it. If a kid can come in and look competent at LT and brush aside upperclassmen as an early enrollee, he has to be pretty good. Even if the other suitors are weak, that is a still a highly unusual accomplishment. If Cole can play LT, he is a good athlete and can likely play multiple positions. Braden cannot play LT, and apparently failed at LG last years since they darn near tried every other player in the group at OG. Braden may eventually put it together and be decent, but Cole will be ready to see the field two years earlier than him.

      Delete
    5. He didn't brush aside upperclassmen. We don't have those.

      I agree with your Braden skepticism, but your Cole optimism is over the top wishful think and frankly, delusional. Doesn't mean you won't be right, but it's pretty unlikely Cole is even an average big ten starter. My comments on Cole were here:

      http://touchthebanner.blogspot.com/2014/06/2014-season-countdown-58-mason-cole.html

      I argued Cole should rated much higher and could be a starter. Some D-bag anonymous poster says he is certain he knows what the OL is and that Cole will not start. Of course, he is wrong.

      LanknowsJune 28, 2014 at 8:53 PM

      Wow - this seems really low for a guy being hyped as a potential starter. I'd guess he either starts or red-shirts, which makes him hard to rank, but at this point it seems like Braden is still too far away and the other options at RT have as much experience as Cole. That's before any injuries occur... I think he'll have a similar season to Bosch, if he isn't starting from day 1. I'd rank him in the late 30s.

      ----------------------------

      The interesting thing is that now that young Bosch has shown his limitation fans like you are tossing the guy aside. On to the next fresh-face, maybe he's the dream-come-true... Hope that doesn't happen with Cole, who will likely face struggles as well.

      Delete
  4. Glasgow will be the starting center - that's my prediction anyway. Miller hasn't shown us he is a capable player and I don't buy the practice hype. Fool me once...

    I really hope Glasgow locks in at center and just stays there all year. Other than Kugler emerging, which no one is talking about right now, it's the best case scenario for Michigan.

    Glasgow probably won't be the best OLmen Michigan has this year, but I agree he could be the most valuable. His versatility really lets Michigan play it's best 5.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The biggest surprise of fall camp, to me anyway, is how Bosch has faded. Last year, he seemed to be almost like Mason Cole in terms of practice praise. He didn't win a job out of camp like Cole has, but competition was stiffer with 2/5 spots locked down, Bryant healthy, and Miller anointed at OC.

    This year he's fighting for second string once Glasgow is back and is a viable candidate to red-shirt. Unexpected. Maybe a good sign about the rest of the OL. Maybe a bad sign about his Bosch.

    To me, it's even more surprising than other Glasgow emerging at NT and Cole emerging at LT.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It can't be a great sign. I don't think Bosch generated anywhere near as much hype as an EE as Cole and Mone did this last spring. From watching Bosch last year, he looks like more of a positional blocker than a natural power guy (despite his size). But he does not have great feet. Long story short, blockers need to have at least good functional power (like Glasgow, Kalis, etc.) or good feet (like Mags, probably Cole). It's early of course, but I'm not sure Bosch has either.

      Delete
    2. Yet Bosch was the best of the large and well-regarded '13 OL recruiting class. I would absolutely not bury him yet, but I agree it is (very mildly) discouraging that he didn't take over a spot.

      Delete
  6. @Thunder

    Last year you wrote "I imagine it will be easier for Michigan (in this offense) to have a 6'6" center than a team that mostly zone blocks (like Rodriguez's Michigan), because this offense doesn't require as much quickness and leverage."

    Now that we are a zone-blocking team again, do you worry about Glasgow's position or has he proven himself enough that it's a non-issue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Keep in mind that Michigan ran plenty of zone blocks last year. Nussmeier's influence is actually to take some blocking schemes out of the playbook, not so much add new ones in. So simpler should be better for most of these guys. As Thunder mentions, Glasgow settled in at C later in the year. It's not his ideal position, but he should only be better this year.

      Delete
    2. I'll of course let Thunder chime in but Glasgow proved to be pretty mobile last year. He had some impressive blocks that conjured up memories of Molk from time to time. I would bet Glasgow has the quickness and mobility to be serviceable at C if need be.

      Delete
    3. We don't really know what Nussmeiers going to do. This is more authority than he's had before w/o a dominant coaching presence beside him.

      Delete
    4. I think the general impression is that Glasgow is a good linemen and probably our best one. My question is more about how or if this scheme changes affect him or fit him best, given that he's pretty tall for an OC. Perhaps the staff is pushing hard for Miller to succeed at OC so that Glasgow can slide to RG. Or maybe the whole point is irrelevant because Glasgow is the only guy capable of being a strong OC, regardless of scheme.

      Delete