March 5, 2008
Spring preview: McAvoy possesses tools to start
After making appearances in three of Michigan's first four games in 2007, Tim McAvoy earned his first career start at Northwestern in Week Five. He suffered an injury, derailing his redshirt sophomore campaign, but the experience gained could prove key to winning a job going into his junior season
"I just spoke to Tim recently, and he's really excited about the opportunity this spring," Bloomington (Ill.) High School coach Rigo Schmelzer said. "For linemen, especially for the guys closer to the ball, it takes a little bit longer to develop, but entering your junior season you should be in a position to step up. I think Tim has put himself in that position thanks to his hard work."
With only two returning starters on the offensive line - junior guard Justin Boren and redshirt sophomore tackle Steve Schilling - a number of spots are up for grabs. McAvoy appears to be a leading contender to win the battle at guard.
"With the changing of schemes and style, Rich Rodriguez has basically implied to his linemen that they need to lose weight and focus on becoming more athletic, and those are qualities Tim already possesses," Schmelzer said. "He was a tight end for us in his sophomore and junior seasons so he's used to running. His size [6-5, 290 pounds] always seemed to be working against him at Michigan, but now it's one of his advantages. He intends to utilize that natural ability he has to impress his coaches this spring."
A classmate of McAvoy's, interior lineman David Moosman is also looking for a new opportunity. Moosman, a former four-star prospect out of Libertyville, Ill., struggled to carve his niche under the previous coaching staff.
"I've always believed David possesses the tools to be a starter, but for whatever reason the last two years just really didn't work out for him," high school coach Randy Kuceyeski said. "With Rich Rodriguez coming in, I hope David will look at this challenge as fun and exciting and rise to meet it. There is no doubt in his three years with us he was a leader and set the example, and he just needs to get back to that."
While redshirt freshman quarterback Steve Threet has a tremendous amount of terminology to master, U-M's linemen also face a steep learning curve.
"When I talked to Tim, he was looking over new plays, and he said there is a lot they're trying to learn," Schmelzer said. "There are new plays, new calls and there will be mistakes in some practices where you better hope that quarterback is wearing a red jersey. Tim is a smart kid, though, and I think he'll use his intelligence to his advantage as he tries to win a starting job."
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