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Daily Brews: Trente Jones the leader at RT with Karsen Barnhart itching to catch up

The competition between Trente Jones and Karsen Barnhart is set to be among the biggest position battles.

Michigan v Penn State Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Attrition is a part of college athletics. Every season, each team has to reconstruct a bit from the year prior, and the Michigan Wolverines are no exception to that.

Among the bigger position battles heading into the season is at right tackle. Last year’s starter Andrew Steuber is now in the NFL, so the battle is fierce in fall camp between redshirt juniors Trente Jones and Karsen Barnhart. Both have plenty of on-field experience, including Barnhart at a couple positions, but it’s Jones who is the leader at the moment to take over for Steuber.

Speaking to the media on Sunday afternoon, co-offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Sherrone Moore detailed how Jones and Barnhart are doing with the ongoing competition.

“Trente ended the spring as a starter. Started camp as the starter,” Moore said. “Karsen though has made tremendous strides and he’s right there. He’s done a heck of a job — he’ll play for us this year. He’s a guy that we can play on either side. And really he’s played in his career, all (the) positions besides center. He’s gotten stronger, more physical, more twitchy. They all look phenomenal, so Herb and the staff has done an outstanding job. So he’s done a heck of a job for us and he’s going to continue to push and play for us this year.

“Trente’s had an outstanding four days (of fall camp). He’s a really good player but Karsen is definitely pushing him.”

By all accounts, this is Jones’ job to lose. He played in all 14 games last season, mainly as the sixth offensive lineman, and has been on the cusp of a starting role for quite some time now. If he continues to standout throughout fall camp, Jones will be the starting right tackle on Sept. 3 against Colorado State.

If Barnhart doesn’t defeat Jones for the right tackle gig, he very well could be in line for the same role he’s played for the majority of his career — the Swiss Army Knife of the offensive line. He played left tackle very early in his career, but has also played left guard, right guard and right tackle during his time in Ann Arbor. His versatility very well could get him on the field more often than previous seasons.

At the end of the day, the offensive line is in really good hands with fifth-year senior Ryan Hayes at left tackle, redshirt junior Trevor Keegan at left guard, grad transfer Olu Oluwatimi at center, junior Zak Zinter at right guard, and whoever lines up with them at right tackle.