Michigan football’s offensive line is one of the most experienced in college football, but the team will have somewhat of a fresh face holding the fort on the left side in 2016.
Grant Newsome played in four games last season as a true freshman and now enters camp as the team’s left tackle with Mason Cole moving inside to replace the graduated Graham Glasgow at center.
Maize n Brew caught up with Newsome at media day, and he says that he has been working at fine-tuning his game and building off of a solid freshman season and spring football.
“I’m really just trying to improve every day,” he said. “Getting better strength-wise and with technique. That’s really been big for me. Just trying to get the little things in my game improved.
“I think I made some strides in spring but I definitely have a long way to go. I’m looking forward to camp. Just getting out there and proving that I belong with that first string and securing my spot.”
The experience is paying dividends for Newsome, who leans on the four other starters from last season for help and guidance.
“It’s great any time you get to return one or two starters or three starters,” He said. “To have four returning starters come back and more guys on the team who have actually played in games, it’s really invaluable. Just for me as kind of the new guy of the group, it’s great to be able to just kind of look to them with as much experience as they have as opposed to having to step in with someone else who is new.
“It’s really been helpful for me and as a line, it just builds our confidence. Looking at what we did last year, obviously losing Graham (Glasgow) is a big part, but knowing that we return four guys, we will just improve off of what we did last year.”
Newsome says this camp has different feel to it. Last season saw him getting up to speed with the college atmosphere and the team was still feeling the effects of the coaching change.
This season, it is all business.
“It feels a lot different, at least for me,” he said. “Obviously last year being my first year, it was really just trying to get the reps and get the playbook down and not really knowing what to expect, whereas this year, it’s having a season under my belt, knowing what to expect. It’s definitely much different. And the opportunity is a lot different.
“It’s really just trying to make the most of that opportunity.”
Michigan football sent shockwaves throughout the world of sports when they became the first program to be outfitted by the Jordan brand, a switch that officially was implemented last week. Newsome says the team was blown away when they saw the gear for the first time.
“We were all shocked and amazed,” he said. “It’s really cool gear. It’ll be great for recruiting and it’s always good to be the pioneer program of something.
“It’s a cool opportunity for us as a team and it was great to have Coach Harbaugh kind of collaborate on that so that we could get a pioneer of sport in Michael Jordan on that and the greatest basketball player of all time to ask you to do something and represent his brand.”
It was not just the players that went crazy over the gear, either. Fans lined the streets of Ann Arbor prior to the midnight release of the new Nike gear and Newsome feels it is indicative of the fan base that they have supporting the program and the school.
“It’s really been crazy just to see how dedicated and how amazing these fans are for the University of Michigan,” he said. “Just the fact that people were willing to camp out for 12 hours to get a t-shirt and shorts is indicative of the type of fans we have of college football.”