Michigan added a lot of new coaches this off-season, they shifted responsibilities of a couple other coaches on the staff, one of which being Sherrone Moore. Moore is now Michigan’s co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach after serving as Michigan’s tight ends coach prior.
A new coach to teach the intricacies and fine details of battling in the trenches has led to a new mentality and new vibe for the o-line room.
Offensive lineman Ryan Hayes mentioned a moment where the unit messed up in practice this spring, and instead of Moore laying into them, he used that moment to show the players what he’s going to do to make them better.
“A couple weeks ago, we had not our best period, and after, he just brought us aside. The moment was pretty intense,” Hayes said Friday. “He’s just talking about how he’s going to give us his all this season, he always gives his all for us. Everybody was listening while he was talking to us. It was a powerful moment. You just knew this guy cares about us, loves us and will do anything for us.”
Hayes said that spring ball has been going great for the o-line, and noted the juice and confidence Moore is bringing to the unit. “We got a lot of confidence right now with coach Moore. He’s brought such a juice to the room, people are playing with confidence, they’re not really scared to make mistakes,” Hayes said. “You really just wanna go to war for the guy honestly. When he talks, people listen. He just brings a different sort of energy.”
While a new energy is fine and all, talent has to be in place to make the coaching of Moore pay off. Offensive coordinator Josh Gattis noted the depth at the position, the cohesiveness of the unit, along with how Moore is excelling as a teacher. “I really like the depth, I like how our guys are playing together, I like how they’re communicating, all on one page. The hardest thing you try to get together with an offensive line is the chemistry in the pass protection, making sure everyone’s on the same page, “Gattis said. “And Coach Moore has done a tremendous job of teaching those guys and they’re all coming together as one.”
“One of the key positions for us is the offensive line, we have a bunch of guys that are returning players. You look at the offensive line, we’ve got about six guys that have played in games or started in games,” Gattis said.
Gattis went on to talk about the o-line depth in detail, and how it all starts with Zak Zinter. “But when it starts with the offensive line, it starts with Zak Zinter. He’s the bell cow, to say the least. He’s just a pure man, very smart, got tremendous flexibility as far as position — can play center position, can play guard. He’s really been the guy who’s led the line up front from a talent standpoint.”
Gattis then mentioned the returning veterans in Andrew Vastardis and Andrew Stueber. “Those guys have had a really solid spring. Andrew Stueber’s playing his best football, and that’s what you hope for guys going into his fifth-year, is you hope they start to hit their peak,” Gattis said and then proceeding to talk about Ryan Hayes. “We’re very fortunate to have Ryan Hayes back out there for a full spring. He’s a guy who started the first game last year and then we completely lost him for the season. Getting him caught back up, getting his feet wet. He’s been playing at a really high level,” Gattis said.
Gattis was sure to not leave out Trevor Keegan, Chuck Filiaga, and the rest of the offensive line. “And then Trevor Keegan. Having Trevor Keegan and Chuck Filiaga. Those two guys have battled before at the guard position, provide us tremendous depth and flexibility there,” Gattis said. “And there’s some young guys that have come along, with Persi and Nolan Rumler. Then you mention Willie Allen. Even Crippen, Greg Crippen, who’s a true freshman. He’s emerged as our No. 2 center.”
The offensive line is in its beginning stages, but Hayes mentioned what the starting rotation looks like somewhat presently. “Recently, it’s been me at left tackle, Keegan at left guard, Vastardis at center, Zinter at right guard, and Stueber at right tackle,” Hayes said. “Everything shifts, nothing’s locked in forever.”