Last year, right guard Zak Zinter was arguably the most talented player across the Joe Moore Award-winning offensive line for the Michigan Wolverines. Despite playing most of the year with injuries — including a broken hand — he earned second team All-Big Ten honors from the media.
Entering this season, Zinter expects the Wolverines to capitalize upon the foundation from Team 142 and prove that 2021 was not a fluke, but instead was the new standard for all future teams moving forward.
This week, Zinter joined Jon Jansen on the In the Trenches podcast to discuss a variety of topics from team expectations, to perpetually facing Bruce Feldman’s No. 1 freak Mazi Smith in practice. Jansen always provides an insightful interview, but when he is with another offensive linemen is when he is at his best.
Some highlights from Zinter’s appearance:
When asked about what Virginia transfer and 2021 Rimington Finalist Olu Oluwatimi brings to the offensive line:
“Olu is just all-around a beast. The experience he’s brought just from playing a lot of football. He’s physical, he’s a great dude, and he’s just got all the attributes you would want from a center.”
Expectations for the offensive line:
“I’ve got big expectations for this line and so does our whole room. No on has ever repeat won the Joe Moore (Award) in back-to-back years and that’s our goal. We have got a new standard that everyone is talking about. Especially in that o-line room when we want to run the ball we know we can run it and when we want to throw, we can throw it. We have high expectations for our o-line room.”
Regarding the pressure of being the defending Joe Moore Award winners:
Having the success we had last year, we don’t want people to be able to say it was a fluke last year. We’ve got that mentality that mindset that we are going to be even better this year. And we will have that target on our back this year, We are going to be everyone’s biggest game, we know that, and we’re excited for the challenge and ready to get after it.”
“Did we have a perfect season last year? No. That’s in the back of my head and this team’s head. We didn’t beat Michigan State and we lost to Georgia. We had a great season, but we know our ceiling is even higher. We have been using that to motivate ourselves this off-season.”
On battling defensive tackle Mazi Smith in practice:
“I mean it’s great. I get to go against the No. 1 freak in college football ever single day of practice and so does our whole line. It gets to make us that much better every single day. Mazi wins some, we win some. It’s the battle that’s going to prepare us for those games against Georgia.”
On defending the Big Ten championship:
“We talk about it all the time. We want to be that team that brings Michigan back and people can’t question who we are any more. We want to be that team that wins the Big Ten again, wins the bowl game, and wins the National Championship this year.”
On offensive line coach Sherrone Moore being promoted to co-offensive coordinator:
“I think it’s been pretty cool honestly. Him being in the o-line room 100% last year and he’s still in there with us, but being able to see his mindset change a little bit more and what he’s bringing to our room — the offensive line room — teaching us the formations and route concepts and really bring everything together which it has been really nice to learn everything.”