Oct. 17, 2012
LOGAN, Utah -
by Megan Allen, USU Athletic Media Relations
By the time a football player, especially one who has been a starter for a season and a half, reaches his senior season he expects to see plenty of reps, lead the team and play a highly visible role.
Unfortunately, sometimes things beyond a player's control happen that may prevent that ideal situation from becoming a reality.
For Utah State senior offensive lineman Oscar Molina-Sanchez, that fallback is a mid-foot sprain.
In the Aggies' Aug. 30 game against Southern Utah, Molina-Sanchez experienced the injury that could potentially end his senior season.
"I'm not really sure of anything yet," Molina-Sanchez said. "I'll talk to the doctors again and will get real answers soon."
At this point, Molina-Sanchez and his coaches are working to get him another year of eligibility so he can return to Utah State next season. He redshirted his first year in 2008 and has spent the last three years as a vital part of the Aggie offensive line.
"He's a veteran guy who comes to work every day. He works his tail off and does anything and everything you ask him to," said offensive line coach T.J. Woods. "You ask him to play left tackle, he says sure, right tackle `no problem,' and back to left again. It doesn't matter to him."
Molina-Sanchez was part of the last group to be recruited by former head coach Brent Guy and his staff.
"I've been here a long time, but it's been a good experience so far. I was recruited by the former coaching staff and coach (Brent) Guy. Then Coach (Gary) Andersen took over which was a phenomenal thing for us," Molina-Sanchez said.
A native of Baldwin Park, Calif., he came straight to Logan from a successful high school career. He was a three-year starter at Baldwin Park High School where he recorded 175 career tackles and 11 sacks. He also saw action at the tight end position, where he finished with seven career touchdowns.
Under Andersen's tenure the team has lived by two simple concepts, hard work and dedication. Molina-Sanchez said those are lessons that will apply every day for the rest of his life.
"Hard work and dedication. That's all it takes," Molina-Sanchez said. "That's all it takes to do anything."
As a member of the offensive line, Molina-Sanchez said it is not a highly recognized position, but it has to be one of the most dedicated.
"You're not highly publicized as an offensive lineman, but you're definitely the hardest working group," Molina-Sanchez said. "The mentality you have to have to play O-Line is just different. You have to have the mentality and the want-to."
That hard work and dedication has paid off for Molina-Sanchez. As a junior last season, he started all 13 games and was graded out at 79 percent in overall performance at the end of the year, including seven games at over 80 percent. In those 13 games, he executed his blocks with perfect technique 66 percent of the time, including at least 70 percent in four games. He also carried out the right assignment 96 percent of the time, as he was over 90 percent in all 13 games. At the tackle position, he recorded 58.5 knockdowns on the season, with his season-high of 10.5 coming in the season-opener at then defending national champion, Auburn.
During the 2011 season, Utah State's offense led the WAC and ranked sixth in the nation in rushing offense (282.7 ypg), as well as second in the conference and 20th in the country in total offense (457.3 ypg), along with first in the league and 23rd in the nation in scoring offense (33.6 ppg). The offensive line led USU to ranking second in the WAC and 33rd in Football Bowl Subdivision in sacks allowed, a significant improvement from 2010 when they were ranked 71st in the country.
In 2011, the Aggies' offensive line cleared the way for a Utah State offense that established new school records for total offense (5,945 yards), rushing yards (3,675), total points (437) and total touchdowns (60).
Prior to the 2011-12 campaign, Molina-Sanchez had played and started in seven games as a sophomore. Living up to Woods' statement, he started three at left tackle and four at right tackle.
With his experience and dedication, his coaches revere him as a player who is durable and dependable. When he's healthy, he is considered to be the team's most athletic returning offensive lineman. He is quick, agile and mobile.
"I'm one of those guys you can count on," Molina-Sanchez said. "As an offensive lineman, you have to know that people are relying on you at all times. You're an important part of the team and have to be consistent."
Right now, Molina-Sanchez is using his skill on the sideline. Until he has the go-ahead to be back on the field, he is doing everything he can to help his linemen by coaching them and giving them tips. He is extremely knowledgeable of the tackle position and wants to see the line succeed.
If anything, this experience is helping Molina-Sanchez learn modesty and humility.
"You have to stay humble and enjoy life as it comes," Molina-Sanchez said. "Don't count your chickens before they hatch."
In the meantime, Molina-Sanchez is hoping to be well enough to play in the next couple of weeks. He wants to play a role in helping the team to its goal of a Western Athletic Conference title and a bowl game win.
If not, he wants to be back next year.
"I want to do what it takes to plan on coming back next year," Molina-Sanchez said. "Being an Aggie is all I know. It's a way of life."
Molina-Sanchez will graduate with a degree in exercise science this fall, after which he wants to pursue a career in physical therapy.
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