By Ashley Dunkak
ANN ARBOR (CBS DETROIT) – Entering Saturday’s game, much was unknown about the Michigan offensive line. Two fifth-year seniors manned the tackle positions, but none of the three interior linemen had ever started a game for the Wolverines.
Right guard Kyle Kalis is a redshirt freshman. Left guard Graham Glasgow is a redshirt sophomore. Center Jack Miller is another redshirt sophomore. Glasgow had gotten in five games as a reserve in 2012. Miller had played in six. Kalis had never seen game action.
Right tackle Michael Schofield said the young guys seemed to have the jitters at first in Saturday’s season opener but that they quickly got rid of them.
“I thought we did pretty well as an offensive line,” Schofield said. “Those three inside guys, it was their first time playing. I felt like maybe the first drive they were pretty nervous, but after that it was just football and they just started playing well. I think as an offense we kind of started clicking. We had some stupid penalties. Besides that we played some pretty good football.”
On one drive, the Michigan offense got tagged for three penalties – substitution infraction, false start and ineligible downfield receiver.
Despite those indiscretions, the line made a solid impression on quarterback Devin Gardner, who was especially impressed by the group’s flexibility when Central Michigan showed different looks than what Michigan watched on tape.
“They responded, because it wasn’t what we saw on film as much,” Gardner said. “They showed a lot more pressure on second down and long distances, and they didn’t do that this game, and [our offensive line] adjusted. That’s one thing that you might be scared of when you have three new interior linemen and adjust on the fly when you don’t see exactly what you’ve seen on film, but they did a really good job of doing it and giving me time to throw the ball.”
Gardner also said his interaction with Miller, the center, went flawlessly.
“It went well,” Gardner said. “No exchange problems. Those are big deals, pet peeves, I think, for the coach. Those are things you can’t even start the play because of an exchange, and we had no problems like that. Our protection we were on the same page and changing the protection or keeping the protection the same, so I think it was a great opportunity for us to show that we have a lot of chemistry.”
Running back Fitzgerald Toussaint, in his first game back from a leg injury that ended his 2012 season, said that the offense did a great job developing continuity with each other during fall camp, and he credited the offense’s success to that chemistry.