On any given Sunday, an analyst on an NFL broadcast will discuss injuries a team has had on its offensive line and how players have found themselves playing different positions than they’re accustomed to, and how difficult the transition can be.
Ask Michigan sophomore Graham Glasgow about making the transition from starting guard to starting center in the middle of this season and mostly what you get is a shrug.
“I just want to play whatever helps the team,” the Marmion graduate says, noting that he played a lot of center on the scout team when he arrived in Ann Arbor two years ago. “In a way, it actually helps me being able to play both of those [positions].”
Glasgow (6-6, 303) started the first four games of the season for the Wolverines at left guard, but has started the last six games at center. The left guard spot has been filled by a very familiar face to Glasgow, true freshman Kyle Bosch of St. Charles, a St. Francis graduate.
“It’s kind of cool,” Glasgow says, adding that he never went head-to-head against Bosch in high school. “He gets the job done. That’s fine with me.”
Glasgow gets to see an even more familiar face every day – his younger brother, Ryan, a Michigan defensive lineman.
“It’s great,” Glasgow says. “It’s like it was at Marmion in a way. I go up against him all the time in practice.”
Ryan, a redshirt freshman, has appeared in eight games this season for the Wolverines.
“When I see Ryan out there on defense doing his thing, it’s great,” Glasgow says. “I like it a lot.”
Glasgow downplays the role he’s played in helping Ryan achieve gridiron success.
“I think I was able to help him adjust to college in every way except the ability to play his position,” Glasgow says. “I can’t tell him how he’s doing. That’s up to the coaches.”
Glasgow says he does encourage his brother to keep a positive attitude, something the elder Glasgow had to work on a lot as a walk-on freshman, when his primary duty was to mimic the offensive linemen Michigan’s first-team defense would be going up against each week.
“You’re going to get beat up on the scout team,” he says. “It’s all about just getting better. That’s what happens the first year.”
Last year, Glasgow saw action in five games for the Wolverines.
“When you get an opportunity like that, you’ve still got to go out there and play your hardest,” he says, noting the importance of showing coaches and teammates alike that he was improving.
Glasgow says he spent the off-season working on getting stronger and preparing for spring practice.
“Having a good spring ball was instrumental” to his current success, he says. “As a walk-on, I would say you literally have to play as good as you can on every play. You just have to be consistently good.”
His spring play was strong enough that he began to get media attention in Michigan as a possible candidate for a starting position this fall, despite the fact more heralded scholarship athletes were available to fill the O-line spots. When the season finally arrived, Glasgow’s hard work was rewarded with both a spot in the starting lineup and a scholarship.
The season started well for Glasgow and the Wolverines. They won their first five games, including a 41-30 victory over then 14th-ranked Notre Dame. Michigan averaged 39 points per game on offense in those contests. Since then, they’ve lost three of five.
“We’ve definitely not completed our primary goal, which was to win the Big Ten championship, which was upsetting at first,” Glasgow says. “We still have another goal of winning 10 games. … Not a lot of people believe in us, but we believe in us, and that’s all that matters.”
The Wolverines (7-3, 3-3 Big Ten Legends) kept that goal of winning 10 games alive with a triple-overtime victory Saturday at Northwestern.
“When we had that field goal at the end of regulation, I had a very good feeling about overtime,” Glasgow says. “We moved the ball at times during the game, we just couldn’t put it together completely, but in overtime, we put it together.”
On the play prior to the field goal that sent the game into overtime, Glasgow completely stoned Northwestern defensive lineman Tyler Scott at the line of scrimmage, giving quarterback Devin Gardner ample time to make a crucial pass completion. On Gardner’s game-winning five-yard TD run in the third overtime, Glasgow held his block on Will Hampton until after Gardner crossed the goal line.
After a tense game like that, players want to kick back and relax a little bit. They don’t get much free time during the season. When they do, Glasgow and his brother and some of their teammates enjoy a classic video game.
“We’ll play Super Smash Bros. for N64,” he says. “We can play that for hours at a time. … It’s amazing. The console doesn’t break. It’s been like 20 years.”
• Dennis D. Jacobs writes the weekly On Campus column for the Kane County Chronicle. If you have a column idea, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.