Thursday, March 22, 2012
Tight end, OL depth top Borges' concerns
By Brian Bennett
Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges likes what he has to work with this spring. And who wouldn't be excited about Denard Robinson and Fitz Toussaint returning in the backfield as the offensive core?
But like every team, the Wolverines have some issues. One of the key concerns is building a solid two-deep along the offensive line.
"It's a position where we feel good about the kids who are playing," Borges said. "We just need to enhance our depth."
Michigan must replace Rimington Trophy winner David Molk at center, and Ricky Barnum will get the first crack at the gig. Barnum was injured most of last season, and has played left guard in the past.
"He's athletic," Borges said. "Ricky can move. He's really has the profile more of a center. He's smart, he understands who to block and he's played some guard, which should have some carry-over to center. So I think Ricky is going to be fine."
Making up for Molk's leadership might be the toughest task this spring. Borges said Barnum, left tackle Taylor Lewan, and senior guard Patrick Omameh should help pick up the slack in that area.
The starting group up front should be solid, with senior Elliott Mealer taking over at left guard, and Michael Schofield moving to right tackle to replace Mark Huyge. Behind them is a lot of inexperience. Borges said redshirt freshmen Jack Miller and Chris Bryant should contribute. And an incoming freshman like Kyle Kalis has a chance to crack the depth chart.
"We'll see how quick they can pick it up," Borges said.
Another area of concern is tight end, which loses departed seniors Kevin Koger and Steve Watson. Borges said senior Brandon Moore, who has played sparingly, and Ricardo Miller, who's more of a receiving tight end, will get the bulk of the work this spring. But it's a position that remains unsettled.
"We're looking at other kids, and the jury is still out," Borges said. "It's a position where, if a freshman came in and showed something, he could probably make a contribution."
Incoming recruit Devin Funchess could be that guy, though he'll likely need to put on some weight. The Wolverines also signed A.J. Williams as a tight end prospect.
"Seeing who's going to come to the forefront and be our starting tight end this spring, that's huge," Borges said.