Stueber Loves The Approach Moore Has Brought As U-M's New O-Line Coach
Michigan Wolverines football redshirt junior Andrew Stueber is the most experienced of U-M’s offensive linemen, despite having started just eight games during his four years in Ann Arbor.
His previous position coach, Ed Warinner, helped turn Michigan’s front five into a potent unit upon his arrival in 2018, one year after the group struggled mightily as a whole in 2017 (allowed 83 tackles for loss on the year, which ranked 101st nationally).
Warinner is now off to Florida Atlantic after three years on the job, with former tight ends coach Sherrone Moore — who played offensive line during his collegiate days at Oklahoma — now leading the unit.
“It was somewhat of a surprise to see him [Warinner] leave,” Stueber admitted this afternoon on a Zoom press conference with reporters. “I was optimistic seeing Coach Moore take his spot — he’s a much younger guy and has played the position.
“There’s a different kind of energy in the room. It’s a more open room environment and you can ask a lot more questions. The older guys on the team like the vibe he’s bringing to the room and his overall energy.
“We’re still focusing on establishing the run game and it’ll continue to be a cornerstone in our offense. The line has to set the tempo and pace for the game, though we have some new blocks, wording and language.
“Coach [Josh] Gattis is still the coordinator, so the run game hasn’t changed too much. Coach Moore’s style is more personable and interactive though. He’s asking questions individually and allows discussion, asking us what we think.
“It’s easier to get discussions flowing that way. As an older guy, I appreciate being able to speak my mind and give input.”
Stueber’s versatility was an asset to the Wolverines’ offensive line last season, with the veteran originally beginning the year at guard before eventually kicking out to tackle once then-redshirt sophomore Jalen Mayfield went down with injury.
Michigan, as a whole, remains quite young both on the outside and on the interior, with a plethora of youngsters expected to emerge in 2021 after gaining valuable experience this past fall.
“I’m at right tackle right now, but have gotten reps at guard to keep myself familiar with both,” Stueber revealed. “I’m most natural at tackle, but I’ll do whatever to help the team.
“I’ll play wherever Coach [Jim] Harbaugh and Coach Moore want me to. They placed me at tackle after last season, trying to get younger guys and the center and guard spots figured out.”
Freshman Zak Zinter, and redshirt freshmen Karsen Barnhart and Zach Carpenter (who has since transferred to Indiana) played the biggest roles of the youngsters on U-M’s front five last year, with the former two expected to once again make significant impacts in 2021.
Another youthful lineman is expected to push hard for a starting job as well, in freshman center Reece Atteberry. Sixth-year senior Andrew Vastardis returns once again after winning the center job out of fall camp last season, but the coaches have whistled the former’s praises on numerous occasions since he arrived.
“Zak is continually impressing after playing a lot last year,” Stueber exclaimed. “He’s in the mix at right guard and his understanding of the offense for a second-year guy is impressive.
“Reece is playing center right now and is having more of a voice each practice.”
• Harbaugh’s revamped coaching staff has breathed new life into a Michigan program that appeared to be lifeless at times last season, with the staff as a whole basically undergoing a youth movement.
Junior defensive end Aidan Hutchinson admitted last week the players are practicing with an energy he “didn’t know the team had,” and Stueber echoed a similar sentiment today.
“A lot of [the reason for it] is to the new guys we’ve brought in,” the redshirt junior explained. “A whole new defensive staff coming in and early enrollees arriving have brought a new mindset.
“We’re more used to virtual meetings and that helps a lot with the early enrollees — they’re getting acclimated faster. The defense has a new energy and mindset, and the offense has to match it — it has been both sides lifting each other up and it’s great to see.”
• Redshirt freshman Cade McNamara and freshman J.J. McCarthy are viewed as the top two competitors to win Michigan’s starting quarterback job, though both are light on experience (71 career passes for the former and none for the latter).
“Cade is finally taking a more commanding role,” Stueber revealed. “It’s different when you think you have the starting job and command of the offense, because you then take more pride in it.
“I love how poised Cade is and the decisions he makes. There has been no starter named and Coach Harbaugh likes to keep it a meritocracy. J.J. is still learning the playbook but has shown impressive stuff, scrambling and making people miss.
“[Freshman] Dan Villari is impressive with his read option, making moves outside the pocket. We do a move-the-ball drill with each QB at the end of each practice, and they’ve all taken great pride in.”
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