Mike Munchak Texbook Includes Lesson On Extracurricular ‘Tricks Of The Trade’

The Pittsburgh Steelers were quite fortunate to stumble into landing Hall of Fame offensive guard and accomplished offensive line coach Mike Munchak this offseason to serve on the coaching staff in that capacity.

A year prior, they lost Sean Kugler to a head coaching opportunity at his alma mater, and were forced to settle for what proved to be a speed bump with Jack Bicknell Jr. While it’s hard to get into any specifics about his tenure with the team, I think the fact that he was fired after one season says enough on its own.

The Steelers knew that getting a coach with Munchak’s credentials could potentially do wonders for their own young and inexperienced offensive line that could use some guidance and fine-tuning from a knowledgeable coach.

Munchak was renowned for being a technician, of course, and he’s reportedly done wonders for some of the linemen in that regard, with Marcus Gilbert in particular from the sounds of it. But there’s more that an old school Hall of Fame guard could bring to the table that you might not find in a book of fundamental offensive line blocking.

Pretty much any player in the Hall of Fame knows you can’t always get the job done in the NFL by being a Boy Scout on every snap. Sometimes you have to bend the rules and get a little rough to get by or to set the right tone. Those with the golden jackets tend to know how better to get away with these covert ploys, or as they were obliquely referred to during Steelers Live yesterday, the “tricks of the trade”.

One host in particular had a keen insight into these so-called tricks, and that would be former Steelers offensive lineman Tunch Ilkin, who shared his thoughts on how Munchak is working with the young offensive linemen on establishing that physical tone with a bit of discreet hooliganism.

Sometimes a guy throws a rib, you put the hand underneath the throat, you give him a little bit of a facial. Maybe he gets the rip and now the kidneys are exposed, so you give him a little hook to the kidneys and you put a guy on his back. Maybe you come in there and you get your hands inside, you grab the handles and you push one side, pull the other, you twist him and you put him on his back. Then when you get a guy on the ground you give him the business. You put the elbow on him, the knee on him, you kind of gore him, all those things.

When you’ve got an offensive line coach that loves that stuff and he’s going ‘look at this’, putting the video back and forth, that’s what I like to see. When you get a chance to gore somebody, you do it. Or if you get a chance to peel somebody off, like guys that are standing around the pile and you want to get downfield, we call it peeling them off the pile, so the defensive guys better have their head on a swivel because torpedos are coming.

The thing about Munch, you’ll hear him say ‘finish it, finish it, finish it’. What he’s saying is if you’ve got a guy that’s off balance, then you need to put him on his back, and that’s what makes offensive line coaches crazy. And I know that Munch will teach these guys every trick that he used when he was with the Houston Oilers.

We do know that at least one Steelers offensive lineman knows how to give the business at the bottom of a pile; perhaps Cody Wallace can be a teacher’s assistant for Munchak during those out-of-textbook lessons.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    That’s what I’m talking about! The moment I heard about Munchak’s signing, I was ecstatic, knowing this would be the best acquisition in years. Wait until you see what happens within a year or two.

    Mighty Mike Munchak!

  • Ken

    I don’t know how long will be able to keep Munchak, at the end of every year he is going to get contacted for all kinds of coaching positions. But I’m sure glad he is here now, perfect timing.

  • dgh57

    I think Munchak is known for wanting his OL to have a bit of nastiness to them and my be one reason why Wallace was resigned soon after the Munchack hire. That same demeanor may be what takes our OL to the next level and in turn a improved offense!

  • Big White

    Now we’re getting somewhere.

  • JohnB

    Hope Adams doesn’t just read the cliff notes…

  • cencalsteeler

    I’m not so sure. He has been loyal with his Titans/Oilers for a long time. I think he likes the stability thing and might realize being a head coach isn’t for him. Plus, he’s back in his own backyard. I’m optimistic that he’s here to stay.

  • cencalsteeler

    His coaching style fits the Steelers persona. Something we lacked in recent years. I’m ready to get back to days of being a team that is feared throughout the league

  • charles

    Don’t forget that Goodell fined our defense out of the intimidation factor. That completely took Clark’s game away, Troy going around arm tackling was hard to watch, and of course Harrison’s hit on Colt McKoy buried the idea that Goodell was impartial.

  • Matt Manzo

    Any chance he moves up to OC later? I don’t know much about him in that regard? But if he sees a chance to man the Oline for a few years and then slip into the OC job, maybe he does stay with us for awhile?

  • cencalsteeler

    Actually Matt, I’m totally content with where we are. I’ve always felt Haley needed some time to develop his offense and get Ben on the same page. He’s doing that now. Looking back, Haley wasn’t handed a stellar roster to work with when he came on board. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Now he has the group to succeed. Never was a fan of the Haley bashers who were calling for his head if there was not instant success. Patience is a virtue. As for Munchak, he’s right where we want him, where his specialty lies. If he proves his worth, hopefully the Rooney’s will pay him accordingly, and he has no reason to move on.

  • cencalsteeler

    True, but we can’t let one man, Roger Goodell, ruin what’s made this franchise what it is. Play the game the way it’s supposed to be played and let the higher ups deal with the bs. This is football, not a game of Parcheesi.

  • charles

    That is what Harrison said before Goodell suspended him for 1 game…

  • WilliamSekinger

    No doubt. The FO is probably paying Butler a head coach’s salary to keep him in Pitt, be the LB coach and wait for Lebeau to retire.

  • frednash

    I remember when he played

    I always thought that he held

    I liked our smash mouth style better

    I am not a fan

  • You know I hadn’t thought about this aspect of hiring Munchak. I guess being a hall of famer, he would have some tricks up his sleeve that might not necessarily be legal, but not illegal either. As long as he brings out the nasty in these guys, I will be happy.

  • Matt Manzo

    I love what Haley can do for us too. I was talking more like 5-7 years down the road.