After a few years with the program, offensive lineman Mason Cole finds himself planted in a leadership role on the line.
Michigan will have to replace the majority of the offensive line this season with Cole being the centerpiece of that line. Starting as a true freshman, things have come full circle for him. Looking up to the players departing as a freshman, Cole now has younger players looking up to him and seeing his workman-like approach that made him a valuable asset as a true freshman.
For Cole, nothing will change in terms of how he views himself. He will just have to be more cognizant of those around him.
"I don't think it's a different approach," Cole said. "Now being an older guy you have to realize that the younger guys are watching you and looking up to you. You just have to make sure you're leading by example and doing the right things."
Whether Cole plays at center or slides over to tackle is one the big question marks of the offseason. While Cole is capable of playing both, he remained coy about where he will play on the offensive line. Saying spring is a time for players to move around all over the line to see their strengths.
After all, it's all about finding the best players and best fit.
"We're just trying to find the best five and where those five fit," Cole said. "Pretty much everyone is playing a little bit of everything all spring, we'll see how it works out... [I was] all over, just as many different spots as possible trying to find the best five and rotation possible. Wherever the pieces of the puzzle fit."
Like the true sportsman he is, Cole says he doesn't have a preference where he plays this season. Whether it's at center, tackle or even longsnapper, Cole is willing to do whatever the coaching staff asks of him.
"At this point, it's just finding the best five and finding the most productive offensive line," Cole said. "Wherever that works and wherever I play, it's all good. As long as we're good like that."