Thursday, August 14, 2014

2014 Season Countdown: #14 Kyle Bosch

Kyle Bosch (#65), an Illinois native, celebrates the win over Northwestern
Name: Kyle Bosch
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 303 lbs.
High school: Wheaton (IL) St. Francis
Position: Offensive guard
Class: Sophomore
Jersey number: #65
Last year: I ranked Bosch #78 and said he would redshirt if possible. He played in five games and started three at left guard.

In last year's Bosch profile, I wrote "He probably won't be one of the five best linemen right off the bat, but he has a chance to be a Justin Boren-type injury replacement at some point in the season." That's exactly what happened. The coaches held him out until the Indiana game, when an injury to backup guard Joe Burzynski - who was making his first career start - forced Bosch onto the field. I felt that Bosch was Michigan's most college-ready freshman lineman in 2013, and he held his own. But he played like a freshman, struggled with combo blocks, and eventually returned to the bench in favor of the Erik Magnuson/Kyle Kalis guard combination.

The most recent information coming out of practice says that Bosch and Kalis are the odd men out with Magnuson playing left guard and Graham Glasgow on the right. Sometimes that information has to do with injuries, motivational ploys, or attempts by the coaching staff to mix things up and see what works. When I put this list together, I assumed that Magnuson would be required at left tackle, not true freshman Mason Cole. I will stick to my guns and say that Bosch should be the starter at left guard, because having a freshman playing blind side tackle terrifies me just a wee bit. However, there are obviously still some moving parts. It will be interesting to see who trots out there on August 30th.

Prediction: Starting left guard


  1. What's interesting to me in all the OL conversation is that Glasgow is always the first name and is playing seemingly everywhere, Magnuson is always on the field regardless of lineup and who's doing the talking, and the RT position and Braden are seldom reviewed.

    This makes me continue to think what I've thought all along, it's gonna be the big people, Magnuson, Bosch, Glasgow, Kalis, Braden.

    There's a reason Glasgow got in front of Miller last year, I think he stays at center. Magnuson is our best athlete on the line and played reasonably well at guard, given his frame and maturity. Braden is a huge man and still a Redshirt Sophomore. The two big young guards were both very highly rated upon being well scouted, have all the size in the world, have taken some lumps and are simply in the process of getting a few more from the coaching staff. There isn't a coach on this earth who doesn't believe that a little adversity to overcome is the single greatest thing on this earth for a young football player.

    I look at everything Hoke/Nussmeier have to say about creating identity as a physical offense along with Nussmeier's recently employed system at Alabama, the type of backs we go after and I can draw no other conclusion. We want to block out the sun with our offensive line while running inside zone and maybe some power as they mature further. Maybe Dawson sneaks in there somewhere at guard some.

    Next year about this time we'll all be talking about our rising stud OL with all the starts and be worrying about Quarterbacking.

    I'm waiting for the inevitable, "Kugler is another overhyped bust" conversation.

    1. But Kugler was a 5 star OL according to scout, and didn't see the field last year. He also hasn't recovered from his shoulder surgery yet? What a loser.

      It's like, hello! These are D-1 athletes! They should be good to go after a solid 8 hours of sleep. Surgery shmurgery, if Kugler can't beat out Miller and Glasgow and Lewan then something is wrong with player development on the team.


    2. Glasgow is their best returning OL, that's for sure. If they kept him at OG or RT, he'd be on the All-B1G track in my opinion. Moves well, big frame, strong, and has a power-blocker mentality. Not sure he'll shine as much at C though. Since he is their best player and can handle four different positions, it looks like the coaches will just plug him in for the weakest link.

      My early take on Bosch is that he is more of a "positional" blocker by nature than a power blocker, despite his significant size. Mags is not a people mover either, but his feet appear to be better than Kalis' or Bosch's at this early stage. Bosch is of course young and has a lot of potential. But the bottom line is that he has to be a better player than Cole (at minimum) to see the field, because Mags can probably slide into LG or LT, whichever need is greater.

      Kugler needs to stake his claim this year. The coaches are absolutely dying to plug a competent C in there and let him play the next few years. Glasgow is better used elsewhere and Miller is not a legit option. Not sure if Kugler is a natural C either. But if he can't start to pull away from Miller this fall, that is not a great sign for his potential at C.

    3. @Painter Smurf

      "Kugler needs to stake his claim this year." - He's a RS Freshman on the offensive line. As great as it would be if he'd win the starting job and let Glasgow bump out to another position, I have the sneaking suspicion it's not exactly do or die time for him this season.

      "Not sure if Kugler is a natural C either." - I'm pretty sure he is exactly that. There was talk of him getting true freshman reps last season when Miller (and less so with Glasgow) was starting.

    4. I do not think Kugler is vital to this team. Not only have the coach comments been lukewarm (Glasgow and Miller seem to be the legitimate options in their minds), but center is a position that is often given to upperclassmen. There are exceptions (like David Molk), but historically, they're often upperclassmen and/or position switchers from guard (Mealer, Baas, Bihl, etc.).

    5. Interesting interpretation of the rumblings. Here is mine - it looks like Cole may be one of the 5 best linemen out of the gate. Last year Bosch started. In the past Schilling and Boren have played as true freshman, and guys with talent varying from Jake Long to Patrick Omameh have started as RS Freshman. What does it mean -- experience matters, but isn't the end all be all. Talent matters more, even on the OL. As Hoke and Nussmeir have said in the last week - if you're good enough you're going to play.

      It's interesting reading the comments on the Bosch post from last year. Anonymous and "JC" were very happy to defend Funk and make excuses for young players. I agree they deserve to be cut serious slack, but if you can't play at all as a young guy it's doubtful you're headed for all american status (which, if you believe the "just wait 2 years" crowd, Michigan's OL is headed for epic domination 2 years from now, perpetually.)

      Back to Roanman's size argument. It seems most people think Braden is going to start but all anyone ever says about him is he is big and he is working hard. That's nice and fine, but I'd like to hear about him being effective as a blocker, locking down Beyer and the other edge players he faces. Until then, talented freshman like Cole and Bosch are going to play ahead of him.

      It was the same story with Miller last year though he was dubbed as being 'small'. People made excuses for why he didn't play, just like they are making excuses for Braden now.

      We'll see. If Braden pans out and we "go big" with the OL and it works, I'll be very happy.

      I don't think anyone knows anything for sure and I think that's a pretty bad sign. The fact that no one knows where Magnuson or Glasgow will end up isn't good. At this point, my best guess for starters against MSU is this: Cole at LT, Magnuson at LG, Glasgow at C, Bosch at RG, Kalis at RT. Cole seems as likely as Kalis, Bosch, Braden, Miller at this point. Whatever the circumstances are, every starting lineup we've seen since he hit campus has had Cole at LT. Might not mean anything in the end, but it probably does.

    6. Re: Anon imitating me about Kugler, I've never said anything bad about him. I thought he might start last year and was/am hoping he emerges as a starter this year. But center is the OL position where experience matters most, so Glasgow could well stick there. I don't think it dooms Kugler's career, but it is a bad sign if Miller and Glasgow stay ahead of him, given all the other OL issues.

    7. @PS @ BNYC

      You guys sound very sure about things that I think we have no idea about. Glasgow was the best lineman last year (of the guys that return) but there is a lot of young talent, so he could easily get passed by the younger guys.

      And Kugler may or may not be a OC. It's a hard job. Our coaches though Barnum could do it, but he never got it right and he was a 5th year senior before they figured that out.

    8. The center position is only given to upperclassmen if that guy is functional. In Glasgow's case, he probably qualfies. In Miller's case, he probably doesn't. I think that he is the worst center that I have ever seen. Worse than any of the redshirt freshemen that I have seen forced into starting duty or showing up in a late game mop-up role.

      If Kugler is behind Glasgow, it's not time to panic.

      If Kugler is behind Miller, it's time to really really panic.

    9. I've been a staunch doubter of Miller for a while, and I agree with the criticism. That said, Miller is competent enough to hold his own against App State or MAC-level teams. Kugler is, hopefully, more talented but mental mistakes and snaps are things that could hold him back behind Miller for a while and they would not necessarily be panic-inducing. He may indeed end up being a good player, at OC or at OG, even if he sits this year behind the uninspiring Miller. But yeah - if he can't beat out Miller in his second season, he's probably not going to be Steve Everitt or Rod Payne.

    10. well...Hoke says Braden will start. We'll see if it sticks, last year Miller did not.

      But it's certainly a good sign for Hoke to be confident in Braden. Will be interesting to see if it means Kalis, Bosch or Cole go to the bench.

  2. The O-line is becoming downright frightening.

    1. Well, it's not like you couldn't see this coming. We got bailed out last year a bit with Lewan returning and Glasgow emerging, but you could see the storm clouds coming as soon as Rodriguez took a small class in 2010 combined with the awful transition process in 2011. That's why I have serious problems with the way this coaching staff appraoched the 2012 class. They needed to get several starters from that class by the time they were RS Freshman - a tall order. They only grabbed 4 guys when they should have grabbed 6 or 7. That sounds crazy but the roster was screaming for the need. Instead we have approximately a dozen starting-caliber LBs and 55 H-back/FBs and 6 RBs to rotate through. We'll probably need all 6 because the OL can't block and these guys are going to get killed.

      I understand the knee-jerk reaction against someone saying "the coaches should have seen this coming" but seriously - they should have.

      It's like they don't even read my comments on the TTB message board!

    2. I don't even know how to respond to this.

      The coaches had less than 3 weeks in 2011 to grab linemen and grabbed 2. Posada never made it past fall camp. From practice reports, Bryant seemed prime to grab a starting spot, but had a career ending injury later on.

      RR took 1 OL (Pace) in 2010 and he had a career ending injury.

      In 2012 they had grabbed 5, but Stacy decommitted close to signing day.

      It's not like they didn't see this coming, or they didn't try to amend the situation.

    3. In 2011 they went after a bunch of guys at other positions - defense,TE, QB, etc. They made Rawls a priority even though he was lowly ranked, because they wanted to have a powerful run attack -- but didn't address OL other than trying to keep the Rodriguez guys. By 2012 they knew that only Bryant and Miller were viable players from that group and that Pace was hurt. It seems like they also overestimated how good Miller was. 4 wasn't enough, neither was 5. Historically about half your OL recruits aren't going to pan out into viable starters, let alone do so as underclassmen.

      All you had to do was look out two years to the 2013 season and see that your best case scenario was Bryant, Miller, Schofield and Lewan (who easily could have gone pro). That meant you needed at least one guy, probably two, to start as RS freshman in 2013. Then, by 2014 only Bryant and Miller were going to be left, so you needed at least 3, probably 4 starters that were either RS Soph or RS Frosh. We're all making youth and excuse, and it is, but this is the situation the coaches planned for.

      Again, you could see this coming. They could have done more and they should have done more. I think they were overconfident in their ability to recruit OL, assuming the Michigan name would bring in sufficient talent. To me it's similar to how Rodriguez mishandled the entire defense. He focused on the specialist "hybrid" players the same way Hoke/Borges focused on getting versatile FB/H-back/TE types. Should have assured the OL and DL were stable before going for luxuries.

  3. I agree with your ranking and your feeling that Bosch is still a vital cog at maybe the most important position-group on the team. I think he's one of our 5 best linemen and will start.

  4. Last year, your comment was dead on about Bosch, but you ranked him far too low, given that he was a starter. I think OL are often underranked in the countdown, so it's good to see Bosch this high.

    1. Hindsight is 20/20. There was no way to predict that Bryant and Burzynski would both have career-ending or season-ending injuries. I think Michigan went through six starting offensive guards last year (Glasgow, Kalis, Bryant, Bosch, Burzynski, Magnuson). Oh well.

    2. In a sense, you are right of course, but when you're talking about the OL it's 5 positions, so a few injuries/suspensions should be expected. Most years all of your top 7 will play meaningful snaps, and when you have a lot of uncertainty (as Michigan had last year, and has this year still) you can expect even more to play.

      There are years where Michigan has 5 or 6 veteran guys locked in to established roles, where the backups don't matter a great deal. 2013 and 2014 are not those years.

    3. Michigan was pretty injury-free in 2011 and 2012. The only major issue was when Schofield played a lot at LG in 2011. Last year there were options in the form of Lewan, Magnuson, Kalis, Bryant, Schofield, Miller, Glasgow, Braden, and Burzynski. That's 9 guys who were redshirt freshmen or older. I can't argue that Bosch was ranked perfectly, because obviously he didn't redshirt. Regardless, even if you excluded Braden - who played very little despite "starting" the spring game - Bosch was basically the 9th lineman. It seems like you're trying to rub my nose in the fact that I ranked the 9th lineman too low. Oh well.

    4. Michigan was very lucky in 2011 and 2012.

      I'm not trying to rub your nose in anything. I was just saying you made a good narrative analysis, but it didn't reflect in your ranking.

    5. I do think the 7th-9th o-linemen are underranked again this year, because we have even more uncertainty now.

      You have a couple locks to start in Glasgow and Magnuson. You have the guys competing for starting jobs: Cole, Braden, Kalis, Bosch, Miller. That's a top 7 that are all vital to the teams success. Then you have guys who are likely to be important if/when injuries or suspension strike: Dawson, Kugler, Burzynski.

      IMO, all these backups matter more than many backups listed at other positions even though they won't have special teams roles, because our OL situation is in so much flux.

  5. I'm intrigued by Mason Cole potentially starting at LT.

    Not because he's a true freshman, but because of the position. On the OL I would think C and LT are the two most challenging positions for a true freshman. I am not sure if I should be dismayed by a true freshman starting LT or be really happy we have a true freshman that good.

    I am tempted to joke that if the coaches are considering a true freshman at LT, then it must indicate the blindside is *really* the RT position because, you know, left-handed QB and all that. :-)