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April 10, 1968 - Image 12

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1968-04-10

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Page Twelve

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Wednesday, April 10, 1968

Page Twelve THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Springis
If nothing else, spring football practice
has shown that the Wolverine's old nemisis,
lack of depth, has made its appearance on
the squad.
This problem plagued the gridders last
season, and is an important factor again
this year. ;
Both the offensive and defensive back-
fields are experienced and fairly solid. The
lines and defensive linebacking, though, are
a different situation.
The most critical area is the offensive
line. The Wolverines have had to come up
with one entire side from new players. Of
the four positions opened, two will probably
be filled by redshirts. One, Stan Broadnax,
used to play tackle but will be moved in to
guard to plug one of the holes. The other,
Dave Denzin will hold up the center of the
line, while Werner Hall is expected to fill
in the open tackle hole.
The problem comes if any of starters are
injured. Last year a couple of starters were
hurt and the Wolverines were hard-pressed
to replace them. If anyone is hurt this year,
the problem will be even more acute.
While the tight end position is well sup-
ported by veteran Jim Mandich, the split
end is not as certain. Spohomore Bill Harris
was given the inside edge, but George Hoey,.

a

Time of Testing

a safety last year, has been working out as
a receiver.
The Wolverine backfield, all of which re-
turns, looks as strong as ever. Dennis Brown
runs farther laterally than forward, but he
is still quite a groundgainer. Halfback Ron
Johnson, last year's leading Big Ten rusher,
is as much a threat as last year, and Garvie
Craw is an excellent blocker. Flankerback
John Gabler was an excellent receiver last
year, and the Brown-to-Gabler passing com-
bination looks even more effective than be-
fore.
Offensive coach, Tony Mason has op-
timistic hopes for the team. "The offense
is moving excellently against the defense,"
he said, "They are pushing through hard
enough so that we are fairly certain of
their strength, but they are being stopped
by the defense enough so that we don't
have to be concerned about them either."
The defensive line and linebackers ,are
sturdy as long as they too aren't hit by in-
juries. Tom Stincic has spent the whole
spring practice on the bench with injured
ribs, and replacements have been recruited
from newcomers. A freshman is almost cer-
tain to be one of the linebackers, and sopho-
more Cecil Pryor, who had intermittant
action last season, has been working out as
another.

The front wall of the defense is not as
stable as could be hoped. Gerry Miklos will
hold the middle guard position. Tom Goss
returns to one of the tackle spots with the
other up for grabs. The end positions are
very strong with veterans at each.
Upfortunately depth is sporadic. The end
holes are solidly backed up, but Miklos at
middle guard may be hard to replace. The
linebacking replacements are there, but their
strength is still an unknown quantity.
The only thing new about the defensive
backfield this year is the coach, Hank Fonde,
who moved from offensive to defensive back-
field coach. The four backs are all strong,
and the only change would come if Hoey
transfers to the offense. Cornerback-Tom
Curtis set a conference record last year for
number of interceptions, and his partner,
Brian Healy, was also very effective. Hoey's
mate at safety, Jerry Hartman, is even more
sold than last season.
Coach Bump Elliott is still concerned
about the upcoming freshmen. "If we're to
be a strong team next year," he notes, "We've
got 'to have solid performances from our
freshmen and must be relatively injury-
free. If either of the two turns against us,
recovering will be hard."
-ANDY BARBAS

q

*a

Photographed
by
Thomas R. Copi

419

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