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Devin Gardner had time with Mason Cole (No. 52) and Co. anchoring the line.
To get things started, let's go back to postgame Saturday when running back De'Veon Smith graded his O-line with an "A++." The sophomore had a huge day on the ground. He's also a new starter.
Back to the line.
Mason Cole (6'5", 292 pounds, freshman LT)
Cole gets an "A" for his showing against Appalachian State. He helped the front create space, lanes and holes for the running backs (which will be discussed later) and pockets of protection for quarterback Devin Gardner, who was only sacked once.
"I thought Mason did a nice job," offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier said Monday. "[I] talked a little about it last week. Nothing's too big for him. He is a young player, and we knew that going into the game that there were going to be some things that happened; and obviously the one sack that occurred.
"But it's not about the sack—it’s how you react to it. We talk to our guys a lot about 'play the next play.' And it's not about whether the play before was a great play or it was a really bad play. Because it really doesn't matter. It's irrelevant now. I thought [Mason] did an outstanding job. [He was] very focused…very levelheaded…played a good football game."
Ben Braden (6'6", 322, redshirt sophomore RT)
Due in part to Braden, who also gets an "A," the Wolverines were able to run to the right (not so much up the middle) and, again, protect their quarterback. Tackles are important when it comes to establishing a perimeter, and Gardner had his way with the opposing defense, passing for 173 yards and three touchdowns in what seemed to be about five minutes.
Nussmeier also complimented the line as a whole, saying that he was pleased with what he saw this past weekend.