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October 19, 2013

U-M shakes things up on the offensive line again

Michigan coach Brady Hoke surprised the fanbase Friday night, announcing that redshirt junior walk-on Joey Burzynski and redshirt freshman Erik Magnuson would earn their first-career starts against Indiana Saturday.

Burzynski got the nod at left guard. He is the third player to start at that position this season, after redshirt sophomore Graham Glasgow started the first four games there before switching to center and redshirt sophomore Chris Bryant started vs. Minnesota and Penn State.

Magnuson, who is a tackle by trade and will most likely move back outside next season when the Wolverines lose fifth-year senior tackles Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield, started at right guard, replacing redshirt freshman Kyle Kalis after he started the first six games.

"He's playing aggressive," Lewan said. "He is playing hard. He is not a guard. He'll be a tackle here, probably. That's for [offensive line coach Darrell] Funk to decide, but he's more of a tackle, skillset-wise. He's more athletic in those kind of ways, being out in space.

"I think he has done a great job, and he keeps moving forward. It's kind of like Michael Schofield, his sophomore year. Playing out of position a little bit, but playing hard and doing that over and over. If he keeps doing that, he'll be successful."

On top of the pregame switch, the offensive line was forced to change things up in the middle of the game after an injury for the second straight week. Lewan left the game at Penn State last week. This week, Burzynski appeared to tweak his knee on the third offensive possession and did not return.

True freshman Kyle Bosch checked into the game to replace Burzynski on the drive, pulling and decking an outside linebacker to spring fifth-year senior running back Fitzgerald Toussaint for a two-yard touchdown.

Bosch, an early-enrollee who burned his potential redshirt Saturday, was the first true freshman offensive lineman to see the field for the Wolverines since Justin Boren played in 2007.

"Being here since January has helped his development a little bit," Hoke said. "Joey getting nicked up there probably got him into the game sooner than he would have. He was a guy Darrell and [offensive coordinator Al Borges] thought was coming along."

Bosch didn't look overwhelmed.

He helped the Wolverines rack up season-high 248 yards on the and seven touchdowns on the ground, including a season-high 151 yards and four touchdowns on 32 carries (4.7 yards per carry) from Toussaint.

"Bosch played well," Lewan said. "My first Big Ten game was Indiana [in 2010]. I remember looking around and thinking, 'Oh my God, this is the Big Ten.' Bosch came in and did a great job. I think the first couple of plays, he was pretty starry-eyed.

"He knows what he weaknesses and strength are, and so do I. I have had the opportunity to play with him here and there. It wasn't like we just threw him in. He has had snaps with the ones in practice. So, I tried to help him out as much as I could."

All told, seven offensive linemen played in the game, an impressive number considering the Wolverines never pulled the starters in the tight win: Lewan at left tackle; Burzynski and Bosch at left guard; Glasgow at center; Magnuson and Kalis at right guard; and Schofield at right tackle.

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