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David Molk, the Center Position, and Run Blocking

An interesting tidbit I saw on ESPN's College Football Live today. John Saunders, Doug Flutie, and Trevor Matich went to the demonstration field in the studio to discuss primarily the Wildcat (Wild Hog, Wild Reb, etc.) formation. Though Michigan has run out of this formation very few times this year, the emphasis of their segment was on how running out of the shotgun formation is particularly taxing on the center.

Perhaps not coincidentally, Michigan's offensive line (especialy David Molk, the center), has been very good in pass protection, but has struggled when running the ball out of the shotgun. Matich's demonstration on why running the ball from the Wildcat formation is difficult may explain why Molk has struggled.

The general premise of the bit was that the center snapping into the shotgun for a pass play (or, theoretically a draw) can simply snap the ball and take steps back to protect the passer. For a run play, however, he must snap the ball, turn to block the defender in his area, and fire forward, all at the same time. In Matich's demonstration, he illustrated how the center was going to be prone to bad snaps from this formation, because he is turning his hips to the defender and firing forward before the ball leaves his hand.

David Molk hasn't had many bad snaps this year (despite playing in poor weather in the Notre Dame game), but he has had trouble blocking against the run. Is it possible that he has focused on making sure the snap gets to the quarterback, at the expense of turning and firing forward? I would assume that the shotgun snap is emphasized by the coaches in practice, and perhaps that is at least a partial explanation for Molk's issues in run-blocking.

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“David Molk, the Center Position, and Run Blocking”

  1. Anonymous Jorel Says:

    I actually thought Molk has looked pretty decent this year at run blocking. He's no All-American, but he and Moosman seem to be the strength of the line, no?

  2. Blogger Tim Says:

    No. Molk has been (by far) the weak link. He was good against Notre Dame, but the main problem with our run game has been Molk's constant presence 5 yards deep in our own backfield.

  3. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    I disagree! it seam you all have a love affair with moosemen! moose is not nearly aggressive enough. molk is picking up moosemen's short comings. he keeps missing various d linemen. remember molk is a freshman and will be one of the best in college football in time! lets be patient!

  4. Blogger Tim Says:

    Moosman is not the one 3 yards in the backfield on nearly every running play. Molk has been the one struggling.

  5. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    I could tell you know little about football. You are a arm chair quarterback. In many offencive plays each play is like a chain of links. If one breaks or does not do its job the other links have to pick up to make it work. Moosemen is leaving Molk with the work because Moose breaks the link! watch the play not just the line. Here's an idea... Lets just put players out that meet pro quality or your standards going forward as you want.. What you would have is a field with no players. This is college the players are students they are there to learn both football and an education. Molk is a freshmen and is learning fast. Mark my words in 2 more years he will be in the pro's making millions and you will still be sitting there with with a beer in your hands picking on another player of your choosing.

  6. Blogger Tim Says:

    I agree that Molk has a ton of potential, but you're a shameless Molk homer is you think he isn't a weak link in the run game right now.

    He is blown off the ball in one-on-one blocking situations with regularity (regardless of whether the zone play is going to the left or right).

    He has improved over the course of the year, but still has plenty of room for continued improvement.

  7. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    im done with the subject. its difficult having a intellectual discussion with an un armed person.