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November 05, 1987 - Image 10

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-11-05

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al

Page 10 -The Michigan Daily-Thursday, November 5, 1987

I

Levarenz leaves crying behind

!1 Tip of the Kap

By PAUL LIJEWSKI
Special to the Daily
MINNEAPOLIS - Jon Levarenz
wore a snarl on his face, winced at
the pain in his shoulder, picked at
the dried blood on his elbow, and
hobbled along the Illinois locker
room floor, favoring his sprained
right ankle.
His Gopher football team had just
lost to the Illini, 27-17, but the
sophomore linebacker had won all of
his battles - including the one he
always lost as a child growing up in
Mount Vernon, Va.
Levarenz, the 6-foot-2, 225-pound
giant of the Gopher defense, used to
break down and cry at the slightest
hint of pain.
"I WAS a crybaby as a matter of
fact," he said. "They still call me
crybaby when I go back to where I
grew up in Virginia.
"Everytime I got hurt, I cried,"
Levarenz continued. "Even when
other people got hurt, I told them,
'Cry, it feels better."'
But Jon Levarenz can't remember
the last time he cried. In fact, he is
much more likely these days to
make opposing ball carriers shed a
tear or two.

Gopher

lineb ackher

BY RICK KAPLAN

puts hurt on others

Levarenz will try to inflict a little
pain on members of the Michigan
football team Saturday at the
Metrodome in Minneapolis, where
the Wolverines will play the
Gophers in a 3:30 p.m. game. And
if he plays as he has all season, he
should get about 15 chances to make
someone cry.
LEVARENZ is the Gophers'
leading tackler this season. His 126
tackles are more than double the
number of any other Gopher.
Levarenz also ranks second in the
Big Ten, three tackles behind
Purdue's Fred Strickland.
In his first full season as a starter,
Levarenz is leaving quite an
impression on Big Ten running
backs - and coaches.
"I think he is a great player,"
Wolverines coach Bo Schembechler
said with rare conviction. "I'd trade
ten players to get Jon Levarenz on

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my football team. He attacks the
line of scrimmage well. He tackles
like an old fashioned football player.
I'm very impressed with him."
Levarenz, who came to
Minnesota from Ankeny, Iowa,
broke his thumb as a freshman and
was redshirted. A severely sprained
ankle prevented him from playing at
the beginning of last season, but he
came on in the final five games to
register 33 tackles.
AND TO Levarenz, making
tackles is what the game is all
about. "Ever since I was a little kid,"
he said, "getting a hit is what I
played football for."
But Levarenz wasn't always a
great hitter - not until his
sophomore year at Ankeny High
School.
"We went to the playoffs my
sophomore year," he said, "and I
practiced with the varsity and dressed
for the game. And it was in the
locker room before the game that I
learned what intensity was all
about."
INTENSITY is now Levarenz'
edge on the football field.
"Intensity is just getting to the
ball as fast as you can," he said.
"You have to sprint full speed all the
time."
That means even when you're
tired - and even when you're hurt.
Terry Hrycak, Levarenz' Gopher
counterpart at inside linebacker, has
seen that intensity.
"The thing that amazes me about
John," Hrycak said, "is that when
he's tired, he still manages to come
up with the big play. He's a real
competitor."
GOPHER COACH John
Gutekunst sees the same thing in
Levarenz.
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Levarenz
... no more tears
"What you see in Jon is a special
athletic ability," he said. "Then you
see a determination and a drive that
combines with that ability to make a
very good football player."
Gutekunst said the only thing
that separates Levarenz from Ohio
State All-American Chris Spielman
is the perception of each player by
the media.
"If I rated all the linebackers
around the country and put them into
special categories," Gutekunst said,
"I don't know if you would find
Levarenz in another category (behind
Spielman). As far as ability, I put
him in there already."
So does Michigan tailback Jamie
Morris.
"HE'S A GREAT linebacker,"
Morris said. "He deserves to be in
the same class as Strickland,
Spielman, and all the other great
linebackers in the league."
But Levarenz avoids comparing
himself to other players.
"That is something you dream
about," he said, "being All-American
and everything. We have to play
Michigan this week; that's all I'm
concerned about."
And he's not concerned about
getting hurt anymore. He's learned
how to hold back the tears.
"It still hurts sometimes to make
a tackle," he said, "but I just go back
to the huddle. You can't go to the
sidelines with a bruise or something
or the coaches will start calling you
names."
Like lightweight, or creampuff -
or crybaby.
Paul Lijewski is a football writer
for the Minnesota Daily.

Auburn University...
...Harvard of the South
All the students who were rejected by Ivy League schools made the
wrong choice by coming to Michigan. In finding the next best in
academics, they overlooked the estimable Auburn University.
Here are Michigan students, up to their annoyingly oversized school
sweatshirts in homework, midterms, and term papers. They make
people do their schoolwork here at Michigan. The damn traditionalists.
Down south in Auburn, Ala., such trivialities are dutifully ignored.
It greatly simplifies a student's life, knowing that the little things like
attending class, doing one's own work, and following school rules do
not matter. And besides, the weather there is nice, year round.
TWO MODEL STUDENTS serve as fine emissaries in
displaying Auburn's commendable academic standards. Brent Fullwood
and Jeff Burger make Wolverines everywhere wish they were War
Eagles.
Fullwood, Auburn's star tailback last season, made news before the
Florida Citrus Bowl when it was discovered that he hadn't attended
classes since October. The academicians at Auburn decided that
Fullwood was technically eligible until the beginning of the next term.
Since the new term did not start until mid January, Fullwood played,
and led Auburn to a 16-7 win over Southern Cal.
If he had gone to classes, he probably would have been suspended for
insubordination and declared ineligible. Surely he put the semester to
good use intellectually - making an archeological study, comparing
life in the 1980s to the life of the Flintstones; conducting
psychological experiments on the effects of 12 hours of sleep per day
on an athlete; reading up on the negotiations of important world leaders
like Spiderman and the Green Goblin.
B U R G E R, however, can be
discussed in Auburn's political
science classes (if they teach poli-
sci). His treatment by the Auburn
administration is text-book example
of the effectiveness of lobbyists.
First, Burger was accused of
plagiarism last semester by the
student committee on academics.
(Apparently, someone at Auburn
cares about schoolwork). The senior
quarterback was originally kicked off
the team for cheating.
But the higher ups at Auburn,
likely including the highest up,
football coach Pat Dye, reinstated Dye
the Heisman Trophy candidate., ... strict disciplinarian
Over the summer, Burger was bailed out of jail by Auburn assistant
football coach Pat Sullivan. Whoops. That was a violation of NCAA
regulations, making Burger ineligible for football. Not to worry,
though. Auburn appealed the suspension, and Burger's eligibility was
restored.
IT MUST BE comforting to know that the University will go to
court in support of students who are arrested. In the 1960s, many
colleges cracked down on students who stepped out of line, having them
arrested. Auburn is proving to be a bastion of progressive educational
reform.
Finally, last week Burger was suspended from the team for taking a
hunting trip on a private plane. Despite the fact that the plane's owner
was a booster of Auburn's rival, Alabama, the trip was an NCAA
infraction. For the third time, Burger was an ex-War Eagle.
Days later, he was reinstated again, following another University
appeal to the NCAA.
But Auburn could not let the rule violation go unpunished. Last
Saturday, Burger was benched - for the first play of the game. Such
strict discipline may scare some prospective War Eagles away, but Dye
and his staff had to draw the line somewhere.
The lines are clearly drawn throughout college football. The
academic integrity of Columbia has led to a record losing streak. "A"
students at small colleges, like Holy Cross' Gordie Lockbaum, are
receiving Heisman consideration. Coaches like Alabama's Bill Curry
are being hired for their academic records, not their won-loss records.
In such trying times, it's refreshing to see a university like Auburn
where the term "student-athlete" remains an oxymoron.

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