Strongly Improved, Runyan Focused on Learning from OSU Woes to Beat Florida

jon runyan jr michigan left tackle

Strongly Improved, Runyan Focused on Learning from OSU Woes to Beat Florida

Football

Strongly Improved, Runyan Focused on Learning from OSU Woes to Beat Florida

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — After Michigan’s season opener against Notre Dame, Wolverines fans felt they had seen enough of what they needed to see.

The maize and blue’s achilles heel in 2017 was the offensive line, a unit that performed poorly throughout the 8-5 campaign. So when the Fighting Irish’s stout defensive front permeated the line with relative ease, brutalizing first-year left tackle starter Jon Runyan Jr., they wanted to see a fresh face on the end.

Good thing the coaches stuck with their choice in Runyan. It took a few games, but eventually Runyan flipped a proverbial switch, and became a dominant lineman through much of the season.

His efforts didn’t go unnoticed, as Runyan was voted by Big Ten coaches as a first-team All-Big Ten left tackle.

After his struggles in Week One, even Runyan couldn’t have envisioned that being the end result of the season — being voted as the top LT across fourteen teams. But, his eyes remained on the prize, and ultimately he deserved the honor.

“Honestly probably not, but at the start of the season, I set goals for myself, and that was actually one of them,” Runyan said. “Coming into it throughout the season, it was still always on my mind, being able to do that. I’m glad I got it, but still not too much into individual awards. More a part of the team. Moving onto this bowl game, hoping we can come out with a W there.”

While things didn’t go as planned, however, in the regular season finale at Ohio State, there’s still another game left to play.

With a full year of starting at left tackle now under his belt, and a desire to continue to improve, Runyan is looking forward to taking his game to the next level in preparation for Florida in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. Win that, and the offensive line’s level of confidence will continue to improve with four of the five linemen returning in 2019.

But, in order to do that, the unit has to learn from what went wrong down in Columbus. While some players haven’t delved too deeply into the Ohio State film, Runyan says that he made it a point to study the tale of the tape and figure out what did and didn’t work.

“I’ve watched it a few times already,” Runyan said. “We didn’t play well. Those are things we can look to improve going into these bowl practices. We have all these practices leading up to the game. As an offensive line, we had a really good season. With this bowl practice helping that, playing against Florida, carrying that into 2019.”

With it being his fourth-year, Runyan is something of a veteran voice on the team. Along with the other leadership — like team captain Ben Bredeson — they made sure that players kept their eyes forward, knowing there’s but another contest on the horizon.

A sour taste certainly exists after the drubbing at the hands of the Buckeyes, but Runyan says that they know the one thing that can erase that memory: a win over Florida in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

“I think the older guys do a good job of setting the tone,” Runyan said. “Coming in here, workouts we had last week, nobody came in here with a gloomy, frowned face. Everybody was helping pick each other up. We know what happened, we’ve got to move forward from that and pick each other up and go forward and get this win that everybody wants. That’s the cure for it – get another win.”

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