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Michigan D-Line Will Survive With or Without Bryan Mone

Michigan sophomore defensive tackle Bryan Mone was in line for a starting position on the Wolverines’ D-line–that is until he reportedly suffered an injury.

According to Scout.com, the 6’4,” 325-pounder broke his ankle during a recent practice and is expected to miss the 2015 season. As of Thursday, Today’s U could only confirm that Mone had received an X-ray. That’s it–couldn’t verify breakage or estimated time of absence.

As of now, this is the official word from Michigan’s athletic department: “All that I can tell you is … I will let you know when Coach Harbaugh is ready to discuss fall practice. Hope you are doing well.”

Fair enough.

Detailing injuries from a submarine just doesn’t seem to be a part of the coach’s plan at the moment. More details could be made official in another week or so–that’s when the team is expected to come up for air.

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Prior to injury, Bryan Mone was arguably Michigan’s strongest and most athletic D-linemen. time for the next man up in Ann Arbor.

This post will be updated once the Wolverines release a statement.

With that said, a simple Google search could lead to a few credible hints. Thus far, it’s pretty clear that Mone suffered a lower-body/leg injury. MGoBlog, one of the most reliable and accurate blogs, seems to have interesting information that’s worth a look.

But back to coach Greg Mattison’s D-line, and back to how Michigan can make do without Mone–for a week, three weeks or the entire season, whatever the case may be. At first glance, the potential long-term loss of Mone appears to be a major setback in the making.

As a true freshman, he proved that he belonged in the two-deep rotation by appearing in 12 games. He performed well in the spring game, too. He’s good–really good; and the Wolverines are certainly better with him, but they won’t be lost without him.

On Aug. 6, the team’s media day, Mattison spoke of the potential of his position group. So far, he’s pretty satisfied with what he’s witnessed during the past two years. Michigan finished ranked No. 7 overall in total defense in 2014 and No. 13 in 2013. Guys are getting snaps and things are coming together.

This fall will be the true test.

“Well, I mean, we’ll find out what this defensive line is all about this season, you know,” he said when asked about the construction of the group. “There’s a lot of young men that have played a lot of football. And a lot of them probably played before they should have had to–so there’s growing pains with that.

I have a lot of pride in those guys because they fought through it, they took real hard coaching, and they wanted to be the best that they could be. Well, this is the next step. Now they’re all of the sudden, two years, three years older, and they’ve played a lot of football. Now is the time to see how good they can be.”

In 2014, Michigan tied with several teams for No. 42 overall in team sacks, finishing with 29 on the year–an average of 2.92 per game. Conversely, Utah–which heavily recruited Mone and opens 2015 vs. Michigan (weird twist)–led the nation with an average of 4.23 per game.

What does that mean?

It means that Michigan’s line has plenty of room to grow. It means that an extra sack or so would really turn up the heat on the competition and elevate the Wolverines D-line into elite territory. It also means that players such as Mone would have to put forth that little extra in order to reach those heights–and to compensate for the loss of Frank Clark and Brennen Beyer, who accounted for 10 sacks a year ago.

That’s where the loss of Mone could hurt Michigan, which will now need every bit–and then some–of junior Taco Charlton and redshirt juniors Ryan Glasgow, Chris Wormley and Willie Henry. In 2014, Glasgow started 11 games and made 22 tackles. Wormley, Henry and Charlton combined for 9.5 sacks and 13 starts. Wormley and Henry each started six times, while Charlton started once.

And then there’s senior Mario Ojemudia, who had 3.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for a loss in 2014–the second-most among D-linemen. Clark led the team with 14.5. On top of that, Ojemudia has 33 appearances scattered across his three-year resume.

The potential season-long loss of Mone could also open the door for redshirt junior Matt Godin and redshirt sophomore Maurice Hurst. In 2014, Godin saw action in 11 games, started four times and intercepted a pass during a 10-9 road win over Northwestern. He also had a sack. Hurst played in eight games, started three times and finished with one tackle for a loss.

A long-term loss of Mone would be a burden. There’s no other way to say it; however, combine the depth up front with a robust secondary and a group of linebackers led by senior Joe Bolden and fifth-year senior Desmond Morgan, and it’d appear that the Wolverines certainly have enough to at least endure the loss of a 6’4′, 325-pound bull-rusher.

UPDATE: Tony Parks of 97.5 The Zone in Salt Lake City, Mone’s hometown, has specifics of how Mone was injured.

 


Follow Adam Biggers of Today’s U on Twitter @AdamBiggers81

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