Schilling is a real mauler in the run-game. He was locked up with senior DT, Mike Neal (2009 2nd round pick by the Green Bay Packers) for most of the game and he stepped up to the challenge. On the first play of the game he did a great job redirecting Mike Neal completely out of the play. Tate Forcier handed the ball off to Brandon Minor who was split out to the left, and as Neal rushed up field, Schilling redirected him away from the run action. That block helped open up a huge hole for Minor, helping him gain 10 yards. Schilling is called on quite a bit to pull in Rich Rodriguez’s spread option attack and he looks comfortable in space. He does a nice job of getting to the 2nd level of the defense. When he turns the corner to try and clear the way for his RB, he’s doing so with bad intentions. He’s violent. Schilling played RT for 2 years before being transitioned to LG as a junior and there are times that you can tell that he’s still learning the position. The transition from playing on the right-side to playing on the left-side will take him some time. When he pulls to the right he looks dominant, he’s natural leading with his right shoulder. However, when a defender attacks his left shoulder he’s not nearly as comfortable. He lunges at defenders rather than engaging them, he even seems a step slower when he engages a player on his left. Late in the 1st quarter I saw a play that exemplified this weakness. Sophomore DT, Nick Mondek, exploited Schilling’s left shoulder. Mondek made a quick move to Schilling left shoulder leaving him in the dust. Schilling made an effort to block him, but he was beat. He lunged at Mondek, but he whiffed badly. He’s still learning the LG position, but the potential is certainly there.
In pass-protection he does a solid job, but at times he fails to drop his hips and anchor. Schilling would have trouble with the powerful Mike Neal when he wouldn’t drop his hips. Neal’s bull-rush gave him some trouble. It’s tough to get inspired about OLine play, but this one play in particular got me excited. Late in the 1st quarter, Michigan was dealing with a 3rd and long situation. Senior DE, Keyon Brown, began he speed rush against LT Mark Huyge and Huyge was doing a good job, but Schilling had no one to block and he wanted to hit someone. As Brown was engaging Huyge, Schilling came over and just laid him out. It was awesome to see that. You have to love watching an OLineman with that aggressive mentality. Schilling was at it again early in the 2nd quarter. Schilling was combo blocking Mike Neal with senior OC, David Moosman. Schilling and Moosman got great push on Neal, moving him 3 yards down field. At that point Schilling then peeled off of Neal and moved to the 2nd level to block senior OLB, Jason Werner. That block on Werner helped seal off a lane for Brandon Minor, and he went untouched for his longest TD of the season, 55 yards. Great game for Schilling.
- Good athlete
- Great run-blocker
- Starter since his freshman year
- Still learning OG position
- Defenders attacking his left shoulder can give him trouble
- Can do a better job anchoring in pass-protection
Growing up, Schilling was actually too big to play in youth football leagues so he had to go with basketball instead. He had a true love for the sport and he likely would not have tried his hand at football had his basketball coach not resigned. In 9th grade, high school coaches from the football team approached Schilling’s mother about letting Stephen play for the school team, and the rest was history. He picked up the game quickly and as a senior in high school he was considered the 3rd best OLineman prospect in the nation. Many believe he just might be the best offensive lineman that Washington has ever produced. Pacific coast teams like Washington, Cal and USC went after him hard, but he decided to sign on with Michigan. He hasn’t disappointed. Schilling is a highly decorated OG that has a chance to become one of the better OG prospects in the 2011 NFL Draft. Schilling has started at Michigan since his freshman year and he has been impressive. He started his career at RT, starting 22 of his first 24 games at that position. However, as a junior he was moved to LG. The transition will take some time, but he has the talent to excel at the position. He has been Michigan’s top performing offensive lineman these past 2 seasons; winning the Hugh R. Rader Jr. Award, an award handed out to Michigan’s top performing offensive lineman. Schilling has a real mean streak, his aggressiveness has to be his best attribute. He doesn’t quit on blocks. You want guys with his mentality in the trenches. His run blocking skills are also superb. He has the strength to get push in the run game and he has the athleticism to threaten the 2nd level of a defense. He is particularly dangerous as a pulling guard. Speaking of pulling, he’s actually a very impressive athlete. I’m not surprised that he played basketball when he was younger. He’s light on his feet and he moves very well laterally for someone his size. His experience on the offensive line is something that should impress NFL teams as well. He has played in 36 career games; 22 at RT, 12 at LG and 2 at RG. That kind of experience has seasoned him and by the end of this season he will end up being a 4 year starter in one of the better conferences in the country. Despite his game day experience, when it comes to the OG position he still has some things to learn. In moving from RT to LG he will need to become more comfortable blocking defenders on his left side. He seems to have a tough time dealing with defenders that attack his left shoulder. In pass protection he displays the athletic ability to mirror defenders laterally, but when defenders run at him at times he fails to lower his hips and anchor. A lot of his weaknesses hinge on his inexperience at the LG position so it should be interesting to see how he performs in his 2nd season at the position. I won’t be surprised when he is talked about as one of the better interior offensive line prospects in the nation.