Ricky Barnum still adjusting to center, Michigan football offensive line 'not good enough' yet
Melanie Maxwell I AnnArbor.com
No one said Ricky Barnum's job would be easy this season.
Tasked with replacing perhaps the best college center in America last season, with little experience at the position in the first place, the Michigan football senior offensive lineman has his hands full.
And he knows it.
"There's a lot I have to do to up my game," Barnum said after Michigan's spring game. "I've got to get better."
Barnum's official debut as David Molk's replacement wasn't without its hiccups.
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
Afterward, Barnum took full responsibility for the fumbles and said it's an area he'll continue to spend long hours on this summer.
"That was my fault, I'll take full blame," Barnum said of the botched snaps. "We didn't have that all spring, it was something new (in the spring game)."
"That's something I'm going to work on (all summer). Even if I have to come in Saturdays and Sundays as well, that's something I'm committed to doing."
Barnum's not the only new face in a new place up front.
Michael Schofield has officially moved out to right tackle to replace Mark Huyge, and during the spring game, walk-on Joey Burzynski took the early reps with the first string at left guard -- though junior Elliott Mealer also appears to be in the hunt for that spot.
That leaves just juniors Taylor Lewan (left tackle) and Patrick Omameh (right guard) as the two players returning to old spots.
And there's also a depth issue, as most of Michigan's second-unit offensive linemen are redshirt or true freshmen.
Incoming five-star lineman Kyle Kalis may be impressive, but simply walking into a starting spot up front as a rookie isn't something that's seen very often.
"In my opinion, I think offensive line is the most developmental position on the entire football team," Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges said. "Very few (guys) can step up on day one and be right with it. Every so often you'll get a tailback, when I was at UCLA we had DeShaun Foster and from the day he stepped on campus, he was the best tailback we had.
"But you don't find many linemen like that. Usually they've got to go through some growing pains and get a little stronger, a little more aware."
As for the offensive line's showing in the spring game, players say it wasn't terrible, but it was far from where the finished product needs to be.
"(There have) been better days," Lewan said. "We have a long way to go."
Barnum agreed, but was nowhere near ready to panic.
Work has to be done, and he says the group up front looks forward to putting the time in.
"We've been in the system for two years now, and we all have to step up," he said. "I thought we could have done a lot better. We did OK, but it's not good enough.
"If we keep listening to the coaches, we'll be OK."