Fat Versus Speed: Michigan's Defensive Line Will Dominate Notre Dame

The WolverineCorrespondent ISeptember 10, 2009

ANN ARBOR, MI - SEPTEMBER 05:  Brandon Graham #55 of the Michigan Wolverines dives for a sack on Tim Hiller #3 of the Western Michigan Broncos on September 5, 2009 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Comparing depth charts, I couldn't help but notice the weight disparity between Michigan and Notre Dame's offensive line.

Here is Notre Dame's offensive line:

OT - Paul Duncan, 6'7", 315
OT - Sam Young, 6'8", 320
OG - Chris Stewart, 6'5", 330
OG - Trevor Robinson, 6'5", 305
C - Eric Olsen, 6'4", 305

As a point of comparison, here is Michigan's:

OT - Mark Ortmann, 6'7", 284
OT - Mark Huyge, 6'6", 288
OG - Stephen Schilling, 6'5", 304
OG - David Moosman, 6'5", 293
C - David Molk, 6'2", 275

For those keeping track at home, the Michigan line totals 1,444 pounds for an average of 288.8 pounds per lineman. The Notre Dame line totals 1,575 pounds for an average of 315 pounds per lineman. So the average difference in body fat, I mean weight, is 26.2 pounds per lineman, or a nine percent difference.

"But those Notre Dame guys are so much taller," you may say. Nope. The Notre Dame line totals 389 inches, which is an average of 77.8 inches or 6'5-4/5". The Michigan line totals 385 inches, which is an average of 77 inches or 6'5". That's only a one percent difference. So for one percent more height, you get nine percent more fat.

But the Michigan offensive line is truly besides the point. It's Notre Dame's fat guys we're talking about here, and Michigan's fast defensive line.

Michigan's defensive line faced a similar sized offensive line last weekend (Western Michigan's collective weight was 1550 pounds), and wreaked havoc on it. Hiller had only a few seconds to throw in a three-step drop on nearly every play, and well...we saw what happened. Just wait until Clausen takes a few more steps to try some longer passes to his talented wideouts.

Greg Robinson knows this offensive line's weaknesses and has proven he knows how to beat it. (3-8 Cuse beat ND last year in South Bend, holding ND to 332 yards of offense.) And our corner duo—if healthy—is one of the best in the country.

Last year's defensive line for Michigan was much slower than this year's. Terrance Taylor (5.0+ 40) is replaced by Mike Martin (4.85). Tim Jamison (4.9) is replaced by Craig Roh (4.65). And Will Johnson (4.9) is replaced by former end Ryan Van Bergen (4.75). And the guy who remains—Brandon Graham—ate Jimmy Clausen for lunch the last time he stepped into the Big House (3-1/2 sacks - yes 3-1/2 sacks).

This weekend's game will be won and lost on the offensive and defensive line. It also presents front and center the question: fat or speed? I like Michigan's chances.