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December 11, 1987 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-12-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

P0ge 10 --The Michigan Daily-Friday, December 11, 1987







Loss claws at Tide linebacker

' '

Tip of the Kap


Thomas stars against Auburn

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Derrick Thomas
stood in the Alabama locker room following
the Crimson Tide's 10-0 loss to Auburn here
Nov. 28, dressing himself as he talked to
But the actions of putting on his clothes
and uttering words of wisdom for the public to
read and hear later were not what was on
Thomas' mind.
The outside linebacker's thoughts were still
out on the field, trying to find a reason for
Alabama's loss that could soothe the hurt he
was feeling.
But there was none. Thomas and the
Alabama defense had played their hearts out,
stopping cold a potent Tiger passing game,
while providing the Alabama offense every
opportunity to get the Tide into the game.
IT WAS NOT to be, however. T h e
Alabama offense could not overcome the
powerful Tiger defense and Thomas and the
Tide stop team was left wondering how such a
great performance could result in a loss.
"I never would have believed we could lose
if the defense played as well as we did today"
Thomas said. "We were disappointed. There's
no other way to feel when you go out there
and play the way we did."
Thomas said he was positive going into
the game that if the defense could hold Auburn
to under two touchdowns, then Alabama
would come out on the long end of the stick.
"They were ranked as the No. 2 offense in
the Southeastern Conference and anytime you
can hold that kind of offense to 10 points then
you have a good chance to win," Thomas said.
"Last year we had this thing that if we hold
our opponents to under 14 points, then we
would win the ballgame. We did that today,
but the little things hurt us.

"We just made a lot of mistakes."
T H O M A S certainly did his part in
holding down the Tiger offense. The junior
from Miami, Fla., had ten tackles in the
game, including three for losses of 26 yards
and three sacks of Auburn quarterback Jeff
Burger. Thomas also blocked a Brian Shulman
punt, which gave the Tide offense a first and
goal from the Auburn nine, but the Tide could
not capitalize.
But Thomas said he wasn't upset that his
performance was in a losing cause.
"I know that everyone went out and played
their best and as hard as he could," he said.
"Auburn just did what it took to win."
One thing Thomas could say for sure is
that the much heralded Auburn offense and
passing attack did not impress him.
"I can't say about their defense because I
did not play against them, but their offense is
not the best one we played against all year,"
Thomas said. "And it is not even close to
being the best. I've seen better."
THOMAS, who led Alabama in sacks
going into the game, said the Auburn offense
didn't do anything special to try to contain
him and keep him from Burger.
"They weren't really double teaming me,"
Thomas said. "The coaches were putting me
in situations where I wouldn't be double
teamed and I could get free. At times when I
would line up on the tight-end side of the ball,
they would run to the other side of the field,
but they weren't really keying on me."
Thomas said the only thing left for the
Tide to do is to get ready for the Hall of Fame
Bowl in Tampa, Jan. 2. "We have to get ready
for Michigan," Thomas said. "That's all that's
left of our season."
Pettis is the Sports Editor of the Crimson
White, the University of Alabama's student

-Associated Press
Alabama linebacker Derrick Thomas, shown here mauling Notre Dame
rdnning back Anthony Johnson, is the leader of the Crimson Tide defense.

Tampa offers a potpourri of fun

Bye, Birmingham...
...hello, Tampa
Why is everyone, and everything, leaving Birm-
ingham, Ala., for Tampa, Fla.?
The answer lies deep in the heart of Dixie.
Down south, where the people live life slowwwly,
a mysterious link has connected two states. Alabama,
made famous by George "Mr. Tolerance" Wallace, and
Florida, best known for orange juice, have been
building ties for several years.
The intrigue begins at Legion Field in Birming-
ham, part-time home of the University of Alabama
football team since 1927. Paul "Bear" Bryant, the
legendary football coach, led the Crimson Tide to a
68-15-5 record at Legion Field.
From 1964-66, an All-Southeastern Conference
end played for Bryant in Birmingham. Walter Ray
Perkins was weaned on Alabama football. He was the
prototype Bryant disciple, even without the hounds-
tooth hat.
After a brief National Football League career, and
two stints as an NFL assistant coach, the tide turned
for Perkins. He was given the job as head coach of
the New York Giants in 1979. The country boy was
put in charge in the big city. He compiled a 23-34
record in four years with the Giants.
But then, duty called. When Bryant retired, Al-
abama sought Perkins as a replacement. Returning to
his roots, Perkins abandoned the Giants to coach the
Tide. He was back at Legion Field, as if he had never
In 1983, his first year back in Alabama, Perkins'
team finished 8-4. But the South fell again in 1984.
The Tide finished 5-6, a record that went over in Al-
abama as well as prohibition. Grumblings were heard,
and it wasn't from Alabamans who had missed th'eir
grits with breakfast.
Meanwhile, in Birmingham, the Crimson Tide
were allowing other teams to use Legion Field once a
year. Ten years ago, the Hall of Fame Bowl was
started, bringing other football powers to Birming-
ham to experience the splendor of the Tide's home.
Eight Hall of Fame Bowls were played in Birm-
ingham, before... the move. Tampa Bay beckoned.
The Bowl moved there last year.
Tampa Bay. The name evokes visions of a
sparkling town on the picturesque Gulf Coast.-
Tourists busily hustling to catch all the sites. And
sun. After all, Florida is the Sunshine State.
What else is Tampa Bay? To most sports fans,
Tampa Bay is football. Bad football. Home of the
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team with the longest
losing streak in pro football history.
Why would a bowl game want to associate itself
with that laughable football tradition? The sun must
do funny things to people's minds.
Back in Alabama, Perkins recovered from 1984 to
register a 9-2-1 mark in 1985 and 10-3 in ~1986. But
the criticism heard during the losing season must
have remained in the back of his mind. When given
the opportunity, Perkins jumped back to a head
coaching job in the NFL. Old-time Alabama fans
were shocked that he abandoned the home land, espe-
cially for a job in... Tampa Bay!?!
So, Perkins became became coach of the Bucca-
neers. The still embarrassing Tampa Bay team is cur-
rently 4-8 under Perkins. It may take him the rest of
the century to right the Buccaneers' ship.
The Crimson Tide, burned by Perkins, decided to
go outside of the Bear's den to find a new coach. Bill
Curry came in from Georgia Tech to guide Alabama.
The Tide ebbed and flowed this season, finally crash-
ing on the beach against Auburn. The Tigers defeated
Alabama, 10-0, at Legion Field, in the season finale.
After the game, the Tide accepted a bid to a post-sea-
son bowl game... in Tampa.
In a span of two years, the migration has become
complete. First, the Hall of Fame Bowl left
Birmingham's Legion Field for Tampa Stadium.
Then, Ray Perkins left the sidelines of Legion Field
for the sidelines of Tampa Stadium. Finally, the
Crimson Tide has left behind Legion Field to play
Michigan in Tampa Stadium on Jan. 2.
The Florida and Alabama politicians should settle
the issue. Then Perkins could be coaching the Uni-
versity of Alabama-Tampa in the 1989 Hall of Fame


There could be worse scenarios. El
Piso in December, Dallas in January,
Meihphis at any time - not ideal
locations for a bowl game, a game which
is spposed to reward a team (and its
fans) for a job well done.
And while it is true that Michigan
won't be playing in the Rose Bowl, or in
any New Year's Day game, travelling to
Tampa for post-season action isn't half
Tampa had waited 21 years to claim a
bowl game and last year it stole the Hall
of Fame Bowl away from Birmingham,
Ala. More than 600 volunteers and over
40 local and regional corporations are
involved with sponsorships.
AND ALTHOUGH the Hall of
Fame Bowl (played on Jan. 2, NBC-TV),
may wind up the least watched and
lowest-scoring game (bet the under if you
have a chance) of the bowl season, it
should be worth the trip.
The most important factors, for the
average fan, in deciding whether to make
the trek to the bowl game, involves the
weather in that city and what there is to
doThe Tampa people are betting that
thtc 60-degree average wintertime
temperatures (during the day) and the
abundant number of activities they have
planned will make the Hall of Fame
Bowl an enticing and exciting trip for
Michigan fans and alumni.
In fact, if you're planning to spend
less than a week in Tampa, you probably
won't have time to participate in all the
activities the city has to offer: Busch

Gardens, Adventure Island, Lowry Park,
George Steinbrenner, Bill Frieder and the
boys, championship golf courses, and
Uncle Sam and Aunt Roz in Coral
Springs, who no doubt will want you
drive South for a day (don't worry, rental
cars are rather inexpensive).
You want more?
Buccaneers, Pro Beach volleyball (ESPN-
style), Ybor City, the Grand Ole Opry,
New Year's Eve Strutters Parade,
greyhound racing, the College Football
Hall of Fame, jai alai, the Gulf of
Mexico, Hall of Fame Bowl Festival and
Concert, pre-game pep rally, Hooters,
Mac Smith (HoF bowl rep - the most
courteous person in the city), and
beaches, beaches, and more beaches.
Get the idea?
In addition, the warm whether is
conducive to swimming, water skiing,
fishing, skindiving, and the rest of your
favorite aquatic activities.
With the help of AAA, your tour
guide will highlight the city's main
-Busch Gardens - See Bo
Schembechler pet the giraffes. See
Jumbo Elliott talk to the elephants. The
300-acre park, also known as "The Dark
Continent," may be the best attraction in
the state, besides Disney World. The
birds talk to you, the ostriches gawk at
you, and other animals roam around this
place which is a combination of a zoo,
Magic Kingdom, Sea World, and River
OTHER SECTIONS include a log

flume ride, a river rapids ride, the
scorpion coaster at Timbuktu, Claw
Island (where the white Bengal tigers
reside) and a dolphin show. For those not
into the African motif that encompasses
the park, there is an Anheuser-Busch
brewery tour. Something for everyone.
-Adventure Island - Tampa's version
of Wet 'N Wild, it's within walking
distance of Busch Gardens. Water flumes,
swimming and diving areas, wave pool,
and speed slide. You've seen this all
before. You either like it or you don't.
-The Michigan basketball team -
Gary Grant and Co. will be playing in a
holiday tournament on the 28th and 29th.
Better yet, with the likes of Florida
International and South Florida (the host)
as the second-round opponent, the
Wolverines should win it, despite their
first-round opponent being Clemson.
Tickets are still available for the
tournament. The stadium is just minutes
away from the heart of Tampa.
-"A Night at the Opry" - This
special presentation of the Grand Ole
Opry features a first-ever national
broadcast of the Opry outside of
Nashville. This historic moment will
take place on the night of Jan. 1 in the
recently dedicated $52 million Tampa
Bay Performing Arts Center & Theatre.
It will also include a number of Country
Music Hall of Fame inductees, which
have yet to be announced. Bo will be
there. So should you.
-New. Year's Eve Strutters Parade -
Taking place early on New Year's Eve,
this will feature seven or eight bands,

including the Michigan Marching Band,
marching through the streets of Tampa.
It's not quite the Tournament of Roses
Parade, but the Hall of Fame Bowl isn't
quite the Rose Bowl.
-Hall of Fame Festival and Concert -
Later on New Year's Eve, this event
features three different stages (in three
parts of the city) and big-name headliners
along the waterfront in downtown
Tampa. A country band out of Nashville
will be followed by Buckinghams, a
country group from Chicago, and the
New Year will then be welcomed in by
fireworks at Harbour Island. This
promises to be more interesting than
watching Dick Clark kick in the New
-HOOTERS - Tampa's favorite
watering. hole, this is a fun little
restaurant. Nothing further can be said for
fear of being sexist. Go see for yourself.
-Jai alai - Oi'e of the world's fastest
and most strenuous games, it is also one
of the world's most crooked games.
Scandals in jai alai are almost as frequent
as scandals at SMU, as you bet on
people who play a form of handball and
racquetball. Most games seemed fixed,
but it is exciting nonetheless. For those
who -can't justify betting on this, there's
always greyhound racing and horseracing
(both fixed to a certain, yet, lesser degree)
down the street.
-Crawdaddy's - Known to be a
dining experience, rather than just a
restaurant, patrons can sip drinks on
waterfront patios or gather inside for the
See TAMPA, Page 11

Alabama, Humphrey to test 'M'


(Continued from Page 8)
Morris has totaled 4,159 yards in
his four-year Michigan career. This
seson he gained 1,469 yards,
averaging 5.7 per carry. The ball
cdtier needs just one yard in the Hall
of.ame Bowl to set the Wolverines'
singe-season rushing record.
Michigan's offensive backfield
may get a boost from running back
Allen Jefferson, who is expected to
return to the lineup after missing the
team's last seven games with a
broken arm.
'he sophomore gained 259 yards
on 29 attempts (8.9 per carry),
including a 118-yard game against

to the ball, and they're a good
tackling team.
"We have to balance up our
offense. We must run and pass
The Tide defense features outside
linebacker Derrick Thomas. The 6-4,
222-pound junior from Miami is
following in the gigantic footsteps
of former Lombardi Award winner
Cornelius Bennett, now of the
Buffalo Bills. He led the team with
18 sacks and seven caused fumbles
during the season.
THE LEADING tacklers for
Alabama are sophomore noseguard

his defense will not be able to adapt
to the Alabama's offensive scheme.
"We have to be able to handle all
those different looks they are going
tor give us," Schembechler said.
The return of defensive back
David Arnold, who injured his ankle
against Minnesota, will give the oft-
injured Michigan defense a lift.
Linebackers Marc Spencer and Steve
Thibert may be available for the
SPENCER, a sophomore, was
expected to start before breaking his
leg in the preseason. Thibert went
down with a knee injury in the

"I LIKE playing Alabama," said
Schembechler, who has a 3-11 bowl
record. "It's a nice matchup. Despite
our record, we always look to play
the tough teams.
"Alabama is still Alabama no
matter how you add it up. They beat
Penn State and LSU. It's a good
The Tide, a third-place finisher in
the Southeastern Conference, will
join Vanderbilt and Auburn as the
only SEC teams that the Wolverines
have faced in the Schembechler era.
Michigan beat Vanderbilt, 42-14,
in Schembechler's first game in Ann



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