Wednesday, August 20, 2014

2014 Season Countdown: #9 Kyle Kalis

Kyle Kalis
Name: Kyle Kalis
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 298 lbs.
High school: Lakewood (OH) St. Edward
Position: Offensive guard
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: #67
Last year: I ranked Kalis #29 and said he would start at right guard. He started eight games at right guard.

Kalis disappointed a lot of Michigan fans in 2013 with his unspectacular play. Despite being a redshirt freshman, a lot of the frustration for Michigan's failure to run the ball came down on Kalis. He would probably admit that he had a subpar season, but that could apply to the whole offensive line; it was a systemic failure that started with the offensive coordinator and trickled on down. Not only were the hogs up front not getting any push, but there were communication failures that allowed defenders to slice through the line at will. After the season, Kalis revealed that he had been hampered by an ankle injury and a back injury, which saw him get benched for a short mid-season stretch. He still managed to be named to the ESPN Freshman All-Big Ten team.

Unfortunately, the back issue still appears to be lingering. Kalis has missed several practices recently, including last Saturday night's open scrimmage. Head coach Brady Hoke stated strongly to the affirmative that Kalis would be starting if he were healthy. Considering the lineup sent out there on Saturday, my guess is that Graham Glasgow would slide back to center, Jack Miller would return to the bench, and Kalis would enter at right guard. Back injuries are notoriously tricky and can persist for long stretches of time, so it will be interesting to see how long this lasts for Kalis. I was frustrated by the line's play in 2013, but that does not dampen my hopes that Kalis can be a good college player moving forward.

Prediction: Starting right guard when healthy


  1. Let's hope he puts it together. His atrocious play was one of the biggest surprises of the '13 season in my book. I'm a big OL watcher and going back through the UM teams of mid-'80's, I could not think of a worse starting G than Kalis in '13. As early as the ND game, it became pretty clear that whenever he had to move laterally to block anyone, he was likely to get whipped.

    This is the first I have heard of him being hurt last year. Hopefully, that explains some of his problems. I hope he has been able to shore up some of his agility issues this off-season. The coaches definitely want him to succeed. He has an NFL build, is from a high-profile school in Cleveland, and he spurned the Buckeyes (and took heat for it). So I expect the coaches to continue to give him every opportunity to succeed. Considering his physical tools and background, this guy should be a stud.

  2. He was named to ESPN's All Freshmen Big10 team? Yikes. That has to be a function of there just not being very many freshman OL.

    That offensive line last year was so painfully bad that even someone like myself (who has near zero knowledge of offensive line technique or blocking scheme recognition ability) could see constant breakdowns. Hopefully it can click at least enough to not sink the entire offense.

    Though, from what I saw, it did look pretty systemic. Everyone on that line looked pretty lost, and the play calling was obviously atrocious. Which hopefully means the personnel wasn't subpar, just the coaching.

  3. The 2013 all-ridiculous-expectations team was a good one and it will be missed. Derrick '5 ypc' Green, Shane "screw Rich Rod's QBs" Morris, Amaroh "the next Jerald Robinson" Darboh and Jack "Better than Mealer even though he didn't play at all" Miller were key players. Kyle "it can't be worse than last year when we had a 5th year returning starter" Kalis might have been the captain though.

    And lets not forget the defense, led by 'starting nickelback' Dymonte Thomas and all-conference hype magnets Frank Clark and James Ross.

    Can't wait to see who this year's team is composed of!

    Sorry, that was overly snarky. I agree on the ranking. Kalis did OK for a redshirt freshman and I agree he can be a good player. This teams fate depends on the coaching staff showing they can do their job with the OL; turn some of the talent into quality starters.

    1. All-Conference hype magnet Frank Clark was named All-Conference

    2. @Anon

      Never let reality get in the way of your expectations. It is a fact that Frank Clark and James Ross are disappointments. They'll be passed over very soon by people who have never played college football before or looked great against backups in garbage time or had a really productive Spring Practice. You can tell because the coach said nice things to the media about them.

    3. I said nothing about expectations. Just that Frank Clark indeed was named All-Conference. So maybe not the best example.

    4. .. Are all of your posts supposed to be some kind of shtick?

    5. My point is that people are disappointed based on expectations, not reality. Clark had a good year and got a lot better from 2012, but people are/were still disappointed. Ross had a good year and got better, but people are still/were still disappointed. Kalis and Green were fine, for freshman, but people are still disappointed. Glenn Robinson 3 was one of the best players on very successful basketball teams, but many fans griped about his game more than they appreciated it. Etc.

      For various reasons, people with big expectations get labelled as disappointments. I'm saying maybe the expectations are the problem, rather than the player.

      I need to see it before I buy into the hype...except for Freddy "4 Heismans" Canteen.

    6. Actually it is Jabrill "3 Heismans and then #1 overall draft pick" Peppers this year. Kid is going to be good but man is the Hype overwhelming.

  4. I like this pick at 9 a lot. I have high hopes for Kyle and our O-Line under this new system. I am a big fan of run first power offense and to be able to do that, our Guards need to be healthy and productive. Kalis has All Conference potential if coached right and healthy. Just imagine the possibilities that running the ball effectively can give DG.

  5. I have really hated some of the O-LINE combinations. Call me crazy but if you want to help the run game and protect the QB'S I would love to see this. LT-MASON COLE, LG-KYLE KALIS, C-PATRICK KUGLER, RG- GRAHAM GLASGOW, and RT-ERIK MAGNUSON. Cole is the best LT ive seen sincw the spring and fall camps, no other guy has the speed in his hands and feet for LT. Kalis played on the left side in high school mostly so what's the harm in trying. Kugler has been the best leader in terms of calling out blitz/protection schemes and besides one play with Mone destryoing him has looked like the best guy at protecting and gettimg to the 2nd level. Glasgow is not a center, his hands are too slow and gets no push plus he isn't a leader, but at guard where he can pull and get a running start he does a good job once he engages. Mags was supposedly the LT this year but Cole is just better right now, I don't like Mags as a guard because he gets no push but as a RT he would be perfect because he can pass block and really doesn't need to pull or run after linebackers all the time cause he is not fast enough. We keep plugging in new guys looking for something to gel, but its not working so move them back to their natural positions and leave guys who played guard or center at the position you recruited them at. I wanna hear your guys picks and why?

    1. I don't have picks. Don't know enough. Not saying you're wrong or crazy, but how are you able to process O-linemen information better than the coaches who spend whole days with these guys, know their lift and effort history, have spent years coaching other athletes, etc. Maybe Glasgow isn't a leader, but how do you access, and Know, that info? Maybe you're inside? It seems to me that the coaches have exponentially more info. I trust these coaches to choose the best five. They may or may not make a good O line, but I think the best five will be out there.

    2. Agree with your comments. Those are the five I was hoping would start this fall. If Kalis can hold off all of the other suitors at G, that would be a sign he has improved. Based on the clips from the spring game, I don't see Braden holding up at RT. If he does fall apart and UM needs to re-shuffle again up front, I will be furious. That would be the 2nd year in a row they wrongfully bet on Braden. If Braden does work out, I'll credit Funk on that one. Hopefully, Kugler gets some real snaps in some of the non-conference games and can make a case to be starting for the B1G season.

    3. Kalis is hurt and Glasgow is suspended. Once they are 'back' they will start, most likely. Cole and Braden seem to be locking down the tackle spots, but that may be the coaches wishing and encouraging more than reality. Magnuson seems like a swing guy, who will be somewhere.

      That leaves Bosch and Miller as the potential odd men out. Kugler hasn't really gotten much mention for starting, but that doesn't mean he won't be there by mid October.

      No one has any idea how these guys will perform on game day.

    4. @Anon 7:19

      I trust the coaches, in general, to make the right decision and we don't know much in comparison....BUT, they've been wrong about their starting center each of the last two years and the OL coaching has been a cluster in general. If there is one spot where fans are right to question them it is here.

  6. Thanks Thunder for the write up, as good as always. Does anyone think that the discussion of who's who should start on the OL that we are having now is all because of Glasgow' suspension for the first game? This creates a problem for the coaches to prepare for the season. They need to now working on the first game, with Miller as the center, and also working on the best combination to have after Glasgow's suspension, given that he's supposed to be our best interior lineman...(or even RT). If not for his suspension, the coach may probably already have the idea of who's the best five after 2 weeks of fall camp, and keeo giving reps to those 5...Now they have to consider when Glasgow is back, who should be the one out? Cole because he is a true freshman, and push Mag to LT? or Glasgow just replace Miller? If Miller plays good on the first game, then Glasgow should replace who?

    It's all because of the suspension......

    1. Maybe, but it could be the opposite. Getting Miller up to a level where he is a viable option could have huge benefits if/when injuries strike.

      It seems to me that Glasgow is most likely to return at OC, regardless of what the coaches are putting out there now. They have to push Miller to be a starter and act as though he is legit - because, for one game at least, he is the guy. What is the benefit to telling him he gets one game and then back to the bench it is?

      They seem set at the tackle spots and with Magnuson at LG...for now. So really, they have a battle at RG between Kalis, Bosch and others. Are they just going to hand it to them, make it a one-on-one battle, or should they let Miller believe he is the starter and can stay the starter?

      It seems to me that the coaches are doing the right thing. Glasgow's suspension and Kalis' injury have thrown some uncertainty into the public relations side of things, but the coaches probably know what they want to do and it would surprise me if it was start Miller at center. Not after how buried he was last year. The scheme change gives him a second (third?) chance, and against App State he might be OK, but he's not a guy I feel confident about against DLs like Notre Dame, OSU, MSU, and PSU.

    2. Assuming Glasgow and Kalis earn the right to play, the most likely scenario is L to R: Cole, Glasgow, Miller, Kalis, Magnuson.

      I just do not see Braden being one of the best 5. His hand technique is dreadful, and he's a lunger. I think Magunson is the real RT, but he's had to move inside due to two potential starting guards being out.

      That said, Kalis's injury scares me. A bad back isn't something you can play through.

      And it would not surprise me if Hoke really made Glasgow jump through hoops to get back on the field. He might pop right back in and play after the first game, but I could see him lingering in the doghouse all year if Braden is up to snuff. We'll see.