Interview by Sam Webb
Story by Josh Henschke
Greg Frey was brought back to Michigan to aid the development of the offensive line this fall. His work will certainly be cut out for him this upcoming season as the Wolverines are facing an overhaul of the offensive line.
With only a handful of offensive lineman returning this season there is a heavy emphasis this spring on development.
"You have some young kids coming in we’ll see when they put the pads on," Frey said. "As you're going, really it is about that six or seven on the line of scrimmage. The two tight ends or the one tight end and the five O-lineman that it really comes down to and finding the combo and maybe two or three guys play, maybe a four-man rotation. It is one of those things where you’re getting guys to prepare at the highest level because we’re going to need them all. We’re going to need them all to be good football players, all of them to be good people and all of them to buy in and go.
"You’re never going to make it through a season with just five guys. It is a situation where you’re building depth, you’re building competition and that’s what we’re doing on a daily basis here.”
A young player that benefitted greatly playing as a true freshman is Ben Bredeson. While he certainly earned his playing time as a young player, it's clear that he is still maturing in body shape and knowledge of the system. Now that Bredeson is familiar with Big Ten football and the physicality needed, he will have a better understanding come fall.
Something that Frey says Bredeson is well aware of.
"For me, it is about the process. Whoever it will be, it will be how they attack it. It is a constant, evolving thing where you are evaluating yourself and pressing it. That’s what you see about of a Ben, what you see out of a Mason. That’s what you see out of these guys. It is looking at it and it is good, but it can be better. That’s what you’re looking for and that’s what you want, so you’re seeing guys who last year were getting used to it. Some of the guys haven’t played. You had an older line, three guys graduated and then you had Mason and Ben play in there. He got his beak wet and he has got a feel for it. Now what we see is this summer is the impression that his first year in the Big Ten made on Ben I think needs to show up in the summer. Because now it is a question of how good he wants to be and he knows. Any time you play a freshman, it is their first time and everything is new. Now they know what to expect and now you get to see how good they want to be, and that’s really what we’re going to see as we go and as we continue to go with a lot of these guys.”
That's certainly the challenge that has been extended to Juwann Bushell-Beatty. The senior-to-be got on the field last year after Grant Newsome was lost to injury. He hopes to get back into the lineup this year and stay there.
"What you've got is you're identifying what they need to be to be the player they want to be," said Frey regarding his approach with Bushell-Beatty. "So that is when you’re looking at it. We want to build his velocity coming off the ball. We want to build his knee bend, his ability to stay in a power position. There are things like that that we’re attacking and we’re working on that every day. Of course, you can always be in better shape. Any player out there in the world, there is nobody out there that can play at the highest level every single step. You’re always striving to become better in the weight room, and your core strength, and how you run."
Stay tuned to The Michigan Insider for word on the impressive development of some of the young offensive linemen, Cesar Ruiz's impact on the center competition, and more. In the meantime, for more from Frey on his outlook for the offensive line this spring press play on the clips below.