Andrew Stueber will be out for the start of the Michigan Football season with what is being described as a leg/knee injury, which means that redshirt freshman Jalen Mayfield is set to take over at right tackle moving forward.
Offensive line coach Ed Warinner joined Jon Jansen’s latest “Inside the Trenches” podcast and gave his thoughts on the injury and what it means moving forward.
“Andrew’s a great kid,” Warinner said. “He was competing for the starting spot. He was doing a great job, day in and day out... played in 13 games, so it really hurts you.
“But, you realize in football that these things happen and you’ve prepared other players, other guys, to step in.”
Mayfield and Stueber were neck and neck throughout spring football and into fall camp without anyone really starting to pull away. Warinner backs up those claims, but says that Mayfield has all of the qualities they could ask for in a player at that position.
“Jalen was competing day in and day out,” Warinner said. “Over the course of the 11 fall practices and all through spring, they rotated 50/50 at that position. This fall, it’s been 50/50 rotating with the ones and twos.
“It’s hard to say if there was any separation there. Jalen is a quality player — athletic, fast, very competitive, learns well.”
Michigan is in a better spot than they have been in years prior to this in terms of offensive line depth, but it does test the quality of that depth moving forward. As far as who steps in as the swing tackle, it appears that redshirt freshman Ryan Hayes, a Traverse City, Michigan product, has the coaching staff impressed and he appears to be the next man in line at tackle should something occur.
“He might be ahead of everyone right now,” Warinner said. “Ryan’s versatile, so he could play right side or left side.”
From there, the staff may have to tinker with some players and increase reps for some of the incoming freshmen in practices, but Warinner generally feels good about where things are at and does not seem all that concerned moving forward.
“We have a lot of options,” Warinner said. “We’ll let that play itself out so we can see who can grasp that second backup position and go with it. Time will tell, but we feel good about our future and feel like we have good depth at that position.”