Top recruits beef up offensive line at Michigan
Feb 08, 2013 (Detroit Free Press - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Darrell Funk arrived at Michigan two years ago looking to coach a veteran offensive line, but he got a group that was hardly ideal.
"When we got here, the numbers weren't what you wanted and the sheer size and strength (of linemen) weren't what we were going to have one day, but obviously you had All-Americans in that group with (David) Molk and Taylor (Lewan), so you had some real quality, but we just lacked some true competition," Funk said this week.
Now that Michigan has signed 10 offensive linemen in the last two years, including six in the 2013 class, his eyes have widened a bit.
"There were a couple voided classes, if you look at it that way, and we just had to catch up a little bit," he said. "Now, we have a (offensive line meeting) room that has some guys in there, you've got the two senior tackles and you've got a logjam inside, and I honestly couldn't tell you who's going to be the guys, and that's a good thing."
It's encouraging because he has Lewan at left tackle, who surprised many by returning for his fifth year, and senior Michael Schofield at right tackle.
All four offensive linemen from the 2012 class redshirted last season. Now they will be competing with a few upperclassmen for the open jobs at center and the two guard spots.
-- PHOTOS, VIDEOS: Michigan's 2013 recruiting class
"What will happen is, as they push each other and they compete, down the road the two senior tackles will go. We're going to have a lot of fun, and we're going to play a lot of football," Funk said. "Our numbers will be healthy, and within the next couple years they'll be right where we want."
With many of the players versatile enough to flip between various positions, competition should only intensify.
Although Wednesday's signing day built for the future, Funk got his gift for this fall in early January, when Lewan decided to return.
"I think we're right where we want to be," Funk said.
That's how offensive coordinator Al Borges felt looking over the linemen who have signed the last two years.
"We're trying to get to a sic-'em mentality," he said. "We want to come off an attack with our run game in particular and the things that come off of that. And you've got to recruit to that. ... We wanted guys offensive-line wise ... guys with defensive mentality that are willing to mix it up in there and play through the whistle."
Contact Mark Snyder: email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @mark__snyder.
Free Press beat writer Mark Snyder will answer your questions in a live chat at 2 p.m. Friday at freep.com/sports. Submit early questions here. Then come back for a live blog of the Michigan-MSU game Tuesday night.
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