Treon Harris (#3)
Michigan Defensive Line vs. Florida Offensive Line
Michigan’s defensive line was destroying opponents early in the season until injuries and the resulting lack of depth wore them down. Perhaps the most consistent contributor, NT Ryan Glasgow, was lost for the year with a pectoral injury, and his likely primary backup, Bryan Mone, hasn’t played at all this year after breaking his leg in pre-season practices. Meanwhile, DE Mario Ojemudia was lost for the year with an Achilles injury. Still, it’s a formidable group to face if you don’t run a hurry-up offense that prevents them from subbing and catching their breath. Redshirt junior DT Chris Wormley (6’5″, 300) has looked unstoppable at times, racking up 39 tackles, 12 TFLs, and 5 sacks. He is joined by classmate Willie Henry (6’3″, 311) at strongside end, who had 10 TFLs and led the team with 6.5 sacks in the regular season. Replacement NT Maurice Hurst, Jr. (6’2″, 282) has been solid (6.5 TFLs, 3 sacks), but he was more effective as a change-of-pace guy to Glasgow; Hurst has the quickness to disrupt things in the backfield and rush the passer, while Glasgow used strength and leverage to be a force in the run game. At the weakside end/outside linebacker position, senior Royce Jenkins-Stone (6’2″, 240) is just a guy; he can get overpowered in the run game and doesn’t do great in the pass rush. Junior backup DE Taco Charlton (6’6″, 273) came on strong to finish with 8.5 TFLs and 5.5 sacks, and he’s basically playing like a starter now. The other notable backup is redshirt junior “NT” Tom Strobel (6’6″, 270), who converted to the defensive line from the offensive line late in the year; he is susceptible to, well, just about anything since he’s undersized and has just 3 tackles to his name. The best four players are Wormley, Henry, Hurst, and Charlton, so we will see whether Charlton gets inserted into the starting lineup. The Wolverines were ranked highly early in the year, but late-season struggles due to injuries dropped them to #18 in rushing defense (123 yards allowed/game) and #25 in rushing yards allowed/carry (3.59).
On Florida’s end, they are also lacking pieces, although not due to injury. Starting RT Mason Halter is ineligible for the bowl game, so freshman Fred Johnson (6’6″, 312) is expected to start. Fifth year senior RG Trip Thurman (6’5″, 312) is the only returning starter on the unit from 2014. Michigan native Cameron Dillard (6’4″, 308), a redshirt sophomore, starts at center. The Gators also have a freshman starting at LG in Martez Ivey (6’5″, 311) and a sophomore LT in David Sharpe (6’6″, 355). It is an inexperienced group, and it shows. Florida is #89 in Adjusted Line Yards and #121 in Adjusted Sack Rate. The primary backup is freshman C/OG Tyler Jordan (6’4″, 292). They are better than Michigan’s 2013 group, but not by a great deal. Watching some of Florida’s film, Sharpe looks like a significant weak point, which is not surprising, considering his size. He is clunky and seems to telegraph plays with his stance, although Michigan does not have a great edge rusher to really mess with him in the passing game.
Hit the jump for the rest of the preview.