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Sun., Jul. 19, 2015 7:30 AM PDT
Bolts Pleased with Pair of Rookie Linemen
Late draft picks and undrafted free agents face the hardest path towards making an NFL roster, but the San Diego Chargers feel they have unearthed a pair of gems along the offensive line in center David Molk and left tackle Mike Harris.
Selected in the seventh-round out of the University of Michigan, the 6-foot-1, 300-pound Molk was the 2011 Rimington Award winner as the nation’s best center. The 6-foot-5, 310-pound Harris meanwhile started all 42 games of his collegiate career with UCLA at right tackle, but has successfully made the transition to the other side of the line.
Still, just because they are rookies doesn’t mean that less is expected out of them compared to the other 51 men on the team.
“We’ve got some young guys who are going to have to grow up real fast and contribute,” said head coach Norv Turner. “That includes all of our rookies. But Harris and Molk in particular are two guys that have come in and shown they have what it takes to play at this level.”
The rest of the veterans also have full faith in the two rookie linemen and agree with Turner that they have what it takes to step in from day one and help this team be successful.
“I think every position challenges a young player,” said Philip Rivers. “The offensive line in particular with the complexity of our offense and the protection schemes, it can be tough. But those two guys have picked it up fast and if we need them I have full confidence in them. They’ve improved every day.”
For guidance, Molk and Harris need to look no further than the team’s own Nick Hardwick, who has started every game at center since he himself was a rookie in 2004.
“The sky’s the limit for these guys if they trust themselves and trust the coaching,” he said. “They just have to get out there and trust themselves and trust their technique. You need to know that there are guys counting on you, and there are four others that you can count on as well. That’s what we work on. What makes us successful is working together. It’s never just one man on an island, so these guys need to know they aren’t alone. It’s all five of us together fighting for each other.”
While the twosome is prepared to step in and produce immediately, they admitted that they afforded themselves a short amount of time to celebrate and soak in the fact they made the roster.
“I’m still in a bit of disbelief,” said Harris. “I’m just happy the organization and the coaches and players all trust me and allow me to get better and become part of this team. “
Molk echoed those sentiments, saying, “It felt really good when I got the word I made it. This is what I wanted. I wanted to be here, but this is only one goal that’s been accomplished. There are a lot of steps left to get to where I want to be”
Clearly, their satisfaction does not end by simply making the cut.
“I let it sink in, but now it’s back to work. Now it’s all about putting in the time and energy to getting better and getting ready to beat Oakland (next) Monday night.”