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October 08, 1986 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-10-08

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Page 10 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 8, 1986



Wilcher backs running

Daily Photo by PETER RO

Thomas Wilcher (27) rushes for a gain behind the blocking of Gerald White (22). Since filling in for the injured
Jamie Morris, Wilcher has rushed for 131 yards on 32 carries and three touchdowns.

Ask a football player what he
fears most, and he will almost
always utter "injuries." Injuries are
irritating at best, a crippling
nightmare at worst. For Thomas
Wilcher, injuries have been a way
of life.
That means knee surgery,
nagging ankle pain, and watching
from the sidelines. It's not a
lifestyle designed for the '80, but
one that Wilcher has had to live
with in his three previous years at
AS A RESULT, the senior
tailback has yet to play a full
season. Wilcher's career has been
stifled by aches and pains, resulting
in backup status. It's hardly the
glamour one associates with
running back. Nonetheless,
Wilcher has been philosophical
about his career at Michigan.
"There's always a later phase of
ss life," he said. "In the end, I'm
enjoying what I am doing right
That he is enjoying his present
_ deeds is not surprising, for Wilcher
has been playing lately, and playing
well. Filling for the injured Jamie
Morris, the 5-10, 188-pound
t tailback has rushed for 131 yards on
32 attempts and three touchdowns.
Coming off the bench against
Florida State and starting against
Wisconsin, Wilcher has given the
t Wolverines no major reasons to
miss Morris.
"WILCHER has really helped
s. us the last two games," said
Michigan head coach Bo
Y Schembechler. "He's given us a
big boost. He started strong last
year, but then he got hurt."
Ah, those injuries again. Bodily
ailments weren't bothering Wilcher
when he rushed for a mind-boggling
19.3 yards a carry in his senior year
of high school at Detroit Central.
One of most recruited players in the
state, Wilcher decided on Michigan
over Southern Cal, despite the pitch
given by Trojan alumnus O.J.
"I went over to his house and he
showed me his Heisman Trophy,"

Wilcher said. "And then he showed
me Marcus Allen's Heisman
WHILE HE brushed shoulders
with of Simpson and Allen, no one
is mentioning the Heisman Trophy
in the same breath as Wilcher. A
knee operation due to a track injury
slowed him up a bit and forced him
to miss his sophomore year in
That doesn't mean that he
hasn't put his tremedous speed (40
yards in 4.3 seconds) to good use.
Wilcher was the NCAA Indoor 55-
meter high hurdle champion. in
1985, the first Wolverine to win an
indoor track title. What was even
more impressive is that the win
came right after football season, in

not tragic- aspect of Wilcher's
injuries is his unfufilled potential
His injuries have hampered his
development, and Wilcher has never
established himself as a starter. To
ponder "what might have been" is
easy, but Wilcher has not let his
lack of playing time or the thought
of having gone to USC bother him.
"He's taken it very well," said
offensive backfield coach Tirrel
Burton. "I think Tom now realizes:
not matter where you go you have
to win the position, there's always
competition. All the major
football schools usually are three or ;
four deep at running back."

One school that has to look
down its depth charts this weekend
is Michigan State. The Spartans
have lost the services of Lorenzo
White for the game, but that hardly-
makes the contest any less intense.,
For Wilcher, who was recruited by
MSU, this weekend's game brings
with it ramifications for the next
"It's intense because you know'
people from each school," he said.
"You also have the bragging rights
when you go back home."
With the right amount of.
intensity and a little luck, Wilcher
will be putting the hurt on the
other team this time.
Blue Banter



We here at Griddes Control
Center have an announcement that
will undoubtedly stimulate you all
to enter the weekly Gridde contest.
In addition to winning a free
pizza from Pizza Bob's, the person
who can pick the most number of
games correctly will now receive a
free Pick-Me-Up Bouquet from
FTD florists. Is this a great country
or what?

Michigan (pick total points)
2. Wisconsin at Iowa
3. Purdue at Illinois
4. Ohio State at Indiana
5. Northwestern at
6. Oklahoma vs. Texas at
7. USC at Washington
8. Arizona at UCLA
9. SMU at Baylor
'10. Georgia at LSU
11. North Carolina State

at Georgia Tech
12. Boston College a
13. Iowa State at Kansas
14. Colorado at Missouri
15. Pitt at Notre Dame
16. South Carolina a
Virginia Tech
17. Army at Tennessee
18. Navy at Air Force
19. Prairie View A&M vs
Bishop at Austin
20. State News at DAILI

1. Michigan State



a <

What's Happening
Recreational Sports

... healthy and happy
which he missed the last three
games with - one need not
guess - an injury, this time an
Like the exploits of Achilles,
the start of last year's campaign
was seemingly easy. After missing
most of 1984, Wilcher split time
with Morris and Gerald White at
tailback last season. He had his
most productive season, rushing for
355 yards on 71 carries, a 5.0 yard
average. Wilcher put his first career
start (against South Carolina) to
good use, running for 106 yards on
only 16 carries and a touchdown.
But then he blew out an ankle late
in the season, again ending the year

-Split End Paul Jokisch may
return this weekend, but with the
play of backup Ken Higgins, he
hasn't been missed. Higgins' eight
receptions against Wisconsin was
the first time a Wolverine has
caught that many passes in a game
since Anthony Carter caught eiglit
in a 1982 contest. What's more,
his 165 yards is the season high for
Big Ten players.
-It would be nice if Michgan
could play only the third quarter of
every game. The Wolverines have
outscored their four opponents 34-6
in the third quarter this year, and
have not allowed a point in the
third quarter since Notre Dame
scored two field goals in the first
game of the year.



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