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October 31, 1978 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 1978-10-31

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The Michigan Daily-Tuesday, October 31, 1978-Page 11



VER SINCE Rick Leach came to Michigan in 1975, he's consistently
heard the same criticisms about his quarterbacking ability. All of his
detractors focus on the fact that the left-handed signal caller just hasn't been
able to master the pass the way he has the option attack in the Michigan of-
. fense.
It seems kind of funny to me that these complaints still arise so frequen-
tly when you take a quick look at how much this 6-1, 192 pounder has actually
In Saturday's 42-10 pounding of Minnesota, Leach established himself at
the top of Michigan's career pass completion category, with 209, hitting nine
of 13 passes for 143 yards and three touchdowns. What this means is that in
all the 98 years prior to the current season, no quarterback wearing the
A Maize and Blue has a better completion total than Leach.
I can hear the persistent skeptics say that while Leach may have the
Michigan record, he can't stand up to the rest of the Big Ten conference. Or
what about the nation? How does he rank there?
As hard as it may be for some ardent anti-Leach supporters to accept,
the wolverine quarterback has thrown more touchdown passes (39) than any
" other signal caller in conference history. He needs only two touchdowns to
:break Tom Harmon's career touchdown record at Michigan by the run. His
' 31 touchdowns rushing combined with his 39 passing leave him just three
short of the NCAA mark for touchdowns rushing and passing.
Leach is also 287 yards short of Purdue's Mike Phipps' mark of 5883 yar-
ds total offense for a Big Ten career. Leach's career rushing total of 1991 is
nine short of the 2000 mark, a figure only five other major college quarter-
backs have attained.
S If these figures aren't enough to convince you that number seven in the
Michigan lineup is a good all-around quarterback, then I guess you're just a
;hopeless case.
The criticism has far outweighed the praise when Leach's passing
abilities come into question. But according to Leach, one of the things which
has made him so successful is his ability to accept what others think of his
performances and attempt to please only himself and Schembechler.
"You can't worry about things like that," Leach said of his detractors.
"I'just go out and give 100 percent-and play as hard as I can for Michigan,"
he told reporters at the weekly press luncheon.
One problem Leach has faced during his four years at Michigan is trying
to please those who admire a passing quarterback while playing in a run-
oriented offensive attack.
"Early in my career when we were throwing the ball, we were either
going for a big play or a touchdown," Leach said. "That hurt a little bit
because the farther you throw down field, the less percentage you have of
completing the pass. Early I don't think our pass offense was set up for the
benefit of the quarterback. They knew we were going to pass. We didn't use
our backs out of the backfield, or the screen pass.
"Now we're starting to do a lot more things with coach (Don) Nehlen
coming into the scene (from Bowling Green in 1977). We're throwing shor-
ter to medium range passes.",
After seven games. Leach's statistics read: 37 completions in 82 attem-
pts for a 45 percent completion average. He's thrown four interceptions,
eight touchdown passes and has.accumulated 604 yards via the pass. Com-
pare that to the slingshot from Michigan State, Ed Smith. Smith has 99 com-
pletions for 1404 yards. He's throwing at a 60 percent clip while throwing five
2interceptions and 14 touchdown passes.
You can point to the completion percentages and immediately say that
obviously Leach just can't cut it when it comes to being a pure passer. But
there's a reason for that. Leach is asked to play like a third running back in-
stead of concentrating solely on his passing game.
* "Our offense isn't set up for a passing quarterback," Leach said. "I'm
more of a halfback kind of guy than a quarterback because we run so much. I
think it's a lot harder for a quarterback at Michigan because he has to start
off like a tailback and get beat up, and then start passing.
"If you're just dropping back handing off in the pocket you don't get the
bumps and bruises other people will. I think if I was put in the situation of
throwing 30 times a game like Michigan State or Stanford, I feel in my own
heart I could do every bit as good or better as any other quarterback."
Facing a defense Schembechler calls "as good as any in the league"
Leach may find the Iowa Hawkeyes a stiff test this Saturday. One thing is
certain, however. Leach will continue his streak of never missing a
Michigan football game due to injury. That in itself is an amazing statistic
considering just how vulnerable the quarterback position is.

.agers 1w
The mood among the players was hardly enthusias-
tic as yesterday's basketball practice drew to a close.
"Shuffle off, shuffle off," pleaded Phil Hubbard, his
infamous, heavily-taped right knee healthy but tired.
"Breather, breather," gasped freshman Keith Smith
just before the whistle blew signalling yet another
FIFTEEN MINUTES later the exhausted players
were in the shower and coach Johnny Orr admitted
that the two-hour workout wasn't all that easy. But
these grinding practice sessions are not without their
rewards, as the promising Wolverine cagers ap-
proach top form.
"That was our best practice we've had all year,"
said Orr, who is looking for the best combination of
talent to mold into a starting unit for the upcoming
season. "We've been changing them in there every,
day. The guys who play with Hubbard and (Mike)
McGee always look good."
Yesterday was no exception. The 'Blue' team in a
five-on-five drill put freshman forward Thad Garner
and sophomore guard Johnny Johnson alongside
regulars McGee and Tom Staton. The 'Whites' coun-
tered with veterans alan Hardy, Mark Lozier, and
Marty Bodnar plus rookies smith and John Garris. It
was strictly no contest.
Running the five-on-five drill, Orr must press every
available man into service. Still out of action from

the 12-man roster are Mark Bodnar and Paul Heuer-
man. Bodnar's broken foot and Heuerman's frac-
tured wrist are both nearly mended, and Orr hopes to
have them return to practice within a week.
DESPITE A nagging sprained wrist (He's playing
one-handed out there," said Orr), Hubbard had little
trouble with Garris. Sharpshooter McGee was acting


iff and puff into form


'We've been
changing them
in there every
day. The guys
who play with
Hubbard and
McGee always
look good.'
-Johnny Orr

physical mold that'gave us Joel Thompson. He even
dunks like Joel, as he so vividly demonstrated twice
"We're sure happy to see Thad play the way he
did," said Orr of the Gary, Ind. prospect. "He's going
to contribute for sure." If he continues to play like he
did yesterday, he just may find himself contributing
as a starting forward soon enough.
GARNER HIMSELF prefers modesty. "It's tough
in live situations trying to remember what to do." he
confessed. "Sometimes I get lost out there and have
to ask Hub or Staton what I'm supposed to do. I just
go out and play and let those guys do the brainwork."
Johnson, on the other hand, has been doing plenty
of work-legwork. Displaying the kind of hustle that
Orr loves to see in his ballplayers, John3on's new at
titude has rubbed off on his play.
"HE (Johnson) is looking a whole lot better than he
did last year," said Orr of the 6-5 swingman. "He's
really working hard out there."
NEVER MUCH of a practice-player in his fresh-
man year, Johnson struggled through a largely un-
productive season, viewing most of the action from
his permanent seat at the end of the bench. This year
Johnson intends to improve his lot.
"I want to play." he summed up. "I want to make
it. Last year I thought I was going to play, but I had a
few problems. They told me I was lazy. We just had a
personality conflict. This is a do-or-die year for me,"
he said, declining to elaborate.

out of character, rifling pinpoint passes to team-
mates for gift baskets.
But the overall play of both Garner and Johnson
has got to be the two most pleasant surprises of the
training camp thus far.
Garner is a 6-7 forward cast out of the same

Clu b bers trim MSU;
Piei shines inT goal



WED.-SEAFOOD ............ $4.25

After losing three of the last five
games on the road, the Michigan field
hockey team returned home to Ferry
Field yesterday and bumped off a very
fine Michigan State team, 2-1.
It was victory number nine for the
Wolverines against five losses and it
equaled the highest win total in one
season since the club turned varsity six
years ago. Michigan State, rated one of
the top teams in the state, suffered only
its second loss in 12 games this year.
An aggressive burst of play by the
Wolverines in the first ten minutes of
the game was all it took for the victory.
Leading scorer Mary Callam scored
first, taking the ball all alone through
the MSU defense and flipping it by
goaltender Jan Morris. Jean McCarthy
made it 2-0 when a loose rebound came
right out on her stick and she slapped it
At that point, Michigan State began to
show why they're one of the best teams
around. The Spartans controlled the
tempo of the game for the rest of the
first half, keeping the ball in the
Michigan zone and taking several good
shots at goaltender Lauri Pieri.
But Pieri was brilliant. Time and
time again, she came out of the net to
kick away shots including one
screaming blast from 20 feet that
ricocheted off her knee pads and all the
way back out.

0pnly a weak dribbler that Pieri
misjudged prevented the junior from
recording her 12th shutout atuMichigan.
The second half started out pretty
even but the Wolverines really came on
strong in the last ten minutes and that
had head coach Phyllis Ocker very
pleased. "I thought we played our best
game of the year today," she said. "It
was a big win for the girls
psychologically. We have the state
tournament coming up next weekend
and this should give them some con-
The opening round of the state tour-
nament will be a grudge match for the
Wolverines against Calvin College this
Friday in Kalamazoo. Calvin upset
Michigan last week on a rain-slopped
field in Grand Rapids. "We didn't play
very well," said forward Jean McCar-
thy. "I know we'll all be looking for
revenge in that one."


114 E.




Im- -






y'i l





Sandy Sanders
or stop by the
Sports Building
bept. of Recreational Sports


.CHICAGO (AP)-Linebacker Dan
Bass' of Michigan State has been selec-
ted Big Ten Player of the Week on
defense by the Associated Press for his
record-breaking performance in the
Spartans' 55-2 triumph over Wisconsin.
Bass, a 6-1, 217-pound junior from
nth, Mich., intercepted a pass and
-eturned it 99 yards for a touchdown,
peaking the Big Ten record of 98 yards
hared by four players.
Others nominated for the award this
eek included defensive back Vince
lllings of Ohio State and linebacker
Ron Simpkins of Michigan.
,Skillings intercepted two passes and
hid five tackles including one for a loss
in Ohio State's 63-20 victory over Nor-
Simpkins, who has yet to win the
award this season but has been
rbminated ,several times, had 11
trckles including ten solos and one for a
lgss in Michigan's 42-10 Little Brown
Jpg victory over Minnesota.

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