Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh chats with The Michigan Insider about both lines being able to 'Flip a Switch' on the field.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh chats with The Michigan Insider about both lines being able to 'Flip a Switch' on the field.

Ask any football coach and he'll quickly point out the trenches are where the game itself can be won or lost.

Prior to Jim Harbaugh's arrival at Michigan, the offensive line was a flat out mess. Routinely leaving Devin Gardner hanging out to dry in passing situations and unable to generate holes let alone a push up front, the results were less than flattering.

In Harbaugh's first season in 2015, the offensive line saw as much improvement as any unit on the entire team, a credit to offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Tim Drevno.

Michigan's offensive line allowed just 18 sacks in 13 games, a huge difference from 2014 when teams were virtually living in the Wolverines' backfield. Add in a rushing average of 158-yards a game, the improvement is evident.

Now nearly through with spring football practice leading into the 2016 season, Harbaugh believes this unit has a different gear led by senior Kyle Kalis, opening up to The Michigan Insider in this exclusive interview.

"Kyle has that, he's that way, kind of got the personality of a (Erik) Magnuson where, hey, they're good guys, real gentlemen," Harbaugh said. "Ben Braden, the same way, and Mason Cole, but there's a switch that gets flipped when they go on the football field. 

"They become like Kyle Kalis all the time (laughter). Kyle Kalis is that way all the time. The switch, you talk with Kyle, it's just always on where the other four guys, you get them off the field they are real gentlemen and polite and everything."

A seasoned position group, the only question mark will be the development of true sophomore Grant Newsome at tackle. Newsome was good enough to burn the redshirt in 2015, seeing time in four games, making one start.

On the other side of the ball, the defensive line appears poised for another banner season, potentially the deepest position on the entire team.

Losing Willie Henry to the NFL Draft, Michigan regains the services of defensive tackle Bryan Mone. Although Mone missed the entire 2015 season due to a leg injury, the Utah native is back and the Wolverines are hoping better than ever.

"He was one of our top players last year," Mone said. "We ranked the team going into training camp from one to 125 and Mone was three. Unfortunately had the injury early in camp but he's always been that kind of guy. 

"Perfect gentleman, nicest guy you'd want to be around off the field and then get you on the field and he has that ability to flip the switch."


The Michigan Insider Top Stories