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September 16, 1978 - Image 21

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1978-09-16
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The Michigan Daily-Sat

urday, Sept

'age 16-Saturday, September 16, 1978-The Michigan Daily

(Continued from Page 11)
games outright. Barber started in all 12
games in a fine rookie season.
Stoll has one other problem. An
investigation is being held at Minnesota
concerning allegations' that Stoll
provided financial aid to players in
violation of NCAA rules. It's too early to
tell whether or not the probe will affect
the team's performance.
The Gopher's season opens today
against Toledo. Other non-conference
opponents are UCLA and Oregon State.
Their first Big Ten contest is
September 23 when Ohio State comes to
Michigan will try to regain the Little
Brown Jug when Minnesota comes to
Ann Arbor on October 28.
With 14 starters returning and a bona
fide all-American candidate at
inebacker in Tom Rusk, Iowa coach
Bob Commings Sr. has to be optimistic
about spawning the Hawkeyes' first
winning season in 17 years.
However, as the fifth-year mentor
has learned in his wrestling-rich
university, optimism doesn't win
football games. Nevertheless,
Commings feels that "if we can get the
breaks and some luck, and stay away
from injuries, we'll be okay."
COMMINGS will be counting heavily
on his own son, Bob Commings Jr. to
turn the tide for the Hawkeyes. The
sophomore signal-caller completed 49
per cent of his passes and led the 4-7
Hawkeyes to their first two wins of the
season (Northwestern and rival Iowa
Lining up behind the younger
Commings will be speedster Dennis
Mosley, who missed half of last year's
campaign with an elbow injury. He
readily admits his goal of "having an
1000-yard season." Mosley will combine
with the Hawkeyes' leading ground
gainer of last year, Jon Lazar, in the
WHEN COMMINGS fades back to
pass, he will be looking at some very
capable receivers. Split end Mike
Brady hauled in 26 receptions last year

and Jim Swift may be the finest tight,
end in the conference, according to his
On defense, where football games are
won and lost, all-Big Ten selection Rusk
leads the way. The converted fullback
had 107 solo tackles last season. Rusk
will be aided on defense by all-Big Ten
second team selection John Harty, a
tackle, and all-American wrestler
Doug Benschoter.
THE HAWKEYES have a verystrong
kicking .game with record setting
punter Dave Holsclaw and placekicker
Scott Schillings.
If - the Iowans can parlay these
offensive strengths, they might just
turn the tide, but their weaknesses at
both offensive and defensive line have
to be shored up.
Northwestern's Wildcats have not
had a winning season since 1971 when
they finished second to Michigan in the
Big Ten. This year, however, rookie
head coach Rick Venturi is telling
everyone within earshot to "expect the
Venturi doesn't plan on seeing his
Wildcats invade Pasadena on New
Year's Day, but he does expect to see
an improvement on two consecutive 1-
10 seasons.
"WE ARE going to play exciting,
crowd-pleasing football, he said. "It
will be fun for our players and a treat to
watch. In the process, we're going to
make the best use of the skills of our
squad members."
Unfortunately for Venturi, his squad-
does not include some of last year's
better players. Gone is Scott Stranski,
Northwestern's top quarterback, and
number one receiver, Mark Bailey as
However, Northwestern is not
entering this year's campaign lacking
in experience. On offense, sophomore
Dave Mishler will seek to defend his
spot as his team's top running back.
Junior Todd Sheets also hopes to
perform up to last year's level when he
caught eight passes for 199 yards, and
averaged over 24 yards a catch.

Things look a little better for North-
western defensively. Last year's fine
ends Dean Payne and Kevin Berg are
being moved to linebacker spots joining
last year's leading tackler Scott
Duncan. Strong safety Pat Geegan and
cornerbacks Guy Knafelc and Steve
Bobowski give the Wildcats an
experienced secondary..
"They (the defense) has the potential
to excel," Venturi noted.
NO ONE IS quite sure what the
offense's potential could be although
Venturi has announced his intentions to
use the pass more often.
"I think from a Big Ten standpoint
there will be more of an emphasis on
passing here than most places," he
For Northwestern, a new season
awaits along with its new coach and his
new offense, new defense and even new
uniforms. And as most Wildcat fans
hope, this year's team will provide
some new results.
November 18, 1978. To many inter-
ested in Michigan football, this
weekend will be regarded as merely
"the weekend before the Ohio State
But to certain others, notably the
team and it's coaching staff, it'll be
considered the weekend of the Purdue
To those well versed in Michigan
football lore, the Boilermakers are
'remembered as the team that shocked
the No. 1 ranked Wolverines 16-14 in
1976. And the Boilers have the
firepower to be just as dangerous this
LEADING THE WAY offensively this
year for Purdue is super soph
quarterback Mark Herrmann. As a
freshman the 6-5 Herrmann led the Big
Ten in passing, racking up 1,511 yards
in the air. He also managed to top the
Big Ten in total yards despite the fact
that he rushed for a net total of minus
174 yards.
With the second leading passer in the
nation on his side, Coach Jim Young
has been concentrating on improving
other aspects of his team.
"WE WENT INTO spring practive-
with three things in mind," explained
Young. "First, we wanted to work on

cutting down costly errdrs and
"Second, we wanted to expand our
offense to include a sound running
"And third, very naturally, we
wanted to accomplish the first two
without accumulating serious injuries."
It remains to be seen if Young has
accomplished his goals. He hasto
replace his leading ground gainer, John
Skibinski,aand provide a balanced
attack that prevents the opposition
from keying on the pass.
AS WELL, HE must shore up his
defensive squad, asquadsthat gave up
40 points to Michigan and 46 points to
Ohio State last fall. Keena Turner
anchors an experienced defensive line
at the end spot, but linebacking and
secondary positions are still far from
So on November 18 the Wolverines
will face a good passing team. But
hopefully, they will leave town as the
Boilermakers, not the Spoilermakers.
1-Ohio State
The Ohio State football team finished
its 1977 season with a 9-3 overall record,
a sixth consecutive share of the
conference title and a trip to the Sugar
Bowl. Achievements such as these
would give most schools a sense of
pride and satisfaction. Not so in
Columbus, however, where Buckeye
rooters have come to expect near-
flawless performances from their
COACH WOODY Hayes' men
squared off against three national
powers last year - Oklahoma,
Alabama and Michigan - and were
losers each time. The trio of defeats
must have shaken up the 65-year-old
Hayes, because this fall Woody
promises greater diversity on offense,
including - brace yourself - a
considerable amount of passing.
Cause for Hayes' revised strategy is
freshman quarterback Art Schlichter,
whom some observers sayhas the
finest throwing arm in Ohio State
history.. Incumbent signal-caller Rod
Gerald, perhaps realizing that his only
chance to make the prose is at a
receiving slot, approached Hayes last
spring and offered to switch to flanker,
an idea which the Buckeye coaching
staff has toyed with during
IF THE FLASHY Gerald makes a
successful transition to flanker and
Schlichter proves to be as outstanding
as folks in Columbus say he'll be, Big
Ten foes will be hard-pressed to contain
the Buckeye attack.
Even if Gerald retains his job and
Schlichter is relegated to a reserve
role, OSU point production will not be
lacking. Returning lettermen include
tailback Rod Springs, who ran for 1,166
yards-in 1977, Big Ten scorer leading
Joel Payton and Jimmy Moore, a
punishing tightaend who has recovered
from a pair of knee operations.
The offensive line, depleted by the
graduation of Chris Ward, is weaker,
but 272-pound junior college transfer
See OPPONENTS, Page 17


defense key Bli

a question
(Continued from Page 2)
front seven since 1969. Can a coach ask
for more?.
"We're looking for him to improve
this year," answered McCartney. "We
look for him to be stronger and to im-
prove overall. We hope that he gains
some leadership."
The Wolverine up front defense also
employs a pair of outside linebackers
which double for defensive ends. Here
lies the biggest replacement problem.
Gone is Green Bay's first round draft
pick John Anderson and his counterpart
Dom Tedesco, both instrumental in
preventing the big ground gains last
year. And at the end of spring drills
nobody had taken hold of either
The two candidates for the field-side
slot are Tom Seabron and Mark DeSan-
tis. ;Both saw considerable action in
their junior years and the possibility of
platooning the two is certainly
At the other end of the line Bob
Holloway and Jeffrey Jackson are in
contention for the starting bill. Neither
have proven themselves in game
The Schembechler philosophy of Big
Ten football places a good deal of em-
phasis on the front seven. The strategy
used to gain the annual trip out west
was best put by McCartney. "To win

the Big Ten, you have to beat OSU, and
to beat OSU you have to be able to stop
the run. The day you will see a weak
Michigan defense is the day they're
weak against the run."
But when a team is very effective
aghinst the run, the opponent has little
choice except to pass. Once again it is
the front seven who are given a great
deal of responsibility in nullifying the
aerial attack.
"We hve to improve in basically two
area. One, we have to get our linemen
to pressure the passer, and second, we
must improve our underneath
coverage," McCartney explained.
His relative lack of conern about the
secondary is somewhat surprising in
that three of the four positions are
Michigan no longer enjoys the likes of
Jim Pickens at safety, Derek Howard
at strong cornerback or Dwight Hicks
at the wolfman position.
Junior Mike Hardin appears destined
to steo in at safety. At the beginning of
spring drills, no one was sure who
would be roaming in the secondary. But
by the end of the season Hardin had
pretty much nailed down the job.
"Mike came on real strong in drills,"
McCartney noted. "He seems to have
taken that position: Gene Bell was also
impressive during our spring drills and
it looks as though he'll be starting."
The strong cornerback slot is wide
open. Schembecher is looking at last
year's substitute, Mark Bramman,
reserve weal cornerback Stu Harris
and Gerald Diggs to battle for the spot.
They are also waiting to take a quick
look at Brian Carpenter, a freshman
from Flint. Unless the youngster makes
good, the betting man's money would
be on Harris to take the field against
Illinois in the opener.
The only experience in the backfield
rests with junior Mike Jolly, a slender,
weakside cornerback. Jolly only broke
up one pass last year and intercepted
another, which he returned 50 yards for
a touchdown against Texas A&M.

(Continued from Page 2)
they talk about Leach's .404 batting
average last season or his accurate
cannon arm from center field. The
Philadelphia Phillies were impressed
enough to offer 100 grand to sign him
out of high school. He chose the triple
option instead.
Maybe Leach was thinking about the
running backs that were recruited with
his class when he made his decision.
Who could blame him for wanting to
hand the ball to Russell Davis, one of
the best high school players in Virginia
history? Or Harlan Huckleby, the
speedster from Cass Tech in Detroit
who runs a 9.5 100-yard dash?
Davis has certainly fulfilled every in-
ch of his promise. Operating out of the
fullback position last year, he gained
11092 yards on 225 carries (that's 4.9
yards per, in case you're not taking
calculus). He scored eight times, and,
was named the MVP in the.Big Ten.
Huckleby, on the other hand, has
been somewhat of a puzzle. After
gaining 958 yards as a freshman, he has
seen his playing time cut into the past
two seasons by nagging injuries and his
seeming reluctance to challenge a
defender helmet-to-helmet. Still, he
gained 769 yards last season, and would
have to be at the top of any list of poten-
tial starters at tailback.
But he wouldn't be the only name on
the list. Stanley Edwards (48 carries,
226 yards, 4.7 per), who started in the
Rose Bowl loss to Washington, will see
a lot of time in the backfield. Lawrence
Reid (8, 57, 7.1) and Roosevelt Smith
(60, 300, 5.0), are also vying for playing
spots. These. are all quality backs -
depth at this critical. position has
always been an identifying mark of
Schembechler's teams.
In fact, the luxury of backfield depth

has made Sc
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