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Posted on Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 10:06 a.m.

Michigan center David Molk passionate about getting things turned around amid current Big Ten skid

By Jeff Arnold

David Molk was cantankerous to begin with and getting angrier the longer the questioning went on.

The Michigan junior center makes it perfectly clear he's not a big fan of reporters. But when the frustration of a the Wolverines' current three-game Big Ten losing skid collided with a press conference appearance on Monday, Molk's demeanor took a turn for the worse.

In the back of the room, safety Jordan Kovacs couldn't ignore the passionate rant. After all, in the midst of Michigan's 41-31 loss at Penn State, it was Molk who made a halftime appearance in the locker room of the Wolverines' defense.

His message - an obscenity-laced motivational plea - came down to this: Let's go. We're not losing this game.

The Michigan defense surrendered 28 first-half points to the Nittany Lions. Penn State hadn't accounted for much offense since putting up 44 points in an opening-night victory against Youngstown State.


Michigan junior center David Molk and sophomore offensive lineman Taylor Lewan watch from the sideline at the start of the second half against Penn State during Saturday's 41-31 loss. Melanie Maxwell I

But after the Wolverines' defense struggled over the first two quarters Saturday night, Molk felt something needed to be said.

"That's something that was contagious, and once one guy really gets it going, the rest of the guys start to feel it as well," Kovacs said Monday. "But you could see it on his face - Denard (Robinson) came in as well and they were both ready to go. You could just read it on their face.

"They were ready to go, and they wanted us to feel the same way. I think it really sunk in."

On Monday, Molk again put his passionate side on display. Peppered with questions about Michigan's state of affairs heading into Saturday's home test with Illinois (noon, ESPN), the Wolverines' most experienced offensive lineman pulled no punches.

He talked of Michigan's need for an attitude adjustment. He agreed with senior defensive tackle Greg Banks, who earlier said the time for talking is over.

"We need to realize what we need to do every time we come out to play," Molk said. "It can't just be some half-assed work ethic. It needs to be full out every play, every down, every game."

Molk, who missed the entire Big Ten slate last season with knee and foot injuries, talked of his disdain for losing. Molk suggested the Wolverines didn't deserve the results of the past three weeks given how hard they have worked.

Then, almost defiantly, he made a stern promise: Things are going to change.

He refused to pin Michigan's struggles on the defense. Molk - like Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez did Monday - acknowledged losing is a pill swallowed by everyone.

"We're a team for a reason," Molk said. "We're not an offense and a defense. We're a team, and when you point fingers at one side, it just kills you."

Molk side-stepped a question about Rodriguez's job security, saying the third-year coach was "his own man" who didn't need one of his players to "mediate him and make sure he's calm." Molk said he completely ignores media reports, insisting that if changes are going to be made, it's going to come from the inside. At one point, he claimed he had answered the same question some 300,000 times.

But, as one of the leaders of Michigan's offensive line, Molk is determined to get things turned around.

"This is my coach, this is my team, and I will do anything for this team," Molk said.

"It's just a matter of it clicking. You don't just wake up one morning and say, 'Oh, I know how to play football now.' It's something that is an acquired talent, and we're going to get it right. We're moving toward the place we need to be - we're just not there yet."

Jeff Arnold covers sports for and can be reached at (734) 623-2554 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @jeffreyparnold.


Sean T.

Wed, Nov 3, 2010 : 2:13 p.m.

Dusty, Chip Kelly may have consulted RR a few years back but Oregon's zone-read option was already in place......By Bellotti. They used this offense since before Dennis Dixon. When they had Joey Harrington they used it sparingly because it didn't fit his abilities but they did it during goaline situations. Like I said the "zone-read option" has been around since the 40's.

Sean T.

Wed, Nov 3, 2010 : 1:51 p.m.

PU MSU, I totally agree with your last post. It's too bad that it is our third year and no one has done this yet. Go Blue


Wed, Nov 3, 2010 : 7:59 a.m.

While there is a few fools on here doubting the offense and calling it a joke, I think that the majority of people feel that the offense is fine. I love the offense. The defense is bad. Very, very, very bad. This ultimately goes to RR. I would support keeping RR or getting rid of him at this point. If I were the AD I would pull RR into my office, sit him down, and tell him this. "You will hire a proven D coordinator. You will give total control of that D to the coordinator. This means they will run the base defense that they choose. And if you cannot agree to this I will find someone who will."


Wed, Nov 3, 2010 : 6:02 a.m.

^ The problem isn't offensive production. Your offense does not have to score a billion points if your defense can make crucial stops. Our offense cannot make any stops at all, so we need a dazzling show-stopping offense that can score every time they touch the ball. Now, I'd like to say about the offense that Denard should not be the QB. He can run but he throws 3+ interceptions a game. Whether this is poor coaching, lack of talent, or something else; they should run a true dual QB system (Tate + Denard on the field at once).. then you can use Denard's speed and Tate's arm.. alas, the logic here is lost on the arrogant mind of RR. I'm worried other schools will start to pick off our best talent. No one wants to play for a losing team, especially these talented recruits.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 9:10 p.m.

Can't believe anyone would state RR should go and apparently are not Michigan fans. Michigan has never had an offense as productive as this one. DRob is about to set a record for running by a QB and no Michigan offense has scored like this in years, if ever. Its not all DR, he is getting good blocking and the receivers are doing well. On the other hand the defense is a catastrophe. Glen Robinson needs the boot and RR needs to scour the country for a good defensive coordinator. By the way, I could not find a listing of game stats in the Sunday printed edition. Did I miss it or was it not in there? What kind of an operation are they running here. Remember, defense wins ballgames.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 8:11 p.m.

We'll see in a couple of months, but my money would be on Alabama.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 7:17 p.m.

No offense, GoBlueinNE_PA, but this year's Oregon team isn't last year's Oregon team. They scored 53 points Saturday against USC, and it was BELOW THEIR AVERAGE. This Oregon team is going to ride easily into the BCS title game and there's no way an intelligent person would bet against them no matter who they play. My god, they outscored Stanford (who has a coach you fools seem to want, for what reason I can't imagine) 49-3 in the final 3 quarters of their game. Oh, and as a side note: Chip Kelly consulted Rich Rodriquez himself a few years back when he was designing his offense. When all the pieces are in place and humming just right, the Michigan offense will look almost exactly like the Oregon offense, and it will be run by a guy who pretty much invented the thing in the first place. If you're still doubting the offense, you're just being stubborn.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 4:32 p.m.

No one likes change PU, no one. Least of all a bunch of kids who are living on their own for the first times in their lives and have been convinced by someone to move 100's if not 1000's of miles from their families. However, it happens all the time. They'll get over it. Or not. Either way, life moves on. The big football machine keeps turning and the only question for them is whether they are going to contribute to it's success. As for the comparison of Oregon and Alabama. Give me a break. OSU stomped a mudhole in Oregon's rear in last year's Rose Bowl and Alabama would have taken apart OSU. Oregon is a good team, don't get me wrong, but they're not Alabama.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 3:08 p.m.

I totally agree with LCG15... what RR has done is criminal! I can see it taking some time if he had to rebuild a down program... but really, how down was UM?? They had just beaten FLORIDA in a bowl game... yes they lost to AppState... but, they did rebound and have a good year (except for the hates Buckeyes). RR's lack of adapting and total ignoring the defense shows a lack of "head coaching" ability - maybe he should just be an OC. Just think, if we had a defense that was only 60th in the country how good we would be. And his continued blaming it on the youth of the defense is only incriminating himself and his staff for not recruiting defense!!


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 3:07 p.m.

All It seems that the players as asking fans not to blame the coaching staff. Can we infer they trust in the coaching staff, or are they keeping the peace? Discuss. They players that I personally know fear a coaching change.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 2:37 p.m.

I am still confused as to how a team can have so many freshman and sophomores on defense, when the current coach has recruited for three years, and follows a Michigan legend in Lloyd Carr...makes very little sense..


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 2:31 p.m.

OMG! I cannot believer this true blue fandom of the true blue Meeechigan nation...c'mmon man! What this guy did to the storied Michigan tradition and the greatest program in the land is criminal. RR is a medicine man and can take his circus back to WV! Oregon, Oregon were they not beat by a Big 10 team in a bowl game, yeah a Big 10 team doncha know! Get outta town RR and take that defensive incompetent with you...this guy is not Michigan material nor does he have a clue about what Bo, Mo and Carr established. His lights are not on and the longer he stays the worse it will get. I suggest you listen to the Ghost of Edward R. Morrow's Ghost, it makes sense. Get him out of Ann Arbor and the Big Ten and the Michigan Program. Nuff Sed!


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 2:22 p.m.

I thought Molk was coming out and contributing to the "It Gets Better" project. Now I'm EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 2:20 p.m.

While I agree that one should support the team though wins and losses, but the current situation amounts to buying X brand outomobile three times, and each time you get a lemon. Would you still support that brand after three attempts with the same results and no improvement? This is basically where Michigan football is right now. If one could notice some degree of improvement, the attitude would be different. The "they are young" only applies for so long. Don't other teams have to recruit young players just as Michigan? There is a coaching problem with this defense (or more precisely, lack of coaching).


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 1:50 p.m.

Yikes. With all the controversy about our program right now, one had better regard all of our current commits for '11 as "very soft verbal."


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 1:31 p.m.

I like Molk.

Sean T.

Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 1:11 p.m.

Rocco, If chip Kelly was coaching Michigan this year we would be in the hunt for the Rose Bowl. If RR were coaching Oregon this year they would win 6/7 games tops because of the coaching attributes are different. We will never look like Oregon with RR at the helm because he lacks what good coaches have. Adapt to any talent he has. Make changes during the game. Take responsibility. Diversify his offense. Adapt to the conference he plays in. Put together a defense. Allow a defensive coordinator to use what he knows. RR just doesn't have any of these and that's why we are in danger of going 1-7 in the Big Ten another season.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 12:46 p.m.

@MichMich We need more fans like you. As far as Molk goes, I'm glad to see a fiery attitude for a change among the players. It's time ALL of them get as mad as Molk and start playing like it. One of Michigan's huge problems in our 3 losses is getting too far behind by halftime. It's one thing to give up all those points. But, our offense needs to be much more efficient in the 1st half so that the game is much closer at halftime. At least we'd have a chance then. But, when this team gets too far behind, we're forced out of our preferred offense. Plus, it's just frickin demoralizing to be behind by that much - for players, fans, and everyone. I think Rodriguez will eventually (if he has enough time here) create an offense as good as Oregons. But, he clearly has trouble picking defensive coaches to delegate the D to. He must have gotten lucky with they guy he had at WVU. Robinson is clearly not the man for the job, nor was Schafer. He'd better pick a home run for #3 or he will be done here for sure. Oregon's defense isn't great, but they're a lot better than ours.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 12:43 p.m.

Rich Rod already HAS a team where the offense rules. Unfortunately, he forgot football requires a defensive squad as well.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 12:34 p.m.

I was just thinking of Oregon with a lot of no name players that recently defeated handily a USC team with 12 five star recruits and 20 plus four start recruits. I was thinking of their style of football which is much like our own dazzling offense that challenges the other team to outscore them. This, for better or worse, is Rich Rods approach to football. Saban at Alabama does the complete opposite. Hes the anti-spread offense with big physical players that run over and through you. The difference between his teams and Bos and Carrs is that the players on both sides of the ball are bigger and quicker. Having said this, Im not sure who would win a game between Oregon and Alabama but my guess is Oregon. Brandon, of course, knows this and is taking a wait and see approach with the Michigan team. Can Rich Rod produce an Oregon type team in the next few years where offense rules the day and the defense makes a few big plays to get the offense back on the field? Rich Rods defense will never be like Bos,Carrs or Saban's. But it could be sufficient to let the offense do its thing. And that my fellow Michigan fans would produce a highly entertaining and successful football program at Michigan.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 12:15 p.m.

Since Michigan stadium has sold out 234 consecutive times....I don't think there's any danger that the fans won't support their team. The question for Mr. Brandon is: how many more consecutive sell outs would you like to continue to enjoy?


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 12:12 p.m.

It is ok to complain, but we must continue to support our team. We have three very very tough games yet to play: Illinios -- a surprisingly good team in 2010. Wisconsin -- the Badgers already beat OSU and Iowa. OSU -- the best overall team in the Big Ten (not sure that they can beat Iowa on the road). We need to show up and positively support our team. This is what true fans do.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 11:37 a.m.

Do teams always sit in separate rooms during half time? This seems strange to me. I only played through high school in a rural area, and sometimes we didn't even have a locker room...just went back to the buses. Anyway, shouldn't the team be together during the break? I guess they need to make adjustments, but shouldn't they do that as a team? This article makes it sould like the players are in different rooms. I hate to say it, but our D isn't going to improve, and I don't see us winning any game but Purdue the rest of the way, and that's not a given. I agree with MichMich...I will be watching, supporting, and I will also be in the shoe, but that does not change my reality in terms of expectations.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 11:33 a.m.

Now wait a minute @truebluefan Some of these people are paying $1700 for a pair between the 20 yard lines. $750 for end zone. I'd say that gives a fan the right to intelligent dissent. You say, "great fans don't abandon their team (includes coaches) and support them through good times and bad." That's ludicrous. I support my FAMILY and WIFE through good time and bad times. As for employees, football teams, the guy that fixes my furnace, etc., I support them if they perform. Just like people support me if *I* perform. This concept that we should support the team and coaches NO MATTER WHAT, makes no sense. That's the same lame argument that was tossed around during the start of the Iraq war. If you criticize the war you're criticizing the country and the troops and you're a bad American. Bogus. It is our duty as fans to protect what has taken 40 years (no 100 years) to build up. We should do it by being constructive - not destructive. But when people come face-to-face with a plan that simply isn't producing results, they aren't being disloyal by voicing their opposition to it.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 11:18 a.m.

It is possible to support your team but be unhappy about something. As a Lions fan, I buy the tickets and watch the games. While Millen was there I was very unhappy with his decisions, but I continued to support the Lions. Support and unhappiness do not go hand and hand. Im sitting on the fence as to whether or not to bring RR back for another year. I love the offense. The defense is young. There are some solid recruits coming in and others interested in coming to Michigan. That performance in Happy Valley was very detrimental to my support of RR. I wanted to so some kind of improvment I could hang my hat on on the defensive side of the ball. I got nothing. Go Blue.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 11:12 a.m.

MichMich -- great fans don't abandon their team (includes coaches) and support them through good times and bad. You are a great fan.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 11:02 a.m.

Unfortunately......Molk is on offense.


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 10:09 a.m.

Losers always talk about refs, game clocks, wind, sleet, the Hand of God, etc. More interesting is what the article shows....I am not sure. I watched the game again two nights ago and also watched the Big Ten review last night. The Big Ten shows are always so polite about the product they get paid to offer, they even find nice things to say about Penn State's Offensive Line, so you know they are considerate of all orphans and urchins....however, reading between the lines it did seem that the Michigan defense was consistently over-pursued and was out of position on several occasions. That points towards coaching as the major issue....


Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 9:43 a.m.

I will say this: I noticed a different Michigan after halftime. Little noticed but we actually outscored the nittany lions in the second half. A totally and complete nonsense call for "late hit - personal foul" on our special teams unit sealed the game. Anyone who watched the game knows EXACTLY which call I'm talking about and will agree that it was ridiculous, ESPECIALLY given the fact that Denard was hit out of bounds earlier on and we got no call whatsoever. I will be in Columbus on Nov 27th and I will be wearing maize and blue - defiant as ever - I will never abandon this team. Not until the last snap on that cold gray day in that awful horseshoe stadium. I don't care how much harassment I get from ohio state fans or how much beer they try to pour over my head - I will stand by our team and our coach and support them 100%. GO BLUE