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March 14, 1984 - Image 10

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-03-14

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4

Page 10 - The Michigan Daily -Wednesday, March 14, 1984

By Douglas B. Levy

Smith's career shines .. .
... moves on to Montreal

A N ARGUMENT has been raging among
Michigan football fans for the past three
years. The performance of quarterback Steve
Smith, or lack thereof, has been the theme.
When Smith signed a professional football con-
tract last Wednesday with the Canadian Football
League's Montreal Concordes, the young man
from Grand Blanc headed north with a mission.
"I want to prove I can play quarterback. I want
to prove I can throw the ball," said a determined
Smith.
Ironically, the man who has rewritten the
Wolverines' records for such passing marks as
yards in a season and total touchdown passes,
feels compelled to prove his passing abilities.
"If they (Michigan) had emphasized passing
Smith had all the tools to be a great one," said
Iowa Hawkeye defensive coordinator Bill
Brashier.
"He's got the physical tools to be a good
passer," said Illinois defensive backfield coach,
Rich Solomon. "But Michigan has always used a
run-oriented offense."
The run-oriented offense noted by Solomon and
adhered to by Schembechler was crucial in
shaping Smith's quarterback performance.
Take for example, the Michigan-Indiana game
of October 2, 1982, a 24-10 Michigan victory.
Lawrence Ricks rushed for 124-yards, followed by
Rick Rogers (66), Smith (65 on 11 carries) and
Dan Rice with 64 yards. On that day Smith attem-
pted only 10 passes for 57-yards. Michigan won by
controlling the ball, Bo was happy.
Never doubting that Smith, who runs a 4.5 40-
yard dash, could run and lead a ball-control offen-
se, the critics lashed out against Smith's passing
ability. Five of Smith's next six games of the 1982
season are testament to his passing ability.
" October 9 vs. Michigan State - 20 passes, 10
completions, 182 yards, two touchdowns passing,

one rushing; 31-17 Wolverine victory.
" October 16 vs. Iowa - 24 passes, 13 com-
pletions,172 yards, one touchdown; 29-7 Wolverine
victory.,
" October 23 vs. Northwestern - 12 passes, 10
completions, 203 yards, three touchdowns passing,
71 yards rushing for two more touchdowns; 49-14
Wolverine victory.
* October 30 vs. Minnesota - 16 passes, 10 com-
pletions, 159 yards, one interception, three passing
touchdowns, one rushing touchdown; 52-14
Wolverine victory.
" November 13 vs. Purdue - 13 passes, nine
completions, 184 yards, one interception, two
touchdowns; 52-21 Wolverine victory.
But against Ohio State, Smith threw three inter-
ceptions and Michigan carne up short, 24-14. It
only took one dismal performance against the
most despised of all rivals for the critics to harp on
Smith's erratic passing ability.
Sports Illustrated magazine anticipated Smith's
maturation into one of the nation's top field
generals and bestowed upon Michigan it's second
number one preseason ranking in three years.
Unable to return to the starting line-up until the
second game of the 1983 campaign due to a
scrimmage injury to the throwing shoulder, he
damaged in the previous season's Rose Bowl,
Smith dazzled the 60,000 plus Washington Huskie
fans in Seattle with an 18 for 26 performance for 225
yards. Only a more spectacular performance by
Steve Pelluer brought Washington the 25-24 last
minute victory.
Smith then guided Michigan to five consecutive
conference victories before a loss to Rose Bowl-
bound Illinois. Through the Illinois game Smith's
passing had been erratic and ineffectual. The
senior was thoroughly bombarded by fan and
media criticism for the inconsistent passing,
especially following the Illinois loss.

"Up until the Illinois game Steve was suffering
from a chronic inflammation of his shoulder joint
and was on a day-to-day basis," said Schem-
bechler in Smith's defense.
The week after the Illinois loss, the inflam-
mation and pain fully subsided. Smith's recovery
complete, with a healthy body, the senior went
wild.
* November 5 vs. Purdue - 13 passes, 11 com-
pletions, 159 yards, four passing touchdowns, 12
rushes for 126 yards, one rushing touchdown;
Wolverine victory.
" November 12 vs. Minnesota - 18 passes, 10
completions, 180 yards, three passing touchdowns,
four rushes for 147 yards, three more touchdowns;
Wolverine victory.
* November 19 vs. Ohio State - 20 passes, 11
completions, 207 yards, two passing touchdowns,
44 yards rushing, one rushing touchdown. Sugar
Bowl.
In the heart of the Michigan faithful, however,
the Sugar Bowl loss to Auburn, yet another hear-
tbreaking downfall to a fine team, may have
sealed Smith's fate. A victory over the Tigers
would have obliterated the bad memories. Smith
would have been deified - Rick Leach stature.
Finally out of Ann Arbor's spotlight, it is time to
recognize what has epitomized Smith's career at
Michigan, a personal characteristic achieved by
few - class. Why bring up class now? Did anyone
ever read of Smith making excuses, blaming his
teammates or coaches for losses? Did anyone ever
read of Smith lashing out in frustration against his
numerous, vocal and unjustified critics? Smith
handled his greatest athletic disappointments
with honesty and integrity.
Someday soon, Steve Smith will prove he can
play quarterback, silencing his critics once and
for all.

4

Daily Photo by DAN HABIB
Former Wolverine quarterback, Steve Smith, unleashes a pass at
yesterday's Spring football practice. Looking on is freshman Chris Zurbrugg
who is battling to fill Smith's vacated position.

Moncrief's 27 leads
Bucks over Pistons

4

I

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Paul Pressey
sparked a 13-0 run by the Bucks in the
first three minutes of the game last
night to help Milwaukee break a three-
game losing streak with a 116-95
National Basketball Association vic-
tory over the Detroit Pistons.
Milwaukee moved ahead of the
Pistons by one-half game in the Central
Division standings with a 39-27 record.
The Pistons fell to 38-27 as their four-
game winning streak ended.
Pressey scored seven points toward
the 13-0 lead, and later scored a three-
point play to widen the margin to 22-7
with 6:34 left in the first period.
Milwaukee, with Pressey scoring 12
points, led 31-22 at the end of the period.
The Pistons trimmed the gap to 43-35
on Terry Tyler's baseline jump shot
with 6:24 left in the half. But Milwaukee
surged to a 59-41 lead at intermission.
Detroit outscored the Bucks 29-14 in
the first eight minutes of the third
period to cut the margin to 73-70.
Milwaukee recovered to lead 87-76 at
the end of the quarter.
Sidney Moncrief- led the Bucks with
27 points, with Marques Johnson adding
20, Bob Lanier 17 and Pressey 16.
Detroit was led by Kelly Tripucka
with 18, and Isiah Thomas with 17.
Tigers split
LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) - Detroit's

Alan Trammell, playing his first
exhibition game this spring, drove in
two runs with a double to help split
squad of the Tigers to a 4-1 exhibition
baseball victory over the Kansas City
Royals yesterday.
The Royals' Butch Davis tagged
Detroit starter Juan Berenguer for a
leadoff triple in the first inning and
scored on a sacrifice fly by Pat
Sheridan.
THE TIGERS got-that run back in the
bottom of the first when Glenn Wilson
doubled and scored on a triple by Lance
Parrish.
Lou Whitaker doubled in the Detroit
third, went to third on a flyball and
scored on Wilson's single off Bud Black.
Nelson Simmons singled off Derek
Botelho in: the Detroit fourth, Whitaker
walked and both scored on Trammell's
two-out double.

4

4

MEANWHILE, AT Dunedin, the
remainder of .the Tiger squad was
defeated 5-4 in 10 innings by the Toronto
Blue Jays.
Rookie-outfielder Ron Shepherd rip-
ped a line drive off the left-field fence in
the 10th inning to drive in Fred
Manrique with the winning run.
The Jays touched four Detroit pitchers
chers for 11 hits in pushing their record
to 3-6.

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