When the Wolverines jumped out to a stunning 4-0 start last season there was one key cog in the improved Michigan offense that helped pave the way. A stronger, deeper and more experienced offensive line, along with improved play at the quarterback position, helped the offense explode in comparison to the 2009 season.
Then starting center David Molk went down.
"I mean the guys played hard. I'm very proud of the three seniors we had last year and how hard they played. They played through some injury and some things like that and they gave their all. I was just very proud of them," said offensive line coach Greg Frey.
"You never want to lose anyone. When we practice, the guys train hard. It's one of those things where you hope no injuries ever happen. Until you get in the situation like where David Moosman did last year, when we had to move him into center, I thought David played well. He battled. He took great pride in how he played. Until you get there and you get into that situation you never really know. It's hard to forecast."
The offense continued to make strides from the 2009 version, but the running game slowed as the group failed to find the same chemistry as when Molk stood tall in the middle of the line.
Molk has fully healed from his 2009 injuries, though, and the 2010 Michigan offensive line looks to be one of the best seen in years. Perry Dorrestein returns at left tackle. Steve Schilling, back for his fifth and final year, returns at left guard. Molk mans the center again, and Patrick Omameh and Mark Huyge man the right hand side.
"I think the whole group, as a group, is working very hard. They're getting themselves into game shape. We'll see two weeks from yesterday. We've got great leadership again from the seniors. Steve, Perry, Zac Ciullo and John Ferrara are doing a great job with the young guys. It's a good group of people."
Ricky Barnum, Elliott Mealer, Rocko Khoury, Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield all add depth to the Michigan offensive line, and the additional bodies also allow the Maize and Blue to better account for injury on the offensive line, something that could have come in handy last season.
"One of the things that we've really been striving for as a group is sort of making players comfortable at multiple positions. Obviously guys are going to come in to learn a specific position to try and master that one, but we always like to work it where with travel teams and injuries, we have options."
The Wolverines open the season on Saturday, September 4th against the UConn Huskies at Michigan Stadium. Kick-off is scheduled 3:30 p.m.
Offensive Line Paving the Way
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