Ed Warinner was hired from Minnesota to Michigan to fix the Wolverines’ ailing offensive line. And, thus, the entire program.
In Game 1 of a critical season for everyone in the program, Michigan’s offensive line looked, well, like it did in 2017. The Wolverines surrendered three sacks and struggled to clear the way for Michigan’s running backs in a 24-17 loss to Notre Dame. Even when subtracting those three sacks and their 32 lost yards, Michigan ran the ball 30 times and gained 107 yards while losing 17.
Week 2 was much kinder, though. Michigan bullied for 308 rushing yards and dropped from three sacks allowed to two in a 49-3 whipping of Western Michigan.
The difficulty will increase from here — though not immediately; SMU comes to the Big House Saturday — but Warinner has a plan to ramp up his unit’s play as the season chugs along: constant competition. A starting role on Warinner’s offensive line is good for the start of that game and not much else. Everything must be earned, even from series to series.
“Your job is yours for the start of that game,” Warinner said, via Nick Baumgardner. “If you aren’t playing well in that game and somebody else is close, we’ll make a move in the game. If after the game we realize you’ve under-performed and somebody else is passing you up or even with you, we’ll move on. It’s not like it’s the starting five for the season. (It’s based on) performance in games, performance in practice and who is most consistent. Anything could happen moving forward.
“The things is, the guys who are the next guys in at a lot of positions are young. So (you try to) bring a guy along at the right pace. You put a young guy in there before he’s ready you could really ruin him, really set him back. You bring him along at a pace he can handle, then you’ve got something for a long time.”