ANN ARBOR, Mich. – With Mason Cole moving to center in the spring, left tackle became a vacant position this off-season as Michigan continues to look for its blindside protector of the future.
Who is the likely candidate heading into this season? Well, after the spring it appeared sophomore-to-be Grant Newsome was the leader of the pack. However, with fall camp underway, fifth-year senior Erik Magnuson didn’t concede any frontrunner for the job.
“It’s not much different honestly (at center), Mason (Cole) is doing a good job. He has big shoes to fill with Graham (Glasgow, now with the Detroit Lions) leaving, he did a good job,” Magnuson said. “But we still need to figure out who the left tackle is.”
And while he wouldn’t name Newsome the leader, Magnuson did admit his fellow tackle appeared more confident this camp compared to his spring performance.
“He’s getting more confident, I can tell he’s getting more confident in his ability,” Magnuson said. “He’s going against guys like Rashan Gary, Chris Wormley and Taco Charlton, and those guys if you beat them it’s definitely a confidence booster, because you know what they can do.”
What can Newsome do to solidify himself as the starter?
“I think it’s the same thing that everybody is fighting for (at any) position, just stay consistent,” Magnuson said. “Everyone has got opportunity to play with the first string so far has a lot of talent, makes good plays and does their job well, it’s just consistently can you be at that high level.”
Magnuson says he expects to find out who the starting left tackle will be the week heading into his game against Hawaii on Sept. 3, but in the meantime, he says it’s an open competition.
“We’re trying to figure that out, the cohesion is there,” he said.
Magnuson also noted that few other lineman who have stuck out in camp, including: Juwann Bushell-Beatty at left tackle, David Dawson at guard, Patrick Kugler playing both center and guard and freshman Ben Bredeson at tackle.
“They are rotating guys in there, just trying to figure out the best five,” Magnuson said. “It will be sometime before I think it’s decided.”