Head-butting David Molk makes tough admission: Michigan State was tougher than Michigan
Angela J. Cesere | AnnArbor.com
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."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.
"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.