photo courtesy: Fish Bear Sports
Talk about a rough year. Thrown into the fire as a freshman, Schilling dealt with a revolving door at right guard, position switches, and being the target of every defensive end on Michigan’s schedule. Teams either overloaded the right side or left guys like Vernon Gholston to tee off on Schilling, knowing full well the kid was trying to do too much and leaving himself vulnerable. Normally with the departure of your center and both guards, you’d think Schilling would be in for an even rougher year that last.
You’d be wrong.
As the sole returning starter on Michigan’s offensive line, Schilling no longer has to deal with the underachieving of Justin Boren, Alex Mitchell or Adam Kraus. No matter where those three positioned themselves, Schilling’s left side was exposed, and he knew it. It was almost like the poor kid was trying to stretch himself into two blockers. And it’s not like he could single out the seniors or juniors for screwing up, he was a freshman, and what the hell did he know. This year Schilling is not only the sole veteran lineman but the leader of a line that is long on potential but short on experience.
Schilling will be the guy barking at the upperclassmen who join the line, because while they were watching, he was playing last year. Schilling is the guy with the pedigree. He’s the guy that will play left tackle next year. He’s the man that everyone will look to for signs of improvement. The guy everyone will say, "wasn’t he supposed to be a five star out of high school?" he they talk about his season. And he knows it.
This season Schilling returns to the offense he ran in high school. No more pro-style pass protection or under coached zone read. No. This time it’s all natural, something he did over and over again for four years in high school. The running is nothing new to him. The responsibilities are known quantities. This year he gets to play the way he knows how. There is no one on the Michigan team that benefited more from the scheme change than Steve Schilling.
This year watch for a faster, meaner version of "The Big Schill." Watch the "can’t miss" prospect begin to live up to his billing. Watch a young man turn into a leader. Watch him, because he’s one of our 15 Michigan Football Players to Get Excited About in 2008.