Michigan Football: Phil Steele expects underclassmen to lead Wolverines

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Michigan Football
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Breaking in an inexperienced offensive line will have its challenges.

Steele has concerns about the offensive line after losing four starters to the NFL. However, he had those same concerns about Ohio State’s “big nasties” last season.

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A few weeks ago, Michigan football Head Coach Jim Harbaugh spoke with Sports Illustrated and praised both Mayfield and returning tackle Ryan Hayes.

"“Jalen Mayfield looks phenomenal as a tackle, as a football player. He is another example of somebody who really has done a great job this entire offseason. He looks great,” said Harbaugh. “Other guys, Ryan Hayes is definitely somebody that has game experience, started at left tackle, expect really good things from him.”"

The Wolverines are a program that has notoriously produced first-round talent on the offensive line. At the same time, the program always shows it’s depth upfront every year during the NFL draft. Position coach Ed Warriner will have this group ready to go by the time the season kicks off.

Mayfield, who started 13 games last season, has been projected as a first-round pick by many analysts, including ESPN’s Todd McShay. Look him to be a stalwart on the blindside of whoever gets the starting nod at quarterback.

An outlook of the program under Jim Harbaugh in Year six.

Steele believes Michigan football has narrowed the gap from both a size and speed perspective when compared to Ohio State. However, he isn’t projecting them to beat the Buckeyes this year. His prediction last season was misguided as many questions were surrounding the program.

Without an updated, shortened regular season schedule Steele believes it’s too early to predict a wins/losses record for Michigan football. Currently, he’s predicting the Wolverines to finish third in the Big Ten East division behind Ohio State and Penn State.

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Steele recently told MLive that;

"“Last year was their window of opportunity, as they had a veteran team and Ohio State had a first-time head coach and had to travel to Ann Arbor. While they get both Penn State and Wisconsin at home, I wonder how many fans will be on hand. If Harbaugh can win a bowl game, they could top last year’s win total.”"

We’ll see if the Harbaugh led Wolverines can finally turn the corner in 2020.