Michigan football OC Sherrone Moore says the past two years of offensive line dominance is ‘the standard’
Michigan football has had the nation’s best offensive line for two straight seasons. The Wolverines have won the Joe Moore Award the past two years after having outstanding offensive line play and the maize and blue are hoping to add another trophy for their line play in 2023.
Offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore spoke with Jon Jansen on the ‘In The Trenches’ podcast and the first topic of discussion was about the offensive line.
With Michigan winning the Joe Moore Award twice in a row, is there pressure on that unit to win it again? Moore isn’t worried about winning the trophy, but the level of play Michigan has shown the past two seasons is the standard on how that unit will continue to play while he is coaching.
“It’s just the standard,” Moore stated. “You know, not necessarily winning the award every year, but the standard of the level of play, we feel like we’ve raised the standard, raise the bar, and kind of brought it back to the Michigan lines of old and the great offensive lines that have been here. And that was my number one goal. When I took over the position, I told the guys that the standard that we’re holding ourselves to is not accountable to the greats that have played here. And, you know, that’s, that’s really what we’re trying to do and what we what we’ve been doing the past few years and that’s not going to change.”
From last season’s offensive line, Michigan lost left tackle Ryan Hayes and Rimington Award winner Olu Oluwatimi at center. But the Wolverines brought in three high-level transfers from other schools in the 2023 cycle and two of them figure to slot in at starters this year. Moore believes this is the best depth Michigan has had in a really long time and he thinks there are at least 10 guys that could start.
“Yeah, easily,” Moore said on the depth. “I think we’ve had really good lines in the past and the past few years, the 2021 year, I thought the line was outstanding. I thought we had our weak points at times, especially in depth. Last year, I thought we were a little bit better, and built it and we showed it but this year, I feel like both the first and potentially second, we just call it 1A, 1B because we feel like both groups are 1s and everybody knows that if you step in, you got to play the same level. So whether you line up with the first group or the second group, you’re all starters and you got to manage your way and attack it like that.”
With Michigan bringing in talent via the portal, the Wolverines didn’t lose anybody to the portal, which is why the depth is so good. Moore credits the culture on why the players want to stay in Ann Arbor.
“I think just what we build the culture that’s in the room, they all want to be a part of it, they don’t want to leave,” Moore said. “That’s really a credit to the players and what they’ve done and the standard that they hold themselves to. And they know that if they go somewhere else, they might not be held to that same standard. And they won’t feel the same way. Everybody loves winning championships. Everybody loves beating those teams that we know we got to beat and they love being a part of that. But more importantly, I think it’s really what the guys have done as a whole and as a culture in the room.”
One of those players that stuck around is Gio El-Hadi. El-Hadi saw playing time last year due to injuries and he played well. He may not get to start this season with the incoming transfers, but Moore said he just needs to continue to perfect his craft.
“Yeah, I think it’s just continuing to perfect his craft,” said Moore on El-Hadi. “The big emphasis for all these guys is to continue to study the game outside of football. So not just in the building but as much as you can outside and all these guys really buying into that. I get text messages and calls at night about stuff they’re watching, which is crazy sometimes I’m like, ‘Dude, it’s 11:30 and you’re texting me about this’ but that’s what I want and then that’s what they’re doing so I think for him just to continue to 1. follow those guys and watch what they’ve done to get to the level that they’re at, and 2. be patient and understand that your time as the guy will come but through just continue to perfect the craft and attack every day.”
Due to La’Darius Henderson, Drake Nugent, and Myles Hinton all coming into the fold, fans may not get to see the young guns that were a part of the last few recruiting classes. Moore was asked to share which young players had good springs and he immediately talked about the young centers, Raheem Anderson and Greg Crippen.
Yeah, do the guys — first of all start at the center position,” said Moore. “Both Greg Crippen and Raheem Anderson had outstanding springs. I thought both of those guys have matured mentally, but more important physically for the stuff you know, I watched — watch both of them walk into spring ball and just watch — first of all when you look at their backs, Herb emphasizes that so much the shoulders how wide they are, but also how much fast twitch and then more confident they are. I think both of those guys had a really, really good spring inside. And very excited about their futures and what they did. Those would be the guys that I highlight, especially in the interior and I thought Gio did a great job, obviously, Keegan and those guys who participated in spring ball did outstanding. But really those guys really hit it on the head and then the young guy Amir Herring he’s got a bright future. Still figuring it out, but he’s gonna be a really good player for us.”
One of the big competition spots on the offensive line is between Trente Jones and Karsen Barnhart at right tackle. Last year, Jones started the season, but Barnhart took over when Jones went down with an injury and Barnhart never looked back. Moore says it’s a tight competition for that spot.
‘It’s tight,” Moore stated. “It’s gonna be fun fall camps gonna be super fun. Like last year, it was a battle to the end. And then you know, Trente started it and then he got hurt and Karsen never let it go. But you know, right now it’s just it’s up in the air of who’s gonna be the starting tackle. People ask me that. Like, I don’t know. I’ll figure that out. I know we got four dudes, five dudes that could start at most anywhere in the country, and just excited to figure out how the pieces fall.”
Michigan kicks off its season on Sept. 2 against East Carolina at home.
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