ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan offensive lineman Ben Braden made the switch back to guard this offseason after spending some time at the tackle position early on in his U-M career.
The switch, it appears, has been paying dividends as he is, at least for now, firmly planted as a starter on an offensive line that has been performing well three weeks into the 2015 season.
While praising the offensive line as a whole during his weekly press conference, U-M coach Jim Harbaugh did mention Braden's improvement briefly.
"Ben Braden is also playing better," Harbaugh said. "He still has work to do, he is improving."
Braden himself acknowledges the stark differences between tackle and guard including what happens with the transition. But Braden has also gained something that's incredibly important as well.
He's having fun.
"It's different," Braden said. "I think that's one of the most direct, different, aspects from going to tackle to guard. Being able to pull and read a hole, things change. Where you expectthe blocks to be on paper aren't necessarily where they need to be during the game. But, at the same time, I love it. I love pulling and it's a lot of fun."
But what exactly are the kinds of differences one might see at different spots from the offensive line? Apparently, a lot can change being moved over one position on the offensive line.
For Braden, life comes at you fast as a guard.
"At tackle you have a little more space, a lot more time," Braden said. "Especially in pass-pro, you have a little more distance between before they get to you. Whereas guard it's kind of right here, right now. I think that was kind of the biggest things to get used to when I first started practicing guard, just getting used to things quicker. There's a lot more relying on technique versus athleticism as a guard. Because your technique will always be there for you and keep you in good posture and position. So, you know, you can actually sustain a block or pass protect."