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September 06, 1979 - Image 63

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-09-06

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

Big Ten title barely eludes 'M'
in final season of Benedict era

Sports eras are hard wrought but long remem-
Lombardi's Packers, Bryant's Tide, Wooden's
Bruins - the mention of these brings thoughts of
long-term winning competition.
LAST YEAR saw the end of a lesser-known era at
Michigan, but one which produced a quality sports
program just the same.
Coach Moby Benedict, the man who has meant
baseball to Michigan for 17 years, retired after
leading the Wolverines to a third place finish in the
Big Ten in 1979.
He is simply a teacher of the game, admitting, "I
think that's my best quality. . . I think that's what I
do best,"
While building .Michigan into a baseball power,
Benedict compiled an impressive 373-259 record. His
teams captured the Big Ten title three of the last five
"I feel I've done a good job, if I do say so myself,"
he said. "My record speaks for itself."
REPLACING BENEDICT will be Bud Middaugh,
39, who gomes to Michigan following a successful 12-
year career at Miami of Ohio, where his Redskins
won three Mid-American Conference titles. Mid-
daugh was named MAC Coach-of-the-Year three
"This is a fantastic opportunity for me. I've always
had a lot of respect for Michigan's athletic program,"
Middaugh said. "I'm just awed to have been con-
sidered for the position.

"Moby Benedict has done a great job and I hope we
can continue the tradition."
INDEED, BENEDICT ended his career in style, as
last year's team was a contender to the end, with the
conference championship being decided in the
Wolverines' last series of the year. It was a two-game
home and home set against Michigan State, and the
Blue nine had to win both contests to repeat as cham-
But it wasn't to be. In the first game of the
weekend, ace lefthander Steve Howe was tagged for
six runs in the third inning, and the Wolverines drop-
ped an 8-5 decision to the now conference champion
It was only the first career conference loss for
Howe (7-2 last year), who nonetheless finished the
season with a sparkling 1.78 ERA.
THAT MADE THE second game of the set merely
academic, but senior righthander Steve Perry (4-5,
3.14), showed his stuff by shutting out the Spartans, 6-
Thus Michigan finished third behind Michigan
State and Wisconsin, who had already nailed down
second place.
Coach Benedict's squad had started the year with
a virtually rebuilt infield, with only returning star-
ters George Foussianes at shortstop and Jim
Capoferi behind the plate.
THESE TWO, however, turned out to be perfect
examples of what returning veterans should be, as
they led the team in batting at .369 and .355, respec-

tively. Foussianes was also tops with seven home
runs and 27 RBI.
Tim Miller, this year a junior, took over at first
base and responded with a .341 average and 22 RBI.
Living up to his blue chip recruit label was Jim
Paciorek, a sophomore from Detroit who contributed
a .290 average while handling third base duties.
Another sophomore, Jerry Paparella, saw a lot of ac-
tion at second with now-graduated utility man Dale
Mason helping out.
With this rather face-lifted infield, the team began
its season with the annual spring trip. The Wolverines
tallied a 4-4 mark, all in non-league action. But the
trip also marked the beginning of a series of rain-outs
which plagued the squad's conference and non-
conference schedule.
IF THERE WERE an NCAA record for rain-outs,
Michigan would be a serious contender. A total of 17
games were cancelled, none of which are made up.
Unfortunately, Michigan was rained out against Big
Ten opponents Northwestern and Indiana, who were
two of the weakest teams in the conference.
"We were playing Northwestern, for example, and
leading 3-0," explained Benedict. "Another half in-
ning and that game would have been official and we'd
have been at least co-champs."
So it's we'll-get-'em-next-year time, and instead of
the infield, it will be the outfield that Middaugh will
have to bolster.
GONE ARE leftfielder Dan Cooperrider and cen-
terfielder Rick Leach, leaving senior Vic Ray the

Daily Photo
THE MICHIGAN baseball atmosphere should be quite different this spring, with
lefthanded slugger and football quarterback Rick Leach departed, along with
the Wolverines' diamond mentor for the past 17 years, Moby Benedict. Leach
was drafted by the Detroit Tigers, while Benedict now works in the Wolverine
intramural department. In maintaining the Wolverines as a baseball power,
Benedict compiled a career record of 372-259, while capturing the Big Ten title
three of the last five years.

sportsnbc hirsdyptau9 rIP
Section C Thursday, September 6, 1979 Fouteeni Pages

The gridiron quest resumes

Wolverine defense,
returns key players

But an offense full
of question marks

While even the most. ardent
Wolverine football fan may not
recognize many of the faces in the of-
fensive lineup this fall, the opposite will
be true with the defense.
All but three starters return from a
squad that ranked fourth nationally in
total defense and second in scoring
defense last season, holding opponents
to just eight points a game.
Outside linebackers Jerry Meter and
Tom Seabron constitute the lone first
stringers lost to graduation, while
wolfman Gene Bell is academically
ineligible. No need to worry, though,
head coach Bo Schembechler has found
a trio of very able replacements in
senior Mel Owens (linebacker) and
juniors Ben Needham (linebacker) and
Stu Harris (wolf).
especially pleased with the progress his
newly-appointed linebackers have
made and foresees no adjustment
problems at that position.
"The thing that's going to help us is
Owens and Needham replacing Meter
and Seabron," said Schembechler.
"There's no falling off in effectiveness
Both of the two new backers actually
have one game's experience as starters
under their belt. The 6-2, 230-pound

veterans to work with on defense. It
will be these players that the coaches
will be counting on to hold down the fort
while the young and inexperienced of-
fense learns the Michigan system.
"There's more pressure on the defen-
se to deliver," noted Schembechler,
"particularly early on because there's
a lot of new people on offense, plus two
key injuries to (guard John) Powers
and (tackle Bubba) Paris, both possible
"The defense has to carry a bigger
load," continued the 11th year mentor.
"I think they realize that. You can't
lose an entire offensive backfield and
not feel it early (in the season)."
"(BUT) I FEEL secure they (the
defense) can step in and get the ball
back in good field position," Schem-
bechler concluded.
Based on past performance, Schem-
bechler has every right to feel secure
with his defense. Last season, the
Wolverines led the Big Ten in every
major defensive category, including
rushing defense (113.2 yards yielded
per game), passing defense (99.9 yar-
ds/game), scoring defense (7.1 poin-
ts/game) and total defense (213.1 yar-
And if that isn't convincing enough,
Michigan holds down the top spot
nationally in rushing defense, scoring
defense and total defense for the period,
Can this year's defense do better than
that? Schembechler, for one, thinks so.
"WE'LL BE better this year for a
couple of reasons," explained the for-


In collegiate sports, the process of
filling vacancies left by departing
seniors happens every year. It's an
inherent worry for college coaches.
Nevertheless, some years bring
relatively little turnover, others
massive change. In terms of offense for
the 1979 Michigan football team, the lat-
ter is true.
In all, the Wolverines return to
Michigan stadium this fall minus eight
of eleven offensive starters. The
veterans have graduated leaving major
holes in the Blue offense to be filled.
When Michigan takes the field on Sept.
8 against Northwestern, the offensive
line and backfield will be totally
Perhaps the most hotly-contested
spot on the whole Blue squad this year
is that of field general-the quarter-
back. The duties of calling the signals
have been solely those of Rick Leach
the past four years. His expertise in
directing the option-oriented Michigan
offense will be sorely missed by
Michigan coach Bo Schembechler.
THE COMMON question for Schem-
bechler this summer has been "Who
will be your quarterback?" The leading
candidate for the job is B. J. Dickey.
The 6-0, 185 pound junior has been
Leach's backup the past two years. In a
May interview Schembechler had this
to say about Dickey: "If the season
were to start tomorrow, B:J. would be
my man. He had a good spring practice
and knows the system."
In limitedhaction last year, Dickey
completed eight of 19 passes for a 42%
completion rate and 115 yards, while
throwing for two touchdowns.
But that was last year, Leach's year.
This coming season is vastly different.
Dickey knows the team and knows what
Bo wants from his players-this is
where his experience lies. Yet, in terms
of play, it's limited.
MEANWHILE, Dickey's opposition is
strong. Senior John Wangler, along
with sophomores Gary Lee and Jim
Paciorek are contending for the role.
Further competition for the quarter-
back position will come from two in-
coming freshmen, Rich Hewlett from
Plymouth Salem and Steve O'Donnell
from Madison, New Jersey.
One of these two freshmem may
eventually get the starting nod from
Schembechler, although he concedes it
will not be a clearcut decision, as it was
before Leach's first season. "This quar-
terback situation will be very close."

IN TERMS OF passing, O'Donnell
brings a smile to Bo's face. "O'Don-
nell's a good thrower, and he can run an.,
option," remarked Schembechler.
"Besides, he's a lefty like Rick is."
Schembechler is confident that once
he picks his man, the pieces will fall in
the right places. In the meantime, he
has assigned Don Nehlen as a fulltime
quarterback coach.
Similarly, the fullback and tailback
positions are also unsettled. At the
fullback position, the Wolverines will
surely miss Russell Davis, whose 4.5
yards per carry was the second best
rushing average 'last year. Davis'
blocking ability will also be noticeably
absent. As of spring practice, senior
Lawrence Reid was tops on the list for
the starting fullback position.
REID WILL face several opponents,
including sophomore Butch Woolfolk.
Although Woolfolk was used ex-
clusively as a tailback last season,
Schembechler feels he has the physical
tools to convert him into a formidable
fullback. Along with Woolfolk will be
two incoming freshmen, Mike Cade of
Elroy, Arizona, and Gerald Ingram of
Beaver, Pennsylvania.
The six-one, 205-pound Cade will most
likely be an influence in the Wolverine
backfield. "Outstanding," is how
Schembechler concisely describes him.

Daily Photo
TAILBACK STANLEY EDWARDS hauls one in during last spring's Blue-White
full scrimmage. Edwards, who started in the Rose Bowl as a freshman two years
ago, returns this year as a prominent piece in Bo Schembechler's backfield
puzzle. The graduation of Rick Leach, Russell Davis and Harlan Huckleby
presents quite a challenge to Schembechler, who must now rebuild nearly his
entire backfield in this his 11th season as Wolverine coach.

Recruits spark grappler hopes


Walk into Crisler Arena during a
Michigan wrestling meet and you might
be surprised at the sizable turnout.
That's because Wolverine wrestling has
become a hot commodity.
The increased fan support can be at-
tributed to two factors. One is the
team's record the past two years, which
included consecutive ninth and tenth-
place NCAA finishes. Everyone likes a
winner - thus the grapplers 10-2 start
last year caught the attention of many
Michigan sports enthusiasts.
Unfortunately for then first-year
nnnn rnla Rahradhca m f h

dream, this time at the 167-lb. weight
class. He earned his first. two crowns
wrestling at 150. But that was the past
- Churella has graduated, leaving a
gaping hole on the Wolverine roster.
"No question we're gonna miss Mark
in terms of individual victories," said
the former Iowa State assistant. But
everyone else is returning and we've
signed several promising recruits. A
couple of the older guys are possible
Big Ten champions."
CHURELLA WILL not be totally
gone from the Michigan wrestling
c'non nwra Thc N.nrth.ii no ntiv

classifications will sport returning star-
JIM MATHIAS (12-12-2) returns at
118 lbs. Although he is a junior
academically, Mathias still carries
three more years of eligibility, having
sat out his freshman year with an in-
Freshman Tommy Davids of Hazel
Park will back up Mathias. Davids
placed third in the state as a junior and
came back to win the state title his
senior year. His brother Bill wrestled
for Michigan (1971-74) and won the Big
Ten title at 126 lbs. in 1974.


Owens, whose father is head baseball
coach at Northern Illinois University in
DeKalb, Ill., was slated as a starter at
inside linebacker last season and
played superbly against Illinois (nine
tackles and an interception) before

At the tailback position Schem-
bechler will have the responsibility of
replacing the quickness of Harlan
Huckleby, but not necessarily the
"agility" of his hands. Junior Stanley
Edwards is in line for the position, par-

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