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Posted on Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 5:58 a.m.

Head-butting David Molk makes tough admission: Michigan State was tougher than Michigan

By Kyle Meinke


David Molk (50) and Roy Roundtree (12) congratulate running back Vincent Smith after his touchdown against San Diego State.

Angela J. Cesere |

When David Molk says someone out-toughed him, you listen.

After all, he's the guy who eases his pregame jitters by head-butting freshmen. What's tougher than that?

The Michigan football team's senior captain often is too wound up before games to properly execute his duties as center. He's found, though, that ramming his head into freshmen placates those nerves.

"Dave's crazy," fellow senior Mike Martin said of the head-butting last week. "They can’t get away from it. ... it’s just something that’s going to happen."


Something on your mind after Michigan's first loss of the year? Email your question or comment to football beat writer Kyle Meinke at for Thursday's column.

Also, join Meinke in a live chat at noon Thursday to talk more Michigan football.

It's something Molk has done each season -- well, since he was a freshman himself. Two years ago, his favorite target was current backup center Rocko Khoury. Last year, it was current starting left guard Ricky Barnum.

This year, it's offensive lineman Jack Miller. Why him?

"I like Jack," Molk said. "He doesn’t like it. He always says it’s OK if he knows it’s coming. Usually, when I come back from the coin toss, I’ll just kind of run up to him and grab him, and slam my head into him."

It's not exactly a tap, either.

"I think I might have given him a slight concussion one time," Molk said, seemingly tongue in cheek, although one cannot be so sure when it comes to the senior.

He's crazy. And crazy tough.

So, when Molk says he was out-toughed, you listen. And that's exactly what he said happened Saturday in a 28-14 loss to rival Michigan State.


Michigan senior center David Molk.

File photo

The Michigan offensive line struggled to contain the Spartans, who had seven sacks and held the Wolverines to a season-low 82 rushing yards. Quarterback Denard Robinson ran for just 42 yards, a career low among starts. Michigan State's Jerel Worthy, William Gholston and Marcus Rush consistently blew the Wolverines off the ball.

"They out-toughed us, you could say," Molk said. "We need to be a tougher team. This is Big Ten play, tough teams win."

As one of the country's top centers, and someone who prides himself on his brute strength, he said admitting he was out-toughed by Michigan State -- a team he's never beaten, nor ever will -- was one of the hardest things he's ever had to reconcile.

"(Physicality is) what this game is," Molk said. "It’s not a finesse game. That’s why we wear a helmet, we wear a facemask. That’s why there’s so much money put into improving equipment, because that is what we do.

"That’s what makes this game great, how tough you are. Who can win? Who can go down the line and be bigger, better, badder?"

Just how bad were the Spartans, though?

They committed six personal fouls to Michigan's one, including two on Gholston for twisting Robinson's head at the bottom of a pile, then punching left tackle Taylor Lewan in the throat. Some were calling Michigan State a dirty team -- Worthy himself among them.

But Molk, like his Michigan teammates and coaches, refused to make excuses or call the Spartans dirty.

"Football’s a tough game," he said. "The line between cheap and fair is pretty thin sometimes and, really, it’s in the eye of the beholder. What could be tough play, could be rough play, could be too much."

When asked to explain how he defined toughness for himself, Molk appeared to draw a line.

"I don’t punch," he said. "I play as fair as possible. The way that I show that I’m tough is I hit hard, play within the rules, I drive people, I pancake people. That’s how I play. I don’t talk."

He may not talk, but that won't help poor Jack Miller.

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.



Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 8:34 a.m.

First and foremost I am a Michigan fan, but my honost opinion is that David Molk headbutting freshman is a microcosm of the program for the whole time he has been in it.... Beat up on the little guy. David Molk doesnt headbut Seniors, and he and his classmates have never shown up and headbutted an opponent in a big time game. Very frustrating to me, and I hope at some point this season they back up the talk that "this isnt last years team" because I remember hearing that same phrase last year. Love the team and love the coach but there are some players who just dont have it in them to raise their intensity levels when it counts.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 8:55 a.m.

I found this video verry interesting, especially to those people calling Gholston a dirty player. 2009 MIchigan Vs ND. Anybody remember what #8 Mouton did in that game? Dubya Dubya Dubya Dot


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 7:20 p.m.

Based on the truth of what may have happened is starting to come out, some Wolvies might want to slow down the whole we are innocent victims to thugs. If it is true, you can bet that it will be used in recruiting against the Blue boys. Given the choice of the two sides of the story, the more honorable side is the side being called thugs.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 6:01 p.m.

Very interesting article here: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 3:15 p.m.

Another big part of that domination by MSU's DL over UM's OL was revealed in Kyle's article yesterday: <a href=""></a> I hope that Brady Hoke and his staff are able to help Molk get rid of that head-bobbing &quot;tell&quot; quickly. Or it's going to get expensive in there upcoming Big10 &quot;poker games&quot;.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 3:06 p.m.

Quit complaining. Baker nearly got his head twisted off by a Michigan player in the same game, Mlive had a photo of it, but it didn't get called and no one's calling for suspending that player. Lewand was shoving Gholston's face into the ground, then yanked him around by the facemask as he was getting up - he deserved a sock in the face, even though it was a dumb move on Gholston's part. Lewand's body language as he slinks off with his tail between his legs speaks volumes - he knew he'd crossed the line. Why do you think both team were saying this would be the most physical game of the year? I've got news for you - &quot;physical&quot; is a euphanism for dirty. If you don't think Michigan wasn't doing their utmost to gouge State right back, you're living in Pink Princess Pony Fantasy-land. The only reason State got flagged for more calls is that they were more successful in swarming to the ball and imposing their will on the opposition - a lot of those calls were very ticky-tack.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 3:29 a.m.

zeeba, I think you meant &quot;euphemism&quot;, are you an MSU grad? By the way, it's spelled euphonism, which means a combination of sounds, where as euphemism means a nicer more inoffensive term.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 7:07 p.m.

You must not have been paying very close attention: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> The Baker pix seems to have been taken down - it's not the facemask still shot of him on the ground that's out there. In this one, he's upright, getting wrapped up and the U-M player has his head cranked pretty severely to the right.

Lorain Steelmen

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 5:32 p.m.

Funny thing, I watched the game on dvd, and again, on the BTN replay, and didn't see Lewan yanking Gohlton's mask. Nor did I see Baker get his face mask twisted off. I DID see the result of Gohlstin's, sucker punch to the throat, and as would be expected, Lewan momentarily couldn't get air, and was temporarily weakened. I'm surprized Lewan didn't punch Golhstin back, but Lewan's coach doesn't condone that stuff. Gohlstin's coach does. What's next, are you're going to tell us that Robinson's face mask accidentally, got caught in Gohlstin's hand, and then Robinson, rotated his head 360 degrees, before Gohlstin could get loose? We got it!

Lorain Steelmen

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 2:37 p.m.

I am going to amplify Semper Fi's earlier comments. It is one thing to be 'tough', and quite another, to be a 'punk'. I'm in my 60's now, but in my eyes, and given my steel town background, the Saprtans aren't tough at all. They are just punks. Now days, the word 'punk' is 'out of favor', and fans like to use the word 'thug'. Ok, so be it. My generation called them 'punks'. (losers). What Gohlstin did saturday, was try to snap the neck of a defenseless 180# kid, who was pinned under the pile and unable to respond. That isn't being 'tough' at all..that's just 'cowardly'. A real man, does NOT do that. He goes man on man, eye to eye. The same could be said for Gohlstin's 'sucker punch', to Lewan's throat. What I do think Hoke's doing now, (and you hear it repeated, in Molks' comments), is that UM WILL become a physical presence again. On both sides of the line, UM will return to the 'toughness' of a Glen Steele, or a John Jansen, et al. Those guys were not punks, but they would dominate you, for 60 minutes. UM will go, eye to eye, man on man, and beatdown the punks of the world. I think that Hoke is going to use this experience to rebuild the program, as it was from '96 or '97 to about '00. Unfortunately Carr let UM slip, (get soft)and Rodriguez was not able to rebuild it. Hoke fully understands the 'mentality' of a Schembechler or a Hayes. You had to be tough to survive, on either side of the line, for those guys. Not everyone could handle the demands of those guys. ...BUT, there were NO cheap shot artists tolerated. Maybe its' Hoke's Ohio origins, but I can tell you there is little differencce, between Dayton, Barberton, Lorain, Youngstown, Cleveland, Akron, et al. Hoke is no dummy. He'll use this, and our 'friend,' Dantonio, has unwittingly helped Hoke awaken a sleeping giant. It is not going to be pretty in the Big Ten for a long time to come, and MSU will understand (again), what it really means to be 'the little brother'.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 5:10 p.m.

Yesterday I posed this question: &quot;Ndamukong Suh of the Lions plays the same way. So if you are calling Gholston a criminal is Suh also a criminal?&quot; I got no responses.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 3:09 p.m.

So is Ndamukong Suh a punk as well? Just wondering. Or is your definition of &quot;punk&quot; tied to whoever's on the other team? I thought so.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 1:12 p.m.

Well with Magnuson, Kalis, Bars and Stacy committed to Michigan next year-the future looks bright. But it will take time. This was the key to the game not Denard's play. the OL was manhandled by MSU's defensive line. Hard to score points when your backs are getting hit in the backfield. They are very good. Michigan's OL no so much. Nice to see Hoke and Molk not making any excuses.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 12:59 p.m.

This is not news, the wolvies have been soft at the offensive line for years. This started during the last years of Floyd Carr and continued by RRod


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 3:19 a.m.

Seems like Carr was beating MSU pretty good his last 6 years while he was going &quot;soft&quot;. Maybe you should talk to your dad Scoot, son of.....


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 12:52 p.m.

Yep! Michigan was out-toughed by MSU. They were also out-punked. Ghoulston should be suspended for his post-play head twisting &amp; face punching antics. No class, whatsoever.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 12:30 p.m.

Yeah this is pretty stupid. &quot; I think I gave him a concussion one time...&quot; - are you serious? Then stop doing this ridiculous move right NOW. News flash David, if you gave him a concussion, then you gave yourself one too. But I guess he only gets, what, 30 of them a game, so whats one more on the sidelines just for fun. I think the biggest safety improvement to football would be to go away from the 3-pt stance / down linemen. Everyone on your feet, less repeated head slamming on the line. Look at Mike Martin's helmet for an example of how many cranial smashings he's already taken this year. The long term health problems due to head injury is football's biggest hidden shame, that we are only starting to shed more light upon. Repeated concussions at a young age = a lifetime of pain and suffering. Alzheimers, depression (even suicide) and a variety of other emotional issues as a result. For life. Sorry to be a buzzkill but &quot;news&quot; articles celebrating head-butting only emphasize how far we still have to go here.

Ron Granger

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 2:32 p.m.

Yeah, make it flag football. No contact. That'd be great. Actually, there's always a chance of contact so why not just play the games on our phones. Wouldn't that be great?

Ricardo Queso

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 11:56 a.m.

Head butting. Dangerous play, dirty play to his own players.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 11:07 a.m.

No surprise here. It takes a couple years to clean out all RichRod's crap.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 5:20 p.m.

RR's crap? Well, first RR had to a good deal of cleaning up when Lloyd left, no recruiting and his efforts to hurt his own team, i.e. telling Mallet and Boren to leave, and never telling his players to support RR. Besides that, it is nice to see how opinions have changed in one week. Last week all we heard was Hoke is doing what RR couldn't do with his own players, win. Now, Hoke is lost only because he is still cleaning up RR's mess? What a joke. Keep RR, bring in Mattison, we smoke MSU, guaranteed. At worst, RR makes sure we run on 4th and inches (a play that worked well SDSU lol), and doesn't do a QB share that makes no sense at all.

Lorain Steelmen

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 1:32 p.m.

Actually it takes time to clean out the crap from Lloyd Carr.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 12:09 p.m.

sorry not richrod's crap this time. they just got beat by a better team on a certain day. it will help them down the line. did not think they would go unbeaten?

Howard the Duck

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 10:46 a.m.

You have gotta admire the fact that these guys don't whine...unlike some of the fans.