On paper the 2007 offensive line should be better than the 2006 line. The main reasons it might not be would be:
1) If the coaches decide that Alex Mitchell is really an OT and move him to RT
#1 looks VERY doubtful as Mitchell is slower on his feet than Riley and honestly #2 would only be a huge blow if Jake Long was injured. All other positions have more depth than they did last year.
Thus, here is what the 2007 o-line should look like. The 'Key' explains things and the light yellow and bright yellow on LG and RT are my levels of worry for that position in 2007 (Nervous about RT for 2007 and a little nervous about LG in 2007, not worried about LT/C/RG, etc). Also, players that I don't expect to contribute are listed down below the main grouping.
LT: Long is a lock at LT and is really the only true 'lock'. Behind him would actually be Ortmann/Schilling instead of Zirbel as Zirbel has shown a lack of anything good (tripping during the Indiana game allowing a sack, allowing ND rushers right in, etc). I've listed Dorrestein in this column but he most likely won't see the field in 2007 thus he is down at the bottom.
LG: Boren looks to be the early favorite for this spot as he has more playing time than other potential candidates. Schifano would/could/should have been ahead of Boren IF not for his injury. I'm throwing Ciulla in here more just to put him in a slot as he might see slight time as a 3rd stringer.
C: Given Kraus's statements earlier about being more than open to moving to C in 2007 the most logical position for him is C. The only other slot would be LG but if your Carr wouldn't you rather have a 5-th year senior at C instead of a 3rd year soph with ~zero playing time? Especially since Kraus has ~8 starts at C already (2005). Behind him is the much hyped Moosman. When Jake Long talks about other o-linemen he talks about a) Ortmann and b) Moosman. The 3rd potential for C would be McAvoy but I'm moving him to RG.
RG: Mitchell looks to be a lock here but frankly I think he needs to re-earn a spot given his play late in 2006. Maybe that's being unfair but he looked either out of position or slow in a few 2006 games. I've put McAvoy behind him mostly because rivals current depth chart (updated 1/19/2007) lists him there.
LT: My opinion is that the RT position will again be a HUGE key for the Michigan offense. Riley at RT was good but not great. Well, I think a lot of folks would argue that Riley was horrible but he didn't do as bad as I expected. 2007 looks to be either Ortmann or Schilling. A lot of folks have Schilling as a lock for the RT position but I'm going with Rivals on this and putting Ortmann as the early favorite. Ortmann has generated a lot of buzz but nothing else and only saw a tiny bit of playing time in 2006. However, Schilling is still rehabbing from an injury and a few folks (including rivals it seems) have speculated that he won't be 100% by the time that the 2007 season rolls around. If, however, he rehabs 100% odds are that he takes the RT spot from Ortmann given his superior footwork and rumored ability to shutdown Woodley 1 on 1.
-Dorrestein will probably see backup time in 2008
-DeBenedictis is a rumored transfer possibility with odds of never seeing the field
-Gallimore is slightly better than DeBenedictis with a slight chance of seeing the field in 2007 unless I'm WAY off base
-Molk will redshirt and hopefully grow 2-3 inches ;)
-Huyge will DEFINITELY redshirt and hopefully hit the weight room hard
Thus we have 3 full starters returning plus a LG that started 1 game and had more than 4 additional quarters of full playing time.
Note: If anyone actually reads this blog anymore can you throw up a comment just to let me know? Thnx...