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Posted on Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 6:54 a.m.

Steve Schilling, David Molk stand out on Michigan's offensive line

By Dave Birkett

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.


Michigan right guard Steve Schilling

Lon Horwedel |

“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 He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.


Terry Star21

Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 8:22 p.m.

Actually, UMFAN22 is right on with those figures, Tate actually grew 1'' to 6'-1" and gained 11 pounds since he enrolled 1 year ago... those figures are very accurate... if you are on the inside you would know this... they won't let you in if your drunk. UMFAN22 - Correct.......rightmind250 - out of his mind


Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 3:53 p.m.

UMfan22 Tate isn't 6 feet, vincent smith would be lucky to be around 5-4.

Terry Star21

Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 11:33 a.m.

Also that is a great photo by Lon Horwedel whom always seems to get the perfect shot, that reflects greatly on the personality of the athlete.... congrat's... I always have to take 100 shoots to get one good one. Although not a Hockey article, thank you OSUbeBetter, that was a great game... sometimes I think my heart is going to give out on me... as much as I love UM Football and enjoy the overtime games... I must admit there is nothing like an overtime hockey game, let alone a double overtime for excitement to the max... Are you trying to get back on our good side OSU, love to hear your constructive thoughts - without the UM FB bashing of players, coach, and team.... thanks! UM Football - 28....... OSUbeBetter - 27, good for you!


Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 8:21 a.m.

rightmind250- Actually Tate is 6'1" 194 pounds, and V. Smith is 5' 6" 169. So get your facts straight.


Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 6:38 a.m.

Vincent Smith, 5-6, 156. Tate 5-10, 165. These are the starters. I don't believe the guy Devin has even suited up for a game has he? Austin White? Come on dude, you can do better than that.


Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 11:33 p.m.

Congrats to michigan hockey for beating Miami (Ohio) and advancing to the Frozen four in Detroit. the double OT thriller was a win for the ages.


Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 7:06 p.m.

The jury is still out for me on this offensive line. While it should be better than the past couple of seasons, they still have to be capable of opening big enough holes for the running backs to make those criticial 3rd-and-1 and 4th-and-1 to keep a drive alive and/or score a key touchdown. I still remember the game at Illinois last year when U-M had the ball 1st-and-goal at the Illinois 1 yard line and couldn't punch it in with 4 tries even with Minor carrying the ball. Therefore, the line not only needs to be better, it needs to be "much" improved in order to help the offense be balanced enough to keep the opponent's defense guessing.


Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 2:20 p.m.

Rebuilding our offensive line talent will take time. We'll be better this year, but not as good as 2011 or 2012. The recruiting fall-off at O-line in the last few Carr years will take a while to turn around. But, we're making a lot of progress. Lewan and Schofield look like All Big 10 potential type of players. I don't believe Molk is injury prone as one person implied. The sad truth is he came back too early before he was ready and got injured worse. But, we need to develop a competent back-up for him in order to avoid the damaging line re-shuffles of last season. How the two tackle positions pan out is the key. Go Blue1


Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 2:18 p.m.

TRUEBLUE76 I agree that 2011 will be a year where we will be relevant in terms of a league title but an 8-4 season would really help the recruiting.An 8-4 season might give us a top ten recruiting class as the recruits would have real improvement to point too, not just the fact that "they will play early".That has gotten us through the last two years with good classes but I doubt it will work again. Top players want to win,not just play.

Terry Star21

Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 2 p.m.

Great article Mr. Birkettt... on a cold Sunday Morning, I am much happier... this is the kind of writing I enjoy... I want to know everything about everyone on this team.... Bravo Sir. Will we still have UM Football bashers, Birkett haters here... yes, but maybe they are the pile a poop that, if ignored will, dry up and turn to dust. For once, I am speechless to add my UM FB comment, your article completely filled me in. Terry Star21, Birkett, UM FB - 70......UM FB Bashers 0


Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 11:07 a.m.

tater, Did you actually read the article? They are talking about freshman linin g up at the tackles. That doesn't help out your 165 lb. quaterback or your 156lb. running back.


Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 9:55 a.m.

Ah boys and girls relax, have a nice breakfast, get some fresh air and put your anxiety to rest cause RR has got this thing headed in the right direction and you all can quit your fretting or complaining whichever suits you. I'm going to enjoy a beautiful Sunday out here in the southern California desert and the Wolverines are the last thing I'm going to worry or even think about and you ask why is that PortageLkblu??? Well boys and girls cause I see a Wolverine football future that is back on track with RR at the helm. It's good to hear that David Molk is on the mend but remember we don't want to play David unless he's mended that's not on the mend but mended. Now listen boys and girls, wipe your tears start thinking positive about ol blue cause that little boo boo is going to start to heal this year maybe not to the perfection that's coming but definate improvement. Oh ya, it's great to be a Wolve football fan, go blue,go RR.


Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 7:44 a.m.

azwolverine, Criticism of team play is not at issue here. As we've seen recently, Mr. Birkett extends his biases into other areas.


Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 7:14 a.m.

If Michigan wins, it really doesn't matter who the writers are a "fan" of, there won't be anything negative to say about how the team plays. If you honestly think that only Spartan fans can find flaws with the current state of Michigan's program, you are very un"reason"able. That said, it's nice to hear that Michigan's O-line may finally be getting back to what it was for the 41 years before RR arrived.


Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 6:49 a.m., While this is a reasonable article, it is still difficult for me to believe that you hired a Michigan State fan to cover Michigan football. That is all.