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October 29, 1980 - Image 10

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-10-29

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411

SPORTS

The Michigan Daily

Page la

Wednesday, October 29, 1980

GEARS'M'EXPLOSIVE ATTACK

Th ihga al

Becker on guard for offense

0

By MARK MIHANOVIC
There are some things that one can
alw ys count on. Like the sun rising in
the past, rain in April, taxes, inflation ...
And one can always count on Bo
Schembechler to field a big, fast offen-
siv( line well-schooled in blocking fun-
daiientals.
TPis year, though, the guys up front
seem to be even bigger and faster than
usual. Two of them are 6-6, 270 pounds,

one is 6-3, 265, one is 6-6, 255, one is 6-5,
250, and they have opened holes in op-
posing defenses big enough for
Lawrence Ricks, Stanley Edwards, and
Butch Woolfolk to ramble for more than
1,600 yards through seven contests.
KURT BECKER looks like he is
capable of opening big holes. He's the
one who stands 6-6 and weighs in at 255
pounds, all of it muscle. Having lined up
at the right guard position during the

last two campiagns, Becker is part of a
unit that has grown up and gotten better
together, as all of them were starters in
'79 except left guard John Powers.
Becker is the pulling guard specialist,
as he is best at running wide and
clearing a path for the quick Wolverine
front of one of the backs. "He (Becker)
has got great speed for a guy 255 poun-
ds," Schembechler said. "He can get
out and run, and he's a strong kid.
"He's got great physical potential,
and he loves to play football. He is a
dynamite guard. He has not had a bad
game in the first seven. He's been good
all seven."

a good defensive man in front of you,
it's a tough thing to do.
"That's probably the toughest ad-
justment I've had to make. But they
(the coaches) have got us geared to
block pretty much any situation."
BECKER WAS a three-sport star at
East High in Aurora, Illinois, and one
visit to Ann Arbor was about all he
needed to decide that he wanted to wear
a maize-and-blue uniform.
"The biggest impression I got out of
here is the sense of tradition that it
carries. This was my first choice,"
Becker said. Iowa, Illinois, and Ken-
tucky all expressed interest in him, but

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'I was the guard pulling (on the play in the Gator
Bowl in which John Wangler injured his knee). It
was both of our fault. It was a bootleg play. .. he
(Wangler) got out there before I could get there to
block anybody.'
-Kurt Becker

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DESPITE HIS junior eligibility, the
1980 season is his fourth for Becker at
Michigan, and he has had to make ad-
justments in order to remain effective
during the Wolverines' metamorphasis
over the last two years to a semi-
passing team.
"When I first got here, we were run-
ning the ball more," Becker said. "Now
a lot of teams have been putting a man
head-up on us (the guards), and we are
doing more pass-blocking. If you have
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'"after visiting here, my mind was
made up.
The change in emphasis that Becker
has noticed in Michigan's offensive
strategy is attributable in great degree
to the strong right arm of his room-
mate, John Wangler. But the last play
of the 1979 season in which Becker and
Wangler teamed up nearly resulted in
disaster. It was the second quarter of
the Gator Bowl.
"I WAS the guard pulling," Becker
recalled. "It was both of our fault. It
was a bootleg play, which was a bad
play to call with the cornerback up on
the line like he was. As we were getting
out there, John got ahead of me because
he felt some pressure from the
backside, and he got out there before I
could get there to block anybody." And
Wangler took a shot that sent him knww
surgery-bound.
Becker, a business concentrator in
the school of LSA, denies that blocking
for his previously-injured roommate
causes him to exert more effort than he
otherwise would. "I've seen what he
(Wangler) has done, running and lif-
ting, and I know it (the knee) is 100 per-
cent for him," Becker explained. "No
matter who the quarterback is, you
wanna block for him."

OFFENSIVE GUARD Kurt Becker (65) is shown here keeping the heat off
tailback Lawrence Ricks (46) against California. Becker is a stalwart on one
of the finest offensive lines that Michigan has ever fielded. Although Becker
has been at Michigan for four years, he says that he'll be back next year to
use his remaining year of eligibility.
Blue cagers working
hard under Fri~eder

Daily Photo by BRIAN MASCK

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By DREW SHARP.
If the performers in this season's
production of "Michigan Basketball"
find themselves in the midst of an over-
time struggle with Ohio State and
feeling as though they have limped the
last mile, they need only think back to
their early dress rehearsals when
director Bill Frieder enticed a little ex-
tra effort out of his cast during sprints
by bellowing, "Remember those three
overtime losses!"
The Wolverines' heatbreaking
defeats to Michigan State, Indiana, and
Northwestern probably cost them a
NCAA tournament bid last year, and

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Seymour Sarason October 30
Yale University
IN TH FACE Of SHRINKING RESOURCES

first-year coach Frieder doesn't want to
see a repeat of that this season. So -
Frieder has his troops running to the
point of exhaustion in practice,
hopefully to build the players' enduran-
ce-an endurance that often decides the
outcome of those overtime contests.
The rookie coach's practice regiment
has resulted in moans of agony from
some of the players, as it varies slightly'
from that of his predecessor, Johnny
Orr.
"Coach Frieder breaks it down into
the fundamentals more than Coach Orr
did, said senior co-captain 'Paul
Heuerman. "That's his style because
he's a teacher and also because we
have five freshman on the team and ie
has to teach them the basics."
Frieder is also installing a new offen-
sive strategy-the motion offense. This.9
new set-up requires more passing and
picking, which equal more hardwork
for the hoopsters.
"It's not easier this year by any
means," continued the 6-8 center from
Akron, Ohio. "The practices are longer,
and it becomes more of. a physical
strain. However, there are more rest
breaks than in the past.
"Besides getting you in condition
physically, it gets you in shape men-
tally, and that helps you think you have
that physical advantage over your op-
ponent. And that could be very
beneficial late in a close game."
Frieder drills into his players minds
the idea that in order to be better than
an opponent, one must be in better con-
dition.
"Last year we worked hard and felt
that we were in good condition, but we
wound up 10 points away from making
the NCAA's," said Heuerman. "Those
games were lost because of bad breaks
and mental mistakes, but I suppose
mental errors are caused by a lack of
mental conditioning."
Perhaps the end result of all the tough
practice sessions will be an NCAA tour-
nament season.

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