Skyler Schofner looks to make impact on offensive line



Skyler Schofner has a leg up for the starting tackle spot and probably won't give it up for four years.  Photo courtesy of Troy Benoit.
Skyler Schofner has a leg up for the starting tackle spot and probably won't give it up for four years. Photo courtesy of Troy Benoit.




Redshirt freshman Skyler Schofner is battling for a spot on Michigan State’s offensive line, an area of the team which is in flux following the graduation of three starters from last year’s squad.


Schofner is a 6-foot 7, 310 pound right tackle with a leg up as the team’s starter at the same position once fall rolls around. He feels like he is progressing more and more every week, telling Spartan Nation that he is definitely coming around as to what is expected of him.


“There’s so much to put in,” Schofner said. “When you’re a redshirt freshman – last year I was doing scout team plays – so this is actually the first year I’ve put all the plays in, so I feel a lot better getting them all down.


“Right now we are mixing it around, changing people around and seeing where people are comfortable (on the offensive line). I want to get better in every category I can, from my run blocking to my stretch, pass blocking. … The attitude is there for sure. I’m loving it out there,” he said.


Schofner wants to build himself into a strong Big Ten lineman, and he admitted that watching from the sidelines last season was tough – especially for a guy like him who has started his entire football life. But he admits that he learned quite a bit from being a spectator in what turned out to be a memorable season in Spartan history.


“Watching the older guys, watching the other players, watching Wisconsin and Iowa offensive linemen, I can picture the little things they do,” he said. “Until you get here (at the college level), you don’t realize how much you got to (watch film).”


Head coach Mark Dantonio said that practices and scrimmages really allow for the coaching staff to see more clearly different players’ techniques and how they perform from one day to the next. He also is aware of the depth at the offensive line, which is a positive when countered against the fact that uncertainty at key positions may hinder the team.


“Depth makes you better,” Dantonio said. “We’re really trying to grade our players on different levels – Big Ten championships, winning. The next category is, are they functional? If guys function they can continue to get better.


“Schofner has some things to work on, but I think you see growth every single day and that’s the things you’re looking for,” he added.


Offensive line coach Mark Staten has the same mindset as Dantonio. He is trying different things with his linemen and seeing how they handle different situations.


“We’re trying to see who meshes well, who’s able to pass off those twists and do those types of things,” Staten said. “That’s been really good. It’s a lot of good players competing for a starting job.


“Skyler’s been competing. Now he has to remember what protection is, if he’s on the front side or the backside. He’s got the tools and he’s got the ability, he’s just gonna keep learning the system and understanding it.”


With Schofner projected as the team’s starting right tackle, he feels more at ease with the load the coaches are placing on him. The year he spent on the scout team is contributing to that.


“Last year coming to camp it was like, ‘What is all this?’” Schofner said. “But now it’s coming really easy. Now it’s just about getting the little things down: my base, footwork, getting around the second level, first level. I’m just trying to be a leader for this team.” 

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