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October 14, 1983 - Image 13

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-10-14

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 14, 1983 -Page 13

-- _ _
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Ron Pollack

Bracken punts into
'M'record books

_ _ _
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Michigan football

Two yards.
That short, and easily attainable; distance is
all that separates punter Don Bracken from a
spot in the Michigan record book.
The senior from Thermopolis, Wyo. has 7,106
career punting yards, and should pass John An-
derson's all-time mark of 7,108 yards tomorrow
against Northwestern. Bracken has 172 career
punts, second only to Anderson's 180.
"I guess I'm kind of surprised about the,
record, I didn't even know anything about it,"
Bracken said. "When I started the season I knew
I was close to some records, but I didn't keep
track. I guess you could say I'm happy about the
chance to hold a record at Michigan, but what I
really want to do is relax and punt better. I think
I could have a good year down the stretch if I do
relax and that's all that matters now."
Bracken has a career punting average of 41.3
yards per boot, highest in Wolverine history, but
is only averaging 36.9 yards a kick this season.
"He's down a little bit," said Michigan head
coach Bo Schembechler yesterday. "He's had a'
little problem with his left knee. I think that's af-
fected his kicking and we've had him in
situations where he's ended up punch kicking in

opposing team's territory and not having a chan-
ce to really let it out.
Although Bracken is on the verge of setting the
Michigan all-time record for punting yardage, he
was not even Michigan's first choice when pun-
ters were being recruited prior to the 1980
season. In fact, he wasn't even second choice, or
third choice.
"He was the fourth out of four we were looking
at," said Michigan assistant head coach and
defensive coordinator Gary Moeller. "But there
were four good kickers and he was one of them.
They would have been ranked 1, la, 1b, and lc.
Bracken turned out very well in the group."
Guess what the last Northwestern head coach
to beat Michigan is doing these days?
He's Alex Agase and he's a Michigan assistant
coach now. Agase coached the Wildcats from
1964-72 and he led them to a 34-22 victory over the
Wolverines in 1965.
Agase also was head coach at Purdue (1973-76)
and athletic director at Eastern Michigan (1977-
1982). He was about to retire from college sports
in 1982 when Schembechler stepped into the pic-
ture.

"He was unhappy as an athletic director,"
Schembechler said. "I mean he felt miserable.
He was going to retire. I said 'you can't retire,
you've got to do something.' I said 'what are you
going to do?' He said 'I don't know.' So I said
'come over and be a part-time coach.' Six mon-
ths later he says 'are you serious' and I said yes.
The reason Agase left Eastern Michigan, and
the reason he got back into coaching, was the en-
joyment he gets from being around young
athletes, according to Michigan athletic direc-
tor Don Canham, a longtime friend of Agase's.
"I was in on his thought process when he
resigned," Canham said. "He was very unhap-
py. He missed the association with the athletes."
* * *
When you're the head honcho you get blamed
for everything, even when it's not your fault.
"I got an awful lot of letters on the annual off-
the-wall band halftime show (at Michigan's last'
home game)," Canham said. "I got quite a few
letters, as though I had anything to do with the
halftime show. 'What the hell are you doing put-
ting on a halftime show like that' they write. I
just send them over to (band director) Eric
(Becher). I don't take it very seriously."

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(VU punting is Kidd stuff
Northwestern coach Dennis Green,

-.;

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By CHUCK JAFFE
Northwestern punter John Kidd is no
passing fancy, but he'd love an oppor-
tunity to try.
Kidd enrolled at Northwestern intent
on earning the starting quarterback
job, but instead has flourished as a pun-
ter, earning honorable-mention All-
American honors in 1982 and leading
the Big Ten in punting so far this
season.
-NOW THE Wildcats' second-string
quarterback, Kidd is patiently waiting
for an opportunity to display the talents
of his arm alongside those of his leg.
"It has never really materialized, but
I've always felt that I could play quar-
terback here," Kidd said. "If
something happens, I'll be ready to
play if I get the chance. (Starting quar-
terback) Sandy (Schwab) does a really
good job for us, so I can't complain.
Things never worked out that well for
me as far as quarterbacking goes."
Punting, however, has worked out
just fine for the 6-4, 202-pound senior.
Starting with his freshman season,
Kidd has made steady improvement -
finishing last season ranked fifth in the
nation with a 45.6 yards-per-kick

'Cat kicker
sees chances
passing by
average, and ranking sixth this year
with a 45.7 yard average.
KIDD HAS also found no shortage of
work as Northwestern punter. The
Wildcats are just 4-35 since Kidd's
arrival, and in 1981 he set a Big Ten
record for most punts in a season. Ac-
cording to Kidd, a losing team gives a
punter a lot of opportunity to kick.
"After you have six or seven punts in
a game you get pretty tired," said Kidd,
an engineering and management scien-
ce major. "You start to warm up on the
sidelines when it gets to third down, so
you can be pretty tired by the end of the
day."
Tiredness has not affected Kidd's
kicks, however, and his powerful leg
has made him one of the Wildcats' most
potent offensive -tools.:According to

Kidd has helped keep opposing teams
in poor field position.
"JOHN KIDD has been absolutely
magnificent as a punter," Green said.
"He has done everything we could ask
for; he's getting good hang time and his
net punting average is good. He has
been a real weapon for us."

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Green
... high on Kidd
But Kidd would rather not have to be
a weapon. Originally recruited by most
of the Big Ten teams, including
Michigan, Kidd said he didn't realize
exactly how bad the Wildcat football
program was when he signed a letter of
intent.
"I don't think anyone could go to
school with the intent of losing for two
years - 22 games - straight," The
Findlay, Ohio native said. "When I got
here, the program was a little farther
down than I had thought, and losing all
those games after a winning high school
career was pretty rough.
"IF I could have anything I wished
for, I'd wish we were 11-0 and going to
the Rose Bowl," Kidd added. "But that
won't happen, so I'm glad I've been
able to be a part of the improvement
here. Just seeing that (improvement)
has made this a good experience."
Kidd does not expect to use his ex-
perience at quarterback against the
Wolverines, however. In fact, despite
his strong arm, Kidd has thrown only
one pass from punt formation.
"I had to throw a pass just once,"
Kidd recalled. "It was a bad snap and I
pretty much threw it away. We haven't
faked one with me throwing the ball in-
tentionally. I'd like to do it, though."
Even though a professional punting
career seems certain, John Kidd still
wants a chance to throw the football. In
fact, he'd probably get a kick out of it.

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John Kidd shows the skill that has led him to the top of the Big Ten in pun-
ting, but he would like to prove that his arm is as good as his leg.

Center for Chinese Studies

nfI;Ii

The University

of Michigan

third annual

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Alexander

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Memorial Lecture
Will Reforms Modernize
China's Economy?

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