February 6, 2013
Kugler well groomed for success
Michigan needs a tough, mean, heady, well-groomed center when September rolls around. Patrick Kugler might not be all of that yet at the college level, but he's got a nice head start toward future contributions.
The 6-5, 280-pound Kugler, a rock-solid offensive lineman out of state champion North Allegheny in Wexford, Pa., is a Rivals.com four-star talent with some serious training in already. Sean Kugler, Pat's father, is a long-time offensive line coach and the new head coach at University of Texas-El Paso.
Kugler's offensive line coach at North Allegheny, Mike Buchert, has worked extensively developing the tough-minded blocker as well, according to head coach Art Walker. Between the two of them, they've molded the younger Kugler into a very college-ready prospect from an offensive line standpoint.
"He's been around the game so much, and has taken so much from his father," Walker pointed out. "He's watched different positions and different terminologies, so he's going to get it
"What Mike has been able to do with Pat and his growth has been exceptional. Because Pat has had those two guys in his corner, his father and his offensive line coach, I know he is going to progress very, very quickly at Michigan."
Kugler is certainly no stranger to winning. He's served as a varsity starter at offensive and defensive line for three North Allegheny campaigns, which resulted in a 45-2 record and two state championships at the highest classification (4A) in Pennsylvania.
The school powered through a 16-0 record this season, including a 63-28 romp over Coatesville High School in the state championship game. North Allegheny's total set a state record for points scored in a title game.
According to Walker, Kugler provided a key part of the overpowering puzzle for his crew.
"He's not going to be intimidated by anybody," Walker said. "He wants to go against the best guys, and he wants us to run behind him whenever we need the tough yards. From a physical standpoint, he's a great run blocker, a great pass blocker, and he's versatile from that standpoint that he played right and left tackle for us."
"He's going to be playing guard or center at Michigan. He hasn't played any center at all for us, and he was able to play half the game at the Under Armour All-America Game at center and played fantastic. He didn't have any bad snaps, whether under center or in the gun.
"It proves what he can do, versatility-wise, and what they're getting as far as a very marketable offensive lineman that can play a lot of different spots."
Michigan offensive line coach Darrell Funk sees Kugler as a potential future center for the Wolverines. While he might not be ready for that sort of step up in a few months, Walker noted, a year and a half from now, Kugler should be ready to snap into place as a key component in an increasingly dominant Michigan offensive line.
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