Steve Schilling, David Molk stand out on Michigan's offensive line
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper ranks Michigan’s Steve Schilling as the No. 4 senior offensive guard in college football. Center David Molk is widely considered the Wolverines’ best lineman. And Patrick Omameh played well enough in three starts at the end of last year to solidify the starting job at right guard.
So while Michigan’s starting tackle positions might not be finalized until the fall, the Wolverines have the makings of a solid interior line.
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“I’m excited for it, especially the way Patrick finished the season last year, and I think what Molk and I were able to do at the beginning of the year,” Schilling said earlier this week. “I’m definitely excited to see when everybody’s healthy and everybody comes together.”
For now, Schilling and Omameh are the only healthy members of the bunch. Molk is jogging and taking snaps during individual periods, but he’s being held out of contract drills this spring as he recovers from knee surgery.
The junior missed four games last year with a broken foot, returned to play against Penn State, then tore his ACL and missed the rest of the season.
Rocko Khoury, Elliott Mealer and true freshman Christian Pace, one of seven early enrollees, are handling most of the center duties in Molk’s absence.
“We think David could be one of best centers in the Big Ten, was playing as such until he got hurt last year,” Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said. “And he’ll be back. David’s a tremendous football player, and he’ll be the leader for our guys up front.”
At tackle, Mark Huyge and Perry Dorrestein are working first string after sharing the right-tackle job last year - left tackle Mark Ortmann graduated - but redshirt freshmen Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield are considered the future at the position.
Schofield and Lewan, Michigan’s fastest offensive lineman, added about 15 pounds since last year, and both could push for playing time with a strong spring.
“Certainly we think the potential for those two playing this year is going to be there,” Rodriguez said. “Now whether Perry and Mark and some of those other guys will let them take their position, I don’t know.
“As I told them, I hope that they all get to the point where they’re just competing to prove that we can win with them. And if there’s two or three guys at a certain position that we can win with, we’ll play both of them or all three of them, and that’s kind of our goal as opposed to just picking one guy at every position. We want to have two or three at every position we feel we can win with.”
Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.