Long & Schilling Pave Road

Senior offensive tackle Jake Long is the building block of the Michigan offense. On the opposite side of the line, former five-star recruit Steve Schilling has found a spot in the starting line up in just his redshirt freshman campaign. Each found time to talk with GBW this week as the team prepares for Oregon.

ANN ARBOR -- When Chad Henne, Mike Hart and Jake Long all made their decision to return to Michigan for one final go around, the press went to the Wolverines two Heisman Trophy candidates. Quietly, however, fans of the Michigan nation knew that Jake Long, the Wolverines mauler at left tackle, could be the cog that keeps the Michigan offense moving.

Now, in his second season as a captain for the Michigan football team, Long finds himself in a new position. After the Wolverines upset loss at the hands of Appalachian State, Long is faced with the challenge of picking this team up before the shocking upset turns into a downward spiral that dooms the Wolverines season before it can even start.

"It's (playing for the national title) only one of our goals," Long said earlier this week. "We still have a lot more goals that we can accomplish. Like I said, it is just one game and we stumbled. We made too many mistakes. We're going to comeback, change our mistakes and take it one game at a time and try to win the rest of them.

"It's just a bump in the road. There is still a championship out there and we can't hang our heads. We just have to come back to work and keep working hard and win a championship."

Up next for the Wolverines, as they attempt to redeem themselves after the disastrous opening weekend, is the Oregon Ducks. With an offense similar to that of Appalachian State, it's not unreasonable to think that Long, and the rest of the offense, will have to put a lot of points on the board if the Wolverines are to even their record at 1-1.

"The quarterback is a critical part of the offense (in both offenses) in terms of the running game, and you've got to be prepared for the option football. I think they probably, my guess is will run a little bet more option than Appalachian State ran," said Michigan coach Lloyd Carr. "But I think there are a lot of similarities. It's a spread offense for the most part. They are in the shotgun for the most part."

As a result, the Wolverines will look to keep the ball out of the hands of Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon. To do that, an emphasis on running the ball would not be out of the ordinary. Should that be the case, Steve Schilling, a five-star recruit out of Washington, could be just as pivotal as Long while leading the way on the right side.

"I thought Steve Schilling, for an opening game, really did some good things," Carr continued. "He's only going to get better as we go. But particularly when you ask a guy who is starting at tackle and who had very few repetitions in the spring, and then you get into a game and you move him to guard, I thought Schilling did a very good job."

Long, now a three-year starter on the offensive line, also had nothing but good things to say about the Wolverines young lineman.

"He was practicing that in camp, guard and tackle. I was really proud of how he adapted. He didn't complain. He just walked right in there and started playing. We haven't watched film yet, but I'll see how he played today. For him to move there shows he is a team player. He didn't complain. I'm really proud of what he did."

In his first start, Schilling made quite an impact for the Maize and Blue. Despite the loss, Schilling started at right tackle before moving inside with the injury to Jeremy Ciulla. "I thought I did alright. It's still surreal right now," Schilling told GBW after the game. "I thought the offense did some good things, but they just played great," he said.

Schilling and the Wolverines will get their next shot at getting on the board in the win column when the Oregon Ducks come to the Big House on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

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