O-Line Focused on Technique, Communication

Michigan's offensive line is looking to rebound at MSU after a disappointing outcome last year in East Lansing.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – A year can make all the difference.

In Brad Hoke’s case, he sure hopes so anyways with Michigan set to face No. 8 Michigan State and its stout rush defense this Saturday in East Lansing.

A year ago, U-M’s offensive line was derailed and felt the full pressure of the then No. 1 MSU defense. The Wolverines would succumb to the MSU pass rush, letting up seven sacks to Spartans, which resulted in minus-48 yards rushing --U-M’s lowest rushing total ever – and showed on the scoreboard too. The Wolverines fell to MSU 29-6.

A big reason behind the pass protection struggles last season was technique, or lack thereof, because the Spartans pass rush had the Wolverines offensive front second guessing themselves , Hoke says.

“I think it’s real important,” Hoke said on the offensive line technique. “I think part of that is when you look at sometimes when you get shocked a little bit, ‘Maybe I can do it better this way.’ And so that’s where the technique goes haywire.”

“I think the biggest thing is do what we know how to do,” redshirt junior center Jack Miller said. “Last year I think as an offensive line we kind of went out there and let go of technique and fundamentals and things like that. We just kind played chaotic as you will.”

The major difference between this season and last season is communication, Hoke says.

[The offensive line’s] communication I think is so much better this year from a year ago if you want to use that as gage with the communication throughout the front,” Hoke said. “The more these guys have played together. I think they have been much more consistent in what they want to do.”

However, Hoke did admit his team was in a little state of “shock” with the pressure face by MSU defensive front last year.

“I think there was,” Hoke said, when asked if his line was in a state of shock versus MSU. “You get a little deer in the headlights a little bit. You got some guys who were young. I think a true freshman started in that game, [Kyle] Bosch. And that’s a different environment.”

Michigan (3-4, 1-2 Big Ten) will play at MSU (6-1, 3-0) this Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

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