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A look at the Wolverines’ 2018 regular-season schedule, which opens at Notre Dame on Sept. 1, and finishes at Ohio State on Nov. 24. Video by Ryan Ford, Detroit Free Press
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Chuck Filiaga arrived at Michigan football in 2017 as a player who appeared physically ready to play football. 

A 6-foot-6, 345-pound offensive tackle prospect from Aledo, Texas, Filiaga was the No. 118-ranked recruit in the country and a player who some expected to see during his true freshman season. 

That didn’t happen. 

“Honestly, I wasn’t mad. But it was a bummer to redshirt,” Filiaga said over the weekend. “If you look at the bright side, though, it helped me improve on some of the skills I needed to improve on at this level.”

As U-M struggled with overall offensive line consistency, especially at the tackle positions, Filiaga was asked to wait patiently while learning the little things about playing offensive line in the Big Ten. 

More on Wolverines’ OL:

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Michigan’s offensive line has potential, but how much?

For a player his size, pad level was one of the first issues to fix. In high school, that didn’t matter as much for him. He was so big and so strong, he could move people without much technique. In college, if he can’t get low enough, he’s going to struggle against defensive linemen. 

No. 2 was his footwork, both in the run game and during pass protection sets. The latter, of course, is the biggest issue facing Michigan. 

U-M worked him at guard and tackle a year ago. And Filiaga isn’t ready to say where he’s expected to land in 2018. 

“We’ll have to see,” he says. “Wherever the coach needs me, that’s where I’ll go help out.”  

He’s hoping to find a spot somewhere up front. Michigan seems to have its center in Cesar Ruiz. Ben Bredeson is a firm answer at one guard spot, while Michael Onwenu and Stephen Spanellis are still viewed as strong options at the other guard position. 

More: Michigan’s Ben Bredeson ‘sick of hearing’ about offensive line woes

The tackle jobs, however, seem to be open. Jon Runyan Jr. had the best spring practice of his career, according to several players and coaches, at right tackle. Fifth-year senior Juwann Bushell-Beatty has experience at left tackle, though he’s had his problems with consistency before. 

There are open jobs up front. And Filiaga will have his opportunity. 

“Whatever best helps the team,” he says. 

Adjusting to the speed of the game and developing FBS-level strength are always the biggest issues for freshmen offensive linemen. Filiaga was no different. 

Michigan will have several young offensive linemen fighting for time this year, as fellow second-year players James Hudson, Andrew Stueber and Joel Honigford are all fighting for a spot in U-M’s rotation. Former defensive lineman Phillip Paea is now an offensive guard for his second season. 

Like most of his teammates, Filiaga says new offensive line coach Ed Warinner has helped with overall comprehension along the front five. 

But talking about something and actually doing something are two different things. 

“Every year we’re motivated,” Filiaga said. “The national championship is where we want to go. Big games like Ohio State, Michigan State and Penn State. We want to win those. We’re motivated every year to come out, kick ass and take names.” 

Contact Nick Baumgardner: nbaumgardn@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @NickBaumgardner. Download our Wolverines Xtra app for free on Apple and Android device.