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Posted on Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

Michigan's offensive line down to five scholarship reserves, all freshmen, after Chris Bryant injury

By Kyle Meinke


Redshirt freshman Chris Bryant, shown during the Wolverines' spring game this year, was expected to be Michigan's backup right guard until fracturing his leg. He is lost for the year.

Angela J. Cesere |

Freshmen. Walk-ons.

Notable contributors sometimes emerge from one of those groups -- but when one does, he's the exception. These guys typically are lowest on the totem pole, and that's especially true up front, where size matters more than anywhere else.

To that end, there happens to be only two types of reserves on the Michigan football team's offensive line right now: Freshmen. Walk-ons.

And it just lost another.

Redshirt freshman Chris Bryant is done for the season after fracturing his tibia in practice. He was not destined for a starting spot, but was expected to make the two-deep as Patrick Omameh's backup at right guard.

That is a key loss for a front that has only five scholarship players with experience -- and each is starting.

How bad is it? The most experienced scholarship reserve is Jack Miller. He's a redshirt freshman center who has yet to play a down at Michigan.

The backups, with Bryant out of the equation:

  • Four true freshmen
  • One redshirt freshman
  • Five walk-ons

Sophomore walk-on Joey Burzynski, who appears to have lost the left guard battle to senior Elliott Mealer, will be the most pivotal reserve. He likely will back up both guard positions.

Among the true freshman, guard Kyle Kalis is expected to make the two-deep now. Tackles Ben Braden and Erik Magnuson were thought to be strong redshirt candidates, but they could be pressed into duty, particularly if Taylor Lewan or Michael Schofield goes down.

The Wolverines played with similarly thin depth last year. Their most prominent backup, Schofield, was pressed into early duty and performed well after left guard Ricky Barnum was suspended for the opener, then battled various ankle injuries.

Michigan didn't have much else in terms of reserves, but stayed relatively healthy, so it did not become an issue.

After the injury to Bryant -- as well as the departure of senior starters David Molk and Mark Huyge -- it's probable the depth will be worse this year.

Will the Wolverines' injury luck continue?

After losing Bryant, linebacker Kaleb Ringer and defensive end Chris Wormley to season-ending injuries in just the first three weeks of camp, the answer so far appears to be a definitive no.

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.



Sat, Aug 25, 2012 : 1:10 a.m.

Tough loss. He was a big body and a good hitter. I hope he bounces back in time to compete for the starting spot in spring practice.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 9:27 p.m.

Well this is depressing.

Chad Williams

Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 6:06 p.m.

Do they still have 5 starters in tact? You coach players to be ready at any and all times to play. If they have no players ready to play then its a problem. Teams this year are dismissing heisman candidates and all conference players. If your griping about injuries to back ups its a problem. Clearly they have the bodies, now you need to get them game ready. Now you can get those freshman some game experience before the conference starts.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 5:06 p.m.

The Spartans were relatively healthy when they played 'Bama in a bowl game two years ago and got beat up pretty bad. Not sure what our team would have looked like a week later to play a game let alone a whole season. We have not beaten you enough yet for me to feel sorry for you. Hope 'Bama wins big but also hope you have no more injuries.


Sat, Aug 25, 2012 : 2:14 p.m.

The 2010 Capital One Bowl Bama defense was the best that I have ever seen in watching CFB for decades...a preview of things to come in 2011 when the Tide "D" allowed only 9 TDs. Bama played that game without stud safety Mark Barron and never skipped a beat. That loss was a turning point for MSU. The Spartan defense learned what it was going to take to play with a tough SEC team and they responded with a 17 tackle for loss effort vs. SEC East champs UGA in Tampa. 9 of those 11 starters are back and they are LICKING THEIR CHOPS to get their hands on DRob and his pansies on October 20th! Where's the threat?


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 2:53 p.m.

This is why it's silly to have us ranked in the top ten. We have the same problem in the middle of the D-line. Only the two most important groups on the team


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 2:33 p.m.

It's a long, hard journey for any young man to arrive on any Michigan football team: my sympathy goes out to Chris Bryant. My calendar says the Wolverines have just 7 days left before their game against Alabama. And I kinda doubt Alabama is having the same kind of problems with their depth chart.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 3:52 p.m.

Thank you BamaJoe for sharing that. Kind of proves my point, about the numbers. Not implying it sways the outcome of game.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 3 p.m.

Bama has lots of nicks and bruises and these guys are gone for the season or left the program: Travell Dixon CB Jarrick Williams S Chris Black WR Duron Carter WR


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 1:49 p.m.

Injuries happen. It's part of the game. If you're a redshirt freshman, I expect you to step up. If you're a true freshman who has to fill in, I expect you to step up. Some young guys may have to grow up very quickly. It is what it is.


Sat, Aug 25, 2012 : 2:10 p.m.

Boise is 73-6 under Petersen with 3 recent losses coming by a total of 5 points. They'd beat Michigan like a drum. NO EXCUSES


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 3:15 p.m.

No excuses. Schools like Boise State make due with what they have and their first stringers have usually been two star players. Imagine what their backups star ratings are. They make no excuses. They use their personnel to the fullest and expect them to perform at a high level. We should expect no less from our players regardless of year or star rating. As Brady Hoke says, "This is Michigan fer godsakes!"


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 1:44 p.m.

OMG. Denard Robinson is gravy. 12.5 is not enough points.


Sat, Aug 25, 2012 : 2:09 p.m.

How about 4 TDs? I don't see the Wolverine hating Saban letting up on Michigan like he did JoePa and PSU in 2010-11. Pedal to the metal. Be prepared. It will be ugly. Bama may not need to throw a forward pass in this game.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 1:32 p.m.

Cannot criticize Coach Hoke as this year's preseason camp must be a bear. He has said quite often that football is a tough man's sport. Other football teams have similar attrition. Perhaps to have no preseason injuries would imply too much softness.


Sat, Aug 25, 2012 : 2:07 p.m.

Unfortunately there aren't many tough men playing for the grass fairies in Ann Arbor. Where's the threat?

Wally the Wolverine

Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 12:57 p.m.

OK, that's it! New rule from here on out...NO ONE is allowed to get injured for the rest of the season! Now carry on.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 12:44 p.m.

This is very unfortunate, but Michigan will get through it. Attrition in fall camp is pretty normal. Last year we fared very well. This year's injury rash is actually average if you go back many years. Hopefully though, there won't be any more.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 12:20 p.m.

Thinnest Michigan team along both lines in a generation. To rebuild both lines and then also be this thin does not bode well. no way should this team be ranked in the top 10.

Wally the Wolverine

Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 1:09 p.m.

@81 RR landed 4&5 star linemen (one may have been a 3*). Are you asserting he didn't recruit enough linemen? I think Observer had it so many coaches, RR put too much emphasis on what the prognosticators thought and they can definitely be wrong with their ratings. This should serve as a warning to anyone that gets giddy over the star ratings of recruits.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 12:42 p.m.

Agree with this being a historically thin team on the lines. The decline started in the later Carr years, and was fueled by some attrition to injuries and coaching changes. But, Rodriguez' line recruiting was simply awful on both sides of the ball.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 12:07 p.m.

not good, not good at all....if Washington had shown anything, he would be in the mix....but he did not....


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 11:52 a.m.

Looks like Michigan should be RANKED Number One or at least in the TOP TEN! The backups, with Bryant out of the equation: Four true freshmen One redshirt freshmen Five walk-ons


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 2:14 p.m.

he's a sparty. . . what else would you expect! he is so worried about MICHIGAN he spends more time in here then on a sparty site. GO BLUE!!!


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 11:36 a.m.

Depth (lack of) has been a problem for several years now. I long for the day that the two-deep is stocked with upperclassmen.

Matt Patercsak

Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 11:01 a.m.

By the time the freshmen are seniors they will be rock solid. I'm amazed the coaches never put quinton washington back on the o-line. I realize depth is bad on both sides, but he was one of the best guards in the country out of high school

Robert Granville

Sat, Aug 25, 2012 : 12:12 a.m.

Washington never lined up at guard for Coach Funk... I'd love to see it. He's a better fit there.


Fri, Aug 24, 2012 : 12:10 p.m.

Washington was given opportunities on both sides of the ball and did not produce....which is why the star ratings for recruits can be misleading.....