2011 Countdown: #16 Ricky Barnum

2011 Countdown: #16 Ricky Barnum

August 15, 2011
Ricky Barnum (#56)

Name: Ricky Barnum
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 292 lbs.
High school: Lake Gibson High School in Lakeland, FL
Position: Offensive line
Class: Redshirt junior
Jersey number: #56
Last year: I ranked Barnum #48 and said he would be a backup offensive guard.  He substituted at guard in 2 games and at tackle in 1 game.

Barnum was a highly touted recruit coming out of high school in 2008.  His role in college so far has been somewhat limited, partly by injuries and partly by four-year starter Stephen Schilling, who has since moved on to the San Diego Chargers.  Another issue has been size – in three seasons he hasn’t been heavier than 282 lbs., which will change this year.  Additionally, Barnum played offensive tackle in high school and has practiced at four different positions in college: both guard spots, left tackle, and center.  Those are a lot of things to overcome, but now he’s a redshirt junior and has been running with the first unit since the spring.

Barnum is a good pass blocker with excellent feet.  He’s lower to the ground than most defensive linemen, which allows him to keep leverage, but he’s quite undersized for a Big Ten offensive guard.  Head coach Brady Hoke would like to return to a power running game at Michigan, but that might be difficult with a front five that’s somewhat lacking in size.  Even the biggest of the bunch is barely over 300 lbs.  Due to the lack of size up front and a quarterback who excelled in the spread offense last season, it seems that Michigan might be headed for more of a spread look than Hoke wants people to believe.  If that’s the case, then Barnum should be a decent fit at left guard.  But if Hoke lines up and wants to play smash-mouth football game after game, the lack of size on the interior might prove quite daunting.  The Wolverines can still run power like Hoke insists they’ll do because he has two guards (the other being Patrick Omameh) who move extremely well, but expect to see more finesse than the road graders you’ve seen in Michigan’s highlight films from the ’90s and early ’00s.

Prediction: Starting left guard


  1. Comments: 21381
    Aug 15, 2011 at 8:08 PM

    In your opinion, is it usually the case that coaches need to commit to an O-line model? That how I'm interpreting part of Barnum's profile. It appears that coaches need to aim for Wisconsinesque cheese eaters (effective on 4th-and-one but maybe not "in space") or nimble zone blockers (mobile but less powerful), but not both. (Jake Long probably would have done just fine in the RichRod offense, but he's an exception.)

    Maybe if Michigan re-establishes itself as an O-line NFL pipeline they can get a whole line of Jake Longs and play both styles effectively. Thoughts?

  2. Comments: 21381
    Aug 16, 2011 at 12:31 AM

    would you say that you need a giant o-line to run a big ten offense? After last years Iowa game v Iowa, I checked an Iowa's o-line was actually smaller than UM's.

    The average fan would think of Iowa's style of football as sort of traditional big ten style offense.

  3. Comments: 21381
    Aug 16, 2011 at 12:33 AM

    @ Anonymous 4:08 p.m.

    Yes, I do think coaches need to commit to an O-line model. It's not that some players can't be successful in both (Jake Long is an exception, as you noted), but Wisconsin does well with road graders, Michigan did pretty well with the slimmer types, and now we're going to see something in between. When Hoke/Borges get this thing going, I think you'll see a bunch of 300-315 pounders along Michigan's OL.

  4. Comments: 21381
    Aug 16, 2011 at 12:36 AM

    @ Anonymous 8:31 p.m.

    Iowa runs a lot of zone type runs. It's okay that their offensive line is small. I saw Kirk Ferentz at a coaches conference this past spring, and he was proud of the fact that he took a bunch of high school wrestlers and tight ends and turned them into a solid offensive line. I think Rich Rodriguez was on his way to doing that same type of thing at Michigan until he got the ouster. Jake Fisher and Taylor Lewan are two examples of lean, athletic guys that are going to be very good players at the next level, in my opinion.

  5. Comments: 21381
    Aug 16, 2011 at 2:19 AM

    What did Brian say concerning the physical differences between modern guards and tackles? Something about the difference between bowling balls with good footwork and Greek gods on a carb binge?

  6. Comments: 21381
    Aug 16, 2011 at 2:22 AM

    @ David 10:19 p.m.

    That was me from the Kalis commitment post:

    "Look at him. Kalis has the build of a guard. Offensive tackles these days are long and lean, with the lower bodies of tight ends and the upper bodies of Greek gods who binged on carbs for the past week. Guards look like Bob-ombs."


  7. Comments: 21381
    Aug 16, 2011 at 5:21 AM

    Just an FYI, I believe the coaches said that the left side of the line was set with Lewan at LT and Omameh at LG. So it seems Barnum is battling to be the starting RG at this point.

  8. Comments: 21381
    Aug 16, 2011 at 5:59 AM

    Don't I feel stupid.

  9. Comments: 21381
    Aug 16, 2011 at 11:07 AM

    @ Anonymous 1:21 a.m.

    I'm pretty sure Omameh is still at RG like he was for the past couple seasons and in the spring.

  10. Comments: 21381
    Aug 16, 2011 at 2:16 PM

    @ Thunder:

    From the media write up by Tim at Mgo:

    Darrel Funk said:
    The left side of the line is mostly set: Taylor Lewan at left tackle, Patrick Omameh at left guard, and David Molk at center. On the right side of the line, there are pretty much three players for two positions. Ricky Barnum (guard), Mark Huyge (tackle or guard), and Michael Schofield (tackle) have separated themselves from the pack.

  11. Comments: 21381
    Aug 16, 2011 at 2:28 PM

    @ Anonymous 10:16 a.m.

    Rivals' write-up on Funk (I don't have the link) said the exact opposite about the guards. They said Barnum was at LG and Omameh was at RG. And since Omameh has been at RG for the past two years and in April, I'm assuming the status quo. Things could change, but I'm not going to change my expectations simply based on Tim's write-up.

    Regardless, guards are pretty much interchangeable, so I'm not too concerned even if those positions do flop.

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