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Michigan football veteran details his position battle thus far

Michigan football has a few important battles going on throughout the offense.



Michigan football, offensive line, Karsen Barnhart, position battle
Dec 31, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Michigan Wolverines offensive lineman Karsen Barnhart (52) against the TCU Horned Frogs during the 2022 Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past four seasons, Karsen Barnhart has seen his ups and downs in Ann Arbor. Heading into his fifth year with the program, this Michigan football veteran is currently battling it out with other offensive tackles for a starting spot on this year’s elite offensive line. Yesterday, Barnhart met with the media, where he dove into the latest details regarding his position battle and more.

Michigan football veteran details battle for left tackle spot

In 2022, Karsen Barnhart was an All-Big Ten honorable mention for the Wolverines, appearing in ten games and making nine starts at offensive tackle (eight starts at right tackle, one at left tackle). This year, Barnhart is battling it out with other top-tier offensive tackles, including new transfer LaDarius Henderson, who has reportedly been quite impressive to this point — right now, it sounds like both veteran offensive linemen are gunning for the left tackle spot.

“I guess the main thing is he (LaDarius Henderson) wants to be out there, and I want to be out there at the same time, and I guess that’s a way to push each other,” Barnhart explained. “And then, at the same time, if he’s doing something wrong, I’m coaching him up. If I’m doing something wrong, he’s coaching me up, and we just play off each other like that.”

Karsen Barnhart moving from right tackle to left tackle in 2023?

Karsen Barnhart has seen plenty of snaps across the Michigan football offensive line throughout his four years with the program thus far, though he was primarily a right tackle last year. So, as his position battle drags on for the left tackle spot, is he finding the adjustment difficult?

“I’ve spent a lot of time at left tackle,” he said. “Also, in years past, I have played all positions besides center. This year I played a little bit of left guard, a little bit of right guard, nothing too crazy. But mostly left tackle right now.

“Nothing is too different,” Barnhart continued. “It all feels right at home because I’ve been there in years past and I’ve played the position. I’ve got a lot of time at all positions.”

Numerous offensive line spots are up for grabs right now

It’s not just LaDarius Henderson that Karsen Barnhart is battling right now, either. Michigan football has four very good offensive tackles, all of which would start almost anywhere in the nation; on top of Henderson and Barnhart, Trente Jones and Myles Hinton are also in the mix.

“It’s great that the room has 10-plus starters,” Karsen Barnhart said. “We have so much depth. You’ve seen it in years past where the first five that walk out there aren’t the first five that walk out there in game 12 and 13. It just brings so much depth and so much competition and the ceiling that we have just keeps growing every day. And for LD (LaDarius Henderson) to push me and me to push him — push Myles (Hinton), Trente (Jones) — everybody just wants to be the best and everybody wants to be out there.”

Last year, Barnhart found himself a bit banged up by the end of the season. Heading into the 2023 season, it appears that this Michigan football veteran is healed up and ready to go.

“Feel really good so far,” he said when asked about his body’s condition heading into the new season.

Too close to call at offensive tackle right now

We also spoke with sophomore edge rusher Derrick Moore yesterday following Karsen Barnhart’s availability. When asked about who the top offensive tackles are right now, it became evident that they’re all playing at a high level. For the time being, this position battle is simply too close to call, and will likely come down to Jim Harbaugh’s “Michigan Method.”

“Right now. I would say it’s a pretty good competition for all of the guys,” Derrick Moore said. “Going against Trente (Jones), Karsen (Barnhart), LD (LaDarius Henderson), Myles (Hinton), all of them give us a good work. Out of all the edge guys, they’re making us really work. They’re giving us different sets every other day. They’re just playing around with us.

“I would say I can’t say one guy (is standing out the most).,” he continued. “I’m gonna say all of them.”

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CJ has covered college athletics in paid roles for around five years, including numerous sports and beats. His most recent work revolves largely around Penn State and Michigan football and basketball. Right now, CJ is the publisher of Blue by Ninety, where he also serves as the site's credentialed football reporter. Previously, CJ has made stops with Fansided, The Michigan Daily, and more.