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October 25, 1979 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-10-25

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The Michigan Daily-Thursday, October 25, 1979--Page 11
Needham fits into Wolverine mold

Wolverine outside linebacker Ben Needham (83) penetrates the Minnesota
backfield and leaps at the opportunity to sack quarterback Mark Carlson
12) Needham and the rest of the top-ranked Michigan defense appear
ready to challenge Ohio State for Big Ten supremacy.
Woody's presence stillfelt.. .
... beware the Bucks
When Woody Hayes punched his way out of Ohio State football in last
year's Gator Bowl, it seemed that an era in college football had ended. For
over a decade, Big Ten football had meant the Wolverines, versus the
Buckeyes on a gray day in late November. Maize and Blue versus Scarlet
and Gray; North versus South; Bo versus Woody.
Woody's gone now, but the Big Ten should once again be decided by the
OSU game next month, and Woody deserves much of the credit. New head
coach Earle Bruce lfas taken a team made up primarily of Hayes' hand-
picked recruits such as quarterback Art Schlichter to a spotless 7-0 record,
fifth-ranked in the nation.
Despite his recruiting wizardry, Woody often drew criticism for his
coaching on the field; especially his apparent inability to win "the big one".
Bruce is still-relatively untested as a field general, but several factors in-
dicate that he'll win his share of important games.
Unlike Woody's "three yards and a cloud of dust" policy that invariably
hurt him late in the season, Bruce has let Schlichter take to the airways in
every game this season. Against Wisconsin, the Buckeye quarterback hit 11
of 17 aerials for 150 yards. Schlichter has a plethora of talented receivers; in
fact, dominant features of this team appear to be their speed and good han-
Although the offense has been sound all season, averaging over 33 points
,a game, the Buckeye defense seemed suspect. Bruce has worked hard in this
area, and he's beginning to reap the fruits of his efforts.
Of the Wisconsin game, the first OSU shutout since 1977, Bruce said, "I
think the defense is getting better. We forced turnovers, and we hit tough. It
was another team performance, and we're coming closer to playing a total
football game."
During the off-season, reporters claimed Woody's punch heard 'round
the world was also a critical blow to Ohio State's football program. It is to
Bruce's credit that the Buckeyes have shaken the stigma of the Gator Bowl.
Yet the Bucks still seem to have a monkey on their backs.
"Basically, we don't care what the fans or sportswriters say about us,"
said OSU roverback Todd Bell. "But it does make you think about it. We'd
like to prove to ourselves that we can play football. And basically, that's
what we've been doing."
No stopping the Bucks
Buckeye fever is growing quickly in Columbus, and the fan reaction has
been tremendous. Dooley's after a Wolverine victory pales compared to the
rowdy Saturdaystight atmosphere on High Street, Columbus' main drag.
Students hang out of honking cars displaying Buckeye pennants, as others
dance in the streets, singing "Hang on Snoopy," OSU's unofficial fight song.
With that kind of enthusiasm, it's not surprising that the players are begin-
ning to gain confidence in leaps and bounds.
"This team is really jelling, mentally and physically. Right now, we're
on our way," said leading rusher Calvin Murray.
"If we execute and play ball with no mistakes, I don't know what the
limit is for our team," added receiver Doug Donley. "I don't see anybody
stopping us now. Only one thing can stop us now, and that's ourselves."
Hmmmm ... Well, Bo and the boys may have something to say about
that a month from now. At any rate, the scalper's dream game moves to Ann
Arbor this year, and although the silver-haired, outspoken coach will be con-
spicuously absent, a Woody Hayes Buckeye team will dig in against the
Wolverines once more.

Unity is a concept unique to the
Michigan defensive unit. The group of
11 defenders are an extremely well-
coordinated force on the field. Part of
their excellence is due to the fact that
each starter brings an individual
strength to the playing field, where all
11 are then welded together into one
cohesive unit.
Ben Needham, outside linebacker,
exhibits the rather high skill level
associated with this Michigan defensive
team. His outside position usually pits
him against an opposing end or
receiver. But when the quarterback
blitz is on, Needham is launched from
the outside going for the sack.
Columbus, Ohio native has compiled a
total of 22 tackles and 11 assists.
Needham is content with his current
starting position on the squad, yet he
seeks improvement.
"One part of my game I would like to
improve is the pass rush," remarked
Needham. "Pass actions are tough to
pick up," he added.
However, that's to be expected since
he's only been at his current position for
less than a year.
The Columbus native's first start
coincidentally came against Ohio State
last season. There was quite an element
of surprise when he found out.
"I was told the night before,"
Needham said. "I can tell you that I
was nervous. I had trouble sleeping that
night. The next morning I couldn't even
take a shower because the water line
had broken."
Playing in a Michigan-Ohio State
game is a thrill in its own right. But for
Needham, there was the added dimen-
sion of his place of birth. Here he was,
in Ohio Stadium, playing for the
Michigan Wolverines in front of a
crowd composed chiefly of his home-
town neighbors.
Oddly enough, the Scarlet and Gray
fever never took hold within Needham.
"I always rooted for Michigan," he
When recruited out of high school, the
Buckeyes had approached Needham,
but he shrugged them off because it was
just too close to where he grew up. "I
grew up on the Buckeye campus, but it
Welcome Students
Llberty off State-668-9329
East U. at South U.-663-0354
Maple Vilage-7"1'-2733

was just too close to home for me to go
there," said Needham.
Two other schools interested in
Needham were Michigan and North

We (th) (I,,fees e) (ire right onl pace eio' .. Our
goalI is to (honflia(lle (111(1 jf'( c( ic (1o i.
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Carolina State. But that choice was
easy. The 6-4, 215-pound junior wanted
to stay in the Midwest. What's more, he
was impressed with the Wolverine
"When I came here to see the school,
I couldn't believe that they actually
filled that thing up (Michigan
Stadium)," Needham said.
Michigan State, though; is the game
which holds the most significance for
the former high school basketball
player. Against State earlier this
season, Needham was matched up
against Mark Brammer, the premiere
Spartan tight end.
"Brammer is the best tight end I've
ever played against," Needham said.
In that game, Needham effectively held
the Spartan to only one pass reception,

hands are full with responsibility. But
the beauty of the Michigan defense is
apparent in Needham's reliance on his
teammates, who are within close
at the UI
pocket billiard
4pm and 8pm in the

that coming during State's last offen-
sive series after the game's fate had
been decided.
Covering the outside, Needham's

"Playing beside Curt (Greer),.
commented Needham, "I don't even:
have to worry about the stuff going in-'
side. I know Curtis is there."
With four games left on the schedules
the defense will be severely tested in at
least two of those. The first test will b(
their ability to contain the "Passin
Machine," Mark Herrmann of Purdue:-
The following week it will be a task to
stop the surging Buckeyes.
"We (the defense) are right on pace.
now," remarked Needham. "'nm
thinking about OSU because they've got
momentum' and confidence,"' he con-
tinued. "Our goal is f'o dominate, an4}
we can do it," Needham added.
Is champion
D Pendleton Room

Thurs. Oct. 26
3:00 to 5:00 P.M.


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Field Hockey
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Minnesota 5, St. Louis 2

We Do It Only
U-M stylists
at the
Open tit 5:15 p m.

The Amos Tuck School
of Business Administration
Dartmouth College- Hanover, N. H.,
Men and women-seeking
are invited to discuss the
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