Long's Last Run

Fifth-year senior Jake Long is back for his fifth and final season in Ann Arbor. As one of, if not, the top offensive lineman in the entire nation, Long has played a significant role in the Michigan running game over the past three years. What is Long expecting in his final season in Ann Arbor? Does this devastating run-blocker have what it takes to guide Michigan to its expectations?

Jake Long was one of the first to announce his intentions of returning to Ann Arbor for his fifth-year with the Maize and Blue. In doing so, Long made a statement. In the weeks that followed, running back Mike Hart followed Long's lead and announced his return for one more go around under the winged helmet.

Being a leader has never been an issue for Long. Standing at a massive 6-foot-7, 313-pounds, Long has been a leader in the Michigan program since becoming the first commit in the Wolverines 2003 recruiting class. Now a returning captain on the offensive side of the ball, Long is looking to make his mark on the Michigan program.

"I think every captain has a great message. Every since I've been here there's always been a message saying that 'they're going to play their hearts out for you,'" Long said on being captain prior to the start of the 2006 season. "'Practice like it's your last day,' and 'win in practice and that carries over to games.' So I think every captain I've been around here has had a great message and just going out working every day and winning every day is one of the messages that everybody's trying to get across."

In Long's first run as a captain, the Wolverines saw significant improvement on the offensive side of the ball. After a lackluster campaign in 2005, the Wolverines saw an improvement in both rushing offense and points per game.

"We had a great year last year. We just fell short the last two games. We learned from that and worked harder this summer. We're excited to start the new season and prove ourselves again," Long said at Monday's media day.

"Everybody worked hard over the summer. You could really tell during all the runs that people were pushing each other. During all the lifts people were motivating other people to get bigger and stronger. We had this new thing called the sandpit. It's out on the golf course and the lineman would go run it on Fridays to do our drills in there."

With superior conditioning, and the returning offensive threats that are Chad Henne, Mike Hart and Mario Manningham, the sky is the limit for the Michigan offense in 2007. Despite all the talent, Long knows there is just one thing with the ability to slow down the balanced Michigan attack.

"I think we can be good," Long continued when talking about the upcoming season. "We've got a lot of talent and everyone's coming back. We just need to control our mistakes and make sure we don't stop our own drives with penalties and things like that."

Despite all of Long's success over the past four seasons, the one thing that the talented mauler from Lapeer is yet to do is beat the Buckeyes. After redshirting the year of the Wolverines last victory over Ohio State, Long has gone 0-for-3 in games played against Ohio State, something that motivates Long to this day.

"You feel it every year," Long said on the pressure he feels to finish his career with a win against Ohio State. "Every year Michigan is supposed to beat Ohio State and win the Big 10. We like that pressure and just need to learn to play with it and come out on top.

"When you come to Michigan, no matter what the type of season is, it's always ‘Did you beat Ohio State?' and we haven't done it yet. We haven't won a bowl game yet either. I think those two thinks are both obviously something that we want to accomplish this year."

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