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September 16, 1978 - Image 14

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1978-09-16
Note:
This is a tabloid page

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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The Michigan Daily-Saturday, Sepi

Page 2-Saturday, September 16, 1978-The Michigan Daily

The

basis

for

success:

Blue relying on

But questionable
defense exists

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vet

backfield

THE

APP LE

By PAUL CAMPBELL
The counselor you had at orientation
probably told you how important it was
to get those academic requirements out
of the way early. Spend your first four
months at Michigan buried in the
questionable joys of freshman comp,
foreign language, and inorganic
chemistry.
But after you've slept through your
first class, after you've spent endless
distracted hours trying to memorize
verb forms, or after you've tried in vain
to find a real seat in your Chem lecture,
you may realize there are more impor-
tant things to be learned.
The intricacies of the triple option,
for instance. Or the part the
wingback plays in a fullback dive. Or
Rick Leach's career stats. When you
and 99,999 other curious fans show up in
the big blue bowl on Saturday, Sept. 16
for the gme between Michigan and
Illinois, an education in the basics of
Wolverine football will be considerably
more useful than the latest buzz on the
Bard.

Let's start with the triple option. It's
an offensive system, one that puts a
premium on running. The quarterback
moves laterally from center, and can
choose to hand the ball to his fullback,
pitch it to his trailing tailback, or run
forward himself.
Quarterback Rick Leach, who has
played 36 straight games for Michigan
since he came here from Flint three
years ago, knows the triple option bet-
ter than any college player in the coun-
try. He runs it with precision, guts, and
intelligence. His coach thinks that's
enough to make him a leading candi-
date for the Heisman trophy, the high-
est award available to a college football
player.
"In my mind, he's the best quarter-
back in the country," is how head coach
Bo Schembechler puts it. "He works
hard all the time, he's a good all-around
athlete, and he loves football."
He must love football to resist the
persuasive powers of the baseball
scouts, who almost drool visibly when
(Continued on Page 9)

By CUB SCHWARTZ
There is a popular misconception
about Michigan football, which until
recently was confined to frustrated U of
M students and faculty, only to grow in
recent years to include alumni, friends
and Big Ten critics.
As the story goes, Michigan grid
teams are only capable of running the
ball, running the ball and running the
ball again. Defensively they can only
stop the run, and no more. The
misguided therefore deduce that when
the Maize and Blue encounter a team
which decides to pass, they cannot
compete.
The latest piece of evidence these
folks push concerns the 1978 Rose Bowl.
'If a West Coast team won, they must
have passed us to death,' goes the
familiar lament. While Washington did
put together an effective aerial effort, it
was Michigan's inability to stop the
RUN which produced the Rose Bowl
blues.
Four times the Huskies of
Washington were faced with third and
four situations, and four times the west

novtn

coast kids elected to run the ball. Each
time they picked up the first down en
route to a 27-20 upset. In fact the mid-
west, 'four-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust
Wolverines' attempted more passes,
completed more passes and gained
more yardagethrough the air than did
Washington.
But the Rose Bowl disaster is ancient
history and with a clean slate facing
them, the Michigan coaches are now
concerned with fielding a defense which
will certainly prove instrumental in the
current run for the roses.
But don't look for any surprises. The
maize and blue will again concentrate
their efforts against the run.
Last year the defense allowed an
average of only 2.6 yards per rush. And
of the three starting linemen from that
squad, only middle guard Steve Graves
is lost to graduation.
His counterparts at the tackles, Dale
Kietz and Curtis Greer are both retur-
ning for their senior year. Greer was
third on the team in tackles last season
with 88 and Kietz was solid at the other
tackle.
The vacant middle guard position will
probably be filled by sophomore Mike
Trgovac who got the early nod for his
strong spring football performance.
"We expect to be much stronger up
the middle," said Defensive Coor-
dinator Bill McCartney. "We have good
depth and experience at both the
tackles and the inside linebackers."
The linebackers he referred to, Ron
Simpkins and Jerry Meter, are indeed
the cornerstones of the defensive unit.
This duo was one and two respectively
in tackles, accounting for over 250 bet-
ween them. While Rick Leach was
rolling and Russel Davis was running,
it was Ron Simpkins who was breaking
virtually every individual defensive
record in the school's books. The man
was named ABC's Defensive Player of
the Game for his performance against
Texas A&M - an award to be proud of.
He was credited with 113 solo tackles,
almost twice as many as the next man
on the list - an accomplishment to be
heralded. But the truly amazing thing
about Simpkins is that he did all this as
a sophomore.
What's more, he istthe first
sophomore to break Into the starting

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I

1'I

(Continued on Page 9)

Many years ago Huron Valley National Bank began supplying the U-M marching band with
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The U-M band can count on us year after year. You can too.
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