Saturday, September 6, 1980
The Michigan Daily
CLIFFORD LEADS RESURGENCE
1U plans serious challenge
3'09 S. State
By AL FANGER
, Second in a nine-part series
$Cditor's note: This is the second
i nine-part series examining the
4.86 Big Ten football season. The
R rtes was written by Daily Sports
,Edior Alan Fanger and Executive
I~frts Editor Mark Mihanovic.
,*.Tere's this All-American kid from
# ral midwestern university, cham-
ing the cause of a once-downridden
. ball team that has returned to the
s of respectability. He's also aware
N.modesty is the safest way of en-
,ing he'll never cave in under that
irrage of pressure associated with
4idern-day Big Ten football.
NEverybody is trying to tell Tim Clif-
"4rd that he controls the cards for In-
Cana during the 1980 football season.
,I* Clifford is trying to tell everybody,
Kht the Hoosiers have 94 other players
;.their squad who are equally capable
enhancing their fortunes beyond an 8-
season and a ,fourth-place conference
If you say Clifford, then you adhere to
the theory propounded by the Big Ten's
most valuable player in 1979, who says,
"I'm just out there directing them
because it's the nature of my position.
The offense happens to be suited for my
style of play."
Whatever the case may be, Clifford
-and Hoosier coach Lee Corso are trying
d convince the rest of the conference
at their squad has ALL the ingredien-
ts to win its first title since 1966.
"Defensively, we're improved. We
went from lousy to 'I don't know',"
Joked Corso at last month's Big Ten.
kickoff luncheon. "A lot of kids who
played last year are coming back.".
w'The Hoosiers are looking to yield
omething less than the 252 points that
:were scored on them through 12 games.
Snd Corso figures that a year of ex-
rience should do wonders for his nine
returning starters on the defensive
It inspires yet another in a series of
original Corso quips: "It. (the defense)
Js like your wife. You just have to polish
Fer up and get ready to play."
The line is anchored by defensive end
rent Tisdale, a 6-4, 240 pound senior
who is the choice of many coaches to
make the all-conference squad. While
the rest of the forward wall is devoid of
any standouts, some keen competition
for starting jobs has made Indiana
The linebackers share a similar
plight. Terry Tallen has been converted
from his middle guard spot and Craig
Walls, while leading the squad with 106
tackles, is not recognized as a "big,
But the secondary can truly be
assessed as improved over last season.
All-Big Ten selection Tim Wilbur, the
hero of the Hoosiers' 38-37 Holiday Bowl
victory over Brigham Young, is joined
by three other returning star-
ters-strong safety Chuck Alexander,
cornerback Marc Longshore, and free
safety Steve Mitchell.
It's the same crew that pulled up
lame as Michigan quarterback, John
Wangler hit Anthony Carter with a last-
second touchdown pass to beat the
Hoosiers, 27-21, last October. Corso,
however, sees them as improving off a
successful spring practice.
The defense is what is giving Corso
headaches going into next Saturday's
season opener against Iowa. While he
hates to admit that his offensive unit is
always operating smoothly behind the
cool-headed Clifford, those particular
eleven men bring a wall-to-wall grin to
"If the offensive line stays intact and
blocks for the passer, Clifford will hve a
great year," said Corso.
Corso is actually a bit concerned with
his interior line. While four of his five
starters up front are seniors, only
two-tackle Gerhard Ahting and center
Lucky Wallace-have had substantial
game experience. And it is Clifford, a
quarterback who likes to maneuver in
and out of the pocket.
The backfield inay be able to com-
pensate for at least some of the
deficiencies on the line. Clifford has an
outstanding pair of tailbacks-Mike
Hardrader (824 yards in '79) and Lonnie
Johnson (728 yards) -who offer Clifford
a sound alternative to his sharp aerials.
"This is the first Harkrader has been
healthy since his first season," said
Corso. "If he stays healthy, I can
assure you he's going to have one super
year." Corso added he is "ready to
alternate" Harkrader and Johnson,
possibly reserving each for certain
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Bob Stephenson returns as the star-
ting tight end, while Nate Lundy and
Steve Corso (yes, he is the coach's son)
add depth to the wide receiver spot.
And then there's Clifford himself,
good on 160 of 288 passes for over 2,000
yards and 13 touchdowns last year.
"I think I made a good name out
there," he said. "I knew when I came in
here my freshman year we had a good
sound club-we were just making a few
mistakes. Next year we had injuries in
a few key spots.
"Then last year we put it all together.
We just played like we were capable of
playing. Now people are watching us
and saying, 'Hey, these guys have to be
As long as the All-American boy, with
his blond curls and honest smile, is out
there performing magic, it is a safe bet
that Indiana will continue to make "The
Big Four" sound like a legitimate
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