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Posted on Sat, Dec 17, 2011 : 5:59 a.m.

Michigan's Michael Schofield, not Ricky Barnum, expected to start at left guard in Sugar Bowl

By Kyle Meinke

One thing that's become apparent about Brady Hoke during his first season as head Michigan football coach: Take his depth charts as suggestion, not fact.

There have been several irregularities throughout the season, such as Cam Gordon being listed as the backup strong-side linebacker for each game despite playing only once and being firmly slotted behind actual backup Brennen Beyer.

Another such curiosity has been junior offensive lineman Ricky Barnum, who was listed the starter every week this year at left guard, despite Michael Schofield getting nine of the 12 starts.

That appears to also be the case for the Wolverines' matchup against Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl (8:30 p.m. Jan. 3, ESPN).

Barnum was listed as the starter at left guard when the Sugar Bowl depth chart was released this week, but Hoke said on Friday the offensive line will be "pretty much hopefully the same."


Michigan lineman Michael Schofield (75) celebrates a touchdown against Nebraska with tailback Fitzgerald Toussaint as quarterback Denard Robinson looks on.

AP Photo

He even knocked on wood, hoping to keep those guys healthy at a painfully thin position.

So, that means Schofield, not Barnum, is the leader to start at left guard. He's started nine times there, first in the opener while Barnum sat out because of a violation of team rules and then in the final eight games as Barnum battled multiple ankle injuries.

He played well.

"I think he’s grown," Hoke said. "I think he’s improved. I think he’s really obviously better than he was at the beginning. But I think Michael has just really scratched the surface of how he can play offensive line at Michigan and that standard."

Schofield is a 6-foot-7, 299-pound native of Orland Park, Ill. He continues to be listed as the backup at both tackle spots, and Elliott Mealer is listed as Barnum's backup at left guard.

That rotation hasn't held true all season, though, and apparently won't in the Sugar Bowl. The starting lineup likely will be Taylor Lewan at left tackle, Schofield at left guard, David Molk at center, Patrick Omameh at right guard and Mark Huyge at right tackle.

That group came on strong down the stretch, opening holes that sprung both quarterback Denard Robinson and tailback Fitz Toussaint to 1,000-yard rushing seasons.

Schofield also will be an important player next year, when Michigan will be without seniors Molk and Huyge from a pool of only eight scholarship offensive linemen -- the worst depth Hoke has ever seen at the position.

One lineman who could fill a role next year is true freshman Chris Bryant, who was the only player Hoke mentioned when he was asked Friday about young players who were standing out in bowl practices.

Bryant, a 6-foot-4, 341-pound guard from Chicago, has not played this year and will be a redshirt freshman next year.

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



Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 11:31 p.m.

Hoke needs to stop clowning around and start Barnum and Bailey at the guards. He is making a circus of this whole thing.


Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 7:25 p.m.

I was amazed at this man mountian. He is mobile....and just plane HuGe..... could be a good move.

Lorain Steelmen

Sat, Dec 17, 2011 : 7:46 p.m.

Ok, posters are th ecurrent UM commits for Oline; Blake Bar 6/5 275, Nashville, Tn Ben Braden 6/6 285, Rockford, Mi Kyle Kalis 6/5 302, Lakewood, Oh Erik Magnuson 6/6 275, Carlsbad, Ca Caleb Stacey 6/4 275, Cincinnati, Oh Would Brady add one or two more if he could ? If so, who would you expect to be added...your take....


Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 10:58 p.m.

I think he will go after two if both Garnett and Banner show a lot of interest. Obviously Garnett is and I have read a lot about them going as a pair somewhere. This would eliminate Stanford and leave only ND and Mich that both could go as a pair to. So if Garnett goes look for Banner to follow. If that changes Michigan will try really hard for Diamond and keep him from going to ohio. Evan Boehm is another to look out for as a guard or Center. Pipkins is supposedly recruiting him really hard after he decommitted from Missouri. It is fun speculating though!

Lorain Steelmen

Sat, Dec 17, 2011 : 9:08 p.m.

Kyle. Good catch, I hadn't thought about that option. But you're right, so UM could add, AJ Williams, 6/6 260, Cincinnati, Oh. (Sycamore). As I think about it, Brady, COULD also move AJW to the defensive side as well. At 260, he could fit at DE, and maybe slide one of the other bigger guys down to DT. (That's a possibility, IF Hoke lands another Olinemen, or another TE.) Back to other OL candiates, I recall the last edition of The Wolverine, listed three kids that were still targets. There was a 320 pounder from, Pallup, Wa, in the group at that point. ...don't know if he's still a possibility.

Kyle Meinke

Sat, Dec 17, 2011 : 8:49 p.m.

Lorain, don't forget about A.J. Williams, the tight end from Ohio. Many (most?) project he'll switch to tackle at Michigan. No official word, obviously, because coaches can't comment on the guys until they sign letters of intent in February, but it wouldn't surprise me at all to see this move made, especially if Michigan lands Taylor McNamara or another TE recruit. (And, to answer your question, yes, I believe Brady would take one more, if the right opportunity presents itself.)

Lorain Steelmen

Sat, Dec 17, 2011 : 6:31 p.m.

I have been a big fan of Schofield, from the jump, as I saw more effectiveness there, than with Ricky Barnum. I'll be sorry to see Molk leave, as we all are, BUT, I suspect the battle next year, will be Barnum, vs Rocko Koury, at center. I think Barnum wins that one. That leaves the right tackle slot as the battleground. There may be a few candidates there, but I would NOT hazard a guess who takes it. If Hoke is serious about the lack of scholarship linemen, then he had better turn up the heat between now and february. I have read that his current group of Olinemen is very strong, BUT that means holding off Meyer for Kalis (sp). and, adding one or two more.


Mon, Dec 19, 2011 : 10:52 p.m.

In the recruiting battle. Michigan is one of 5 for Zach Banner (Michigan was #1 at one point). Josh Garnett has Michigan in his top 3 and is expected to go Michigan. As you mention below the incoming class is already bringing in quite a few Olineman which is a huge need for this class! 2 more 5 star recruits and possibly Diggs, Wright, and possibly even Kiel (doubtful) would be great additions as well. If my math is correct Michigan should have 28 scholarships possibly 29 this year and may a oversigning class of 30-31 (which is not ideal but is not the worst that has been out there by any stretch of the imagination. Troy has oversigned 79 players from 06'-10'). In regards to Urban his a snake oil salesman and reminds me a lot of a previous Florida coach gone to the Big 10 in the old Zooker! Coaches in the big ten were accusing him of paying recruits to go to Illinois at the time because he had rediculous pick ups his first year in Mendenhall and Abdunafi!


Sat, Dec 17, 2011 : 6:46 p.m.

Meyer called Kalis and Dunn his first day on the job. After in home and on-campus visits, he was able to secure Dunn. Kalis took the phone call but declined to take an in-home or on-campus visit with Meyer. He is solid with Blue and has said so as recently as last weeknds official visit to AA.


Sat, Dec 17, 2011 : 5:57 p.m.

Wow! Rich Rod, Urban Meyer and Lloyd Carr comments above and hardly anything about Ricky Barnum and Michael Schofield. So, it appears the these practices are revealing some interesting changes. Perhaps, Barnum is really improving and impressing the coaching staff as was mentioned the other day about Matt Wile taking over for Will Hagerup at punting. Both of these depth chart changes are linked. Brady Hoke wants to win the Sugar Bowl and win it for the Seniors. If all the players have bought into the "The Team, The Team, The Team!" concept, then there should not be any bruised egos or hurt feelings. I hope to read or hear about some good things from Cam Gordon in the next week of practice. GO BLUE!!


Sat, Dec 17, 2011 : 4:08 p.m.

This article was NOT about RichRod (So why are bloggers writing about him?) - May his new team rest in peace at Arizona where he has inherited a somewhat dead football program. No question Chris Bryant will be a good fit for Michigan next year. But seriously, I am more concerned about Urban Meyer trying to steal recruits from other schools. Meyer has already ripped off Penn State and MSU. He has shamelessly chosen to take the low road (in the same tradition as Jim Tressel). But getting back to items written about in this article - Cam Gordon deserves more time than he has been given thus far (he's a true champion). And don't lose sight of the new recruits coming in for next year - some of them will be hard to beat for starting jobs! Brady Hoke and his coaching staff will have many difficult choices to make over the winter, spring, summer, and fall of 2012. Peace be to you all my brothers and sisters!


Sat, Dec 17, 2011 : 7:39 p.m.

I dont mind Meyer. I hope OSU does well. If they do, will put a lot more focus and attention on Michigan . So its good for Michigan too.


Sat, Dec 17, 2011 : 6:39 p.m.

Ted, I actually have to agree with you here. Though I believe you to be an Urban Meyer slappy, I can't disagree with your comments on recruits who switch their commitment. Truth be told, I love Hokes rule about not taking any visits after you have commited. What's the point of commiting if you are still visiting other schools? Plus I think the best recruits are those who want to come to your school and your school alone.


Sat, Dec 17, 2011 : 5:38 p.m.

So when Amarni Reeves decommits from Penn st and signs with Michigan within the coming weeks, will you have the same opinion for Hoke that you are currently have for Meyer ?


Sat, Dec 17, 2011 : 5:32 p.m.

Im scared that Meyer is going to dominate the Big Ten, but you said pathetic when you already start trying to say hes a bad guy. Those recruits were far from solid and on the verge of decommiting anyway.


Sat, Dec 17, 2011 : 2:29 p.m.

I love Brady Hoke also, but why is it ok to keep bringing up Rich Rod? I supported him when he was here , but now he is gone. He had nothing to do with Hoke and Co. winning 10 games this season,soon to be 11, he has been gone almost a year now. Let it go, he's never coming back. Thank God! As Brady says," This is Michigan".


Sat, Dec 17, 2011 : 1:18 p.m.

I love Brady Hoke, but why is it ok to keep bringing up lack of depth in the O-line, but when Rich Rod didn't have a quarterback or anyone in offense the "empty cupboard" argument was viewed as complaining from the press ? It's been interesting to watch the difference between the way these 2 men are treated. He's right though, we lack O-Line. GO BLUE!


Sun, Dec 18, 2011 : 5:08 a.m.

Apropos of nothing related to Michigan ... the strength and conditioning coach of UofA will be Chris Allen ... not Mike Barwis.


Sat, Dec 17, 2011 : 3:08 p.m.

The "Bare cupboard" meme is a product of Brian Cook and his minnions at MGoBlog, at the time apologists all for RRod (some still are). Of course RRod did nothing to dispel the excuse of a "bare cupboard" when following the 2009 loss to OSU he stated in the post-game presser that the previous Februarys hadn't been very productive. In other words he was blaming Carr for the lack of depth and thus the loss. I think we would all be interested to read or hear about Hoke, or anybody on his staff, making excuses based on lack of depth. Perhaps you could do some research and get back to us.


Sat, Dec 17, 2011 : 1:28 p.m.

Did you watch the press conference? <a href="" rel='nofollow'>;v=k6XXFgr4d-Y</a> Here's the transcript: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Find in there where Hoke mentions the lack of depth in the offensive line. You can't find it ... because he didn't. Press: &quot;Can you evaluate what Schofield has done for you this season? Nobody's really talked about him, but that may be a good thing.&quot; Hoke: "Right. That probably is a good thing to be honest with you. I think he's grown. I think he's improved. I think he's really obviously better than he was at the beginning. But I think Michael has just really scratched the surface of how he can play offensive line at Michigan and that standard.&quot; Hoke didn't bring it up, and when asked he didn't mention it. The depth at the line was mentioned once earlier in the year, and the reporter in this case is the one who is bringing up the depth issue. That's the difference -- Hoke is naturally reticent; Rodriguez is not.


Sat, Dec 17, 2011 : 1:24 p.m.

We lack depth on the o-line, but there are some pretty talented guys on the front five. Hopefully Jack Miller or Chris Bryant steps up in the offseason and we can replace Molk and Huyge adequately. Taylor Lewan is a beast though.... Sounds like from this article they might have begun moving Barnum to center and Schofield will take over at guard.