OFFENSIVE BACKFIELD AS TOUGH AS EVER:
Editor's note: Wolverine head a fine 7-4 record and was the third con
football coach Bo Schembechler is ference team invited to a bowl game
providing this analysis of the up- along with Ohio State and Michigan.mI
coming 1978 season as a service to know Purdue is improving under Jim
United Press International. Young and Iowa will have a solid team.
By BO SCHEMBECHLER THIS WILL BE the first season tha
The challenge of winning the Big Ten all teams will play under the strict, 95
football championship becomes man scholarship limitation
progressively more difficult each Previously, a fifth year player was no
season and what happened last year is counted among the 95.
just an indication of what we can expect The new limit adds to the leveling of
in the future. process I've seen in college footbal
Michigan State made a serious run at during the past couple of seasons.
the title and only a tie with Indiana Because of limited scholarships, in
prevented it from sharing the cham- juries become a vital factor. One of ou
pionship. Indiana, of course, is im- major concerns this season is avoiding
nrmvin pa .h ..acnn nnpenta nntp the rash of injuries we had last season
No team can afford a series of injuries
and expect to win the championship.
ANOTHER concern is our perimeter
defense, where we lost five starters
from our 1977 championship team.
Those losses include two exceptional
outside linebackers, John Anderson and
Dom Tedesco and strong safety Dwight
running, passing or with his head. In
my opinion, Leach is the premier quar-
terback in the country today.
With him in the backfield will be
Russell Davis, Harlan Huckleby and
Ralph Clayton. Davis gained more than
1,000 yards last season and was named
our most valuable player. Huckleby
had a great spring and appears
"(Rick) Leach is a quar-
terback without a weak-
ness. He can beat you
running, passing or with
his head. In my opinion,
Leach is the premier
quarterback in the coun-
recovered from injuries that kept him
out of two of our last three games, in-
cluding the fAose Bowl.
Clayton is a fine all-around athlete
and we will expect him to contribute
more to our offense this season.
Clayton, along with sophomores Alan
Mitchell and Rodney Feaster, give us
good quickness with our wide receivers.
TIGHT END is the most solid position
on the teanm, with Gene Johnson, Mark
Schmerge and Doug Marsh. Johnson in
particular had an outstanding spring
Despite the loss of Mark Donahue,
Walt Downing and Mike Kenn, we fell
our offensive line has talent. Bill Dufek
missed the entire 1977 season and had a
difficult spring, but we expect him to
return to his former form. Center Steve
Nauta also is coming back from an in-
jury. John Powers, John Arbeznik, Jon
Giesler and Greg Barbnick all have
Michigan has won the Big Ten cham-
pionship the last two years, and that
remains our primary goal for 1978.
Hicks. Mike Jolly is the only returning
regular in the defensive secondary.
The rest of our defense should be solid
- especially at the inside linebacking
spot. Ron Simpkins as a sophomore
broke Michigan's record for tackles
with 174 and rates among the finest
linebackers in the country. Also, Jerry
Meter is a two-year regular and Mel
Owens is a junior with considerable
Curtis Greer returns at defensive
tackle and he's a player who can give
you the big play against any team. Dale
Keitz, our other returning tackle, may
play middle guard and tackle this
OUR OUTSIDE linebacking will be
handled by Mark DeSantis, Tom
Seabron, who can run the hundred in
under 10 seconds, and Bob Hollway.
The strength of our team will be the
offensive backfield, where the entire
unit from 1977 returns, including Rick
Leach. I think Leach is a quarterback
without a weakness. He can beat you
Daily Photo by JOHN KNOX
VETERAN TAILBACK Harlan Huckleby shows off a few moves in an intrasquad
game. Huck, who was slowed down by a bad hamstring last year, joins Rick Leach
and Russell Davis again in Michigan's familiar, all-senior backfield.
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