Michigan looking for more physical play out of its offensive line
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
The last time Rich Rodriguez challenged his offensive line to play more physical came after Michigan lost in overtime to rival Michigan State. The Wolverines responded by scoring the first three rushing touchdowns of the year on Iowa’s defense.
Coming off an excruciating loss to Illinois in which they were stopped four times on the 1-yard line and held to 33 yards rushing in the second half, the Wolverines are once again looking for a jolt up front.
“I thought the first month of the season as an offensive line our physical play was up from where it was last year,” guard Steve Schilling said. “I think we might have taken a little bit of a step back (against Illinois), but that’s something that can be fixed relatively easily.”
Rodriguez said his offensive line “got pushed back” on one goal-line play and blockers missed assignments on two others.
With center David Molk out for the season with a torn right ACL, Michigan continues to look for the right combination up front. Tim McAvoy and Patrick Omameh saw their most significant playing time of the year against the Illini.
Regardless of who starts Saturday against Purdue, Schilling said Michigan (5-4, 1-4) must set the tone with its run game.
“You get into the grind toward the end of the season and the game becomes a lot more mental,” Schilling said. “You have to will your body to do things that it won’t when the weather gets cold and things like that. But that’s stuff that starts up front with us and we think for the whole team. It starts with us so we’re going to try and fix that this week.”