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November 13, 1986 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-11-13

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vs. Michigan State
Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Yost Ice Arena


Football Cheerleading Tryouts
Sunday, 4:30 p.m.
IM Building

The Michigan Daily

Thursday, November 13, 1986

Page 7


takes center





He is not known as a wild,
crazy, or obnoxious guy, but the
Wolverines' John Vitale is certainly
y the center of attention on the team
- and not just because he is the
£ center.
The 6-1, 289-pound junior out
of Detroit has caught plenty of
interest ever since moving to center
from guard last August. He is one
big reason why Elliot Uzelac's crew
up front hasn't fallen apart in the
face of injuries to three starters and
two backups.
Most of those injured players,
including tackles Mike Husar and
John Elliott, will be back for
Saturday's final home game against
Minnesota (4-2 Big Ten, 5-4
overall). Vitale, of course, will be
100 percent.
' "RIGHT NOW, he's the best
center in the Big Ten," said Uzelac,
Michigan's offensive line coach.
"He keeps getting better because
he's still learning the position. He
has improved that rapidly. He's
never been a low grader."
Vitale grades in the 70-80
percent range. But the number
catching head coach Bo
Schembechler's attention is under
Daily Photo by SCOTT IITUCHY the "years of eligibility left"
Michigan center John Vitale has provided stability for the injury-plagued column. A 289-pound number two
offensive line this season. The junior from Warren De LaSalle high school sits there.
_arade the switch from guard to center this year and has become one of the "Vitale is destined to be one of
best centers in the Big Ten. the best centers in the country,"
Former Blue star now a Colt

said head coach Bo Schembechler,
not usually one to make a
gets plenty of attention for his
talent. And off the field he is a
center of attention as well with his
catchy sense of humor.
His best joke was last August
when he showed up at practice with
a new haircut featuring the
Wolverine helmet pattern shaved on
his head. The brush cut was
nothing new (the offensive line
started doing it after the '84
season); however, the helmet design
raised some eyebrows, especially
from the coaching staff.
"I just said, 'Hey look, you're
one of our good people and all this
is going to do is shower individual
attention on you and you don't
want that,"' Uzelac said. "That's
not why he did it, he just did it
because he's got a good sense of
"We were thinking of something
new to do," Vitale said, "and I
always wondered what it would be
like to have a Wolverine helmet
shaved into my head. I had it on for
a couple days, and shaved it off
before picture day. I wasn't going
to keep it long because that's just
not Michigan.
Vitale hasn't always worked at
center. At Warren De LaSalle high
school, he only saw action at center
Stand apart from the crowd
with asharp-looking profes-
sional resume from Kinko's.
Open 24 Hours

his sophomore year. He made his "The center spot, I believe,
name at offensive and defensive requires possibly your best athlete
tackle. based on what we do," Uzelac said.
When he checked in at "And I felt Vitale was the best
Michigan, Vitale, like most athlete we had with his excellent
Wolverine freshmen, was redshirted. size and movement. It was just a
But when Mark Hammerstein went matter of knowing the position."
down at quick guard with a season- New techniques were just a part
ending knee injury in the '85 of the adjustment. Vitale also had
Maryland game, Vitale was forced to take the responsibility for
to start the last nine games.
t sa noe t eas " was snapping the ball to Jim Harbaugh.
It was not easy. I was He is quick to say he still has more
inexperienced at guard," he said. "I to learn.
was thinking too much instead of
reacting." "I still don't know everything
EVEN WITH the problems, about the spot and I'm still making
Vitale showed unlimited potential some mistakes I shouldn't make,"
for a center because of his speed. he said.
Uzelac took quick notice since he If the coaches are right, those
needed a man to replace outgoing mistakes will disappear. And if
Bob Tabachino, another guard who Vitale remains the center of
moved to center. The coaches attention, he is going to have a
decided to go with Vitale when fall tremendous football career.
two-a-days began.
I A representative from
" Georgetown
Law Center
will be interviewing students
Career Planning and Placement
I Wednesday, November19, 1986
" from 9:30 -12:00
" Open sign up
Wednesday, November 12, 10::
thru Friday, November 14, 12:00
at Career Office I

Up and down. Up and down.
Dwight Hicks' professional
football career has been like a
rollereoaster ride. Hicks is currently
on the upswing. He started his first
game for the Indianapolis Colts last
Sunday after signing with them
inly three weeks ago.
But the former Michigan star
was cut by the San Francisco 49ers
at the beginning of the year. The
49ers' brass claimed Hicks was
"abusing" drugs, but the four-time
All-Pro free safety feels drugs were
not the real reason for his
"I COULD tell that it was not
the drugs that made them cut me,"
he said. "The 49ers did not want to
pay me the money I felt I deserved.
So they moved me to another
position last year to decrease my
"I knew there was something
shady about that. I mean I was an


p .(

What's Happening
Recreational Sports

-Sports Information photo'
After a topsy-turvy seven years with the San Francisco 49ers, former
Michigan star Dwight Hicks hopes to turn it around with the Indianapolis

mAll-Pro free safety for the past four
years before last year. I did not want
to be a backup, which is what they
wanted me to become."
Hicks also felt his connection
with drugs was overemphasized. "I
felt that it was blown way out of
proportion. Because of my being in
the limelight, the story was carried
away. I did not abuse the drugs at
Pall. I just want this entire situation
behind me."
Already Hicks has put many
successes behind him. Four years
in a row he was voted the best free
safety in the National Football
League by his fellow professional
football players.
"EVERY year I want to
perform my best. If I accomplish
rtiy best, then I know I will do
well," he said. "If I do well, I hope
to. be named to the Pro-Bowl team.
Being voted there four years in a
row by the players in this league

was an outstanding honor."
As if four Pro Bowls were not
enough, Hicks played in two Super
Bowls and came out victorious in
one of them.
"Winning the Super Bowl was
an amazing feeling. It is the
accomplishment that not many
people get to say they were a part
of. I am just glad that I could be
part of a winning team," said
Winning was a common event
during Hicks' four years at
Michigan. From 1974-'77
Michigan posted a 38-7-2 record
with losses in two Rose Bowls and
one Orange Bowl. Hicks twice led
his team's defense in interceptions.
THEN the former Michigan co-
captain was drafted by the Detroit
Lions in the sixth round of the
1978 NFL draft, and the
rollercoaster started down. The
Lions and the Philadelphia Eagles
cut Hicks before he found a home
in San Francisco.

There, Hicks' career started
poorly as the Niners were only 8-24
in his first two years. But things
improved in his third year when
San Francisco won the Super Bowl
(1982), and Hicks made the Pro
Bowl for the first time.
"I'm hoping that the same
transformation that happened in San
Francisco will happen here in
Indianapolis (The Colts are 0-10 so
far this season)," Hicks said. "There
is the revolving-door syndrome
See HICKS, Page 8

2nd Annual Turkey Trot, Saturday, Nov. 22, 1986
10:00 am - UM Golf Course
3 Mile Run - Win a Turkey
Entries Due: Thu., Nov. 20,.1986, 4:30 pm


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