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October 27, 1988 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1988-10-27

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Field Hockey
vs. Iowa
Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Tartan Turf


The Michigan Daily

Thursday, October 27, 1988

Field Hockey
vs. Ohio State
Sunday, 10 a.m.
Tartan Turf
Page 9




Introducing Professor Leroy Hoard
of the University of Michigan.
Professor, teach Indiana what
happens when you key on tailback
Tony Boles and forget about the
fullback. Boom, a 54-yard touchdown
run. Nice lesson. But professor, the
Hoosiers still haven't learned. Repeat
the lesson. Boom, another 54-yard
scoring run.
Hoard has learned a lot since
arriving at Michigan. He learned how
to switch from tailback to fullback at
the end of his first year here. At St.
Augustine High School in New
Orleans, Hoard was all-state at
tailback. In the year and a half since,
he has learned to excel at his new
DURING HIS sophomore year,
Hoard learned what it's like not to be
first-string. Hoard sat out the first
seven games because of academic
troubles, and Jarrod Bunch seemed
entrenched as the starter. Hoard
gained 122 yards for the year. Players
who are the first in their high
school's history to rush for 1,000
yards two years in a row don't expect
to be on the bench when the game
This year as a junior, Hoard has
stepped into a key role on the
Wolverines. The ingredients for this
change have been a pinch of this and
a few dashes of that. The pinch was a
pinched nerve in Bunch's neck that
sidelined him early in the season.
The dashes were Hoard's big runs
that should insure him of playing
With his increased role, Hoard
has been teaching as well as learning
lessons. Like teaching defensive
linemen and linebackers just how
well a fullback can block in opening
up holes for Boles and the other
tailbacks. And teaching all future
foes that Michigan's running attack
is anything but one-dimensional.
"IT SURPRISED me that they
(the Hoosiers) were all coming from
the outside," said Hoard. "Michigan
State did that also. I guess now
they'll have to watch the fullback,
and that will open things up for
Mike VanDiest, defensive line
coach at Northwestern, the
Wolverines' opponent on Saturday,
has watched the Michigan films and
apparently has learned the lesson.
"He's an outstanding back," said
VanDiest of Hoard. "To have him in
front of Boles adds a lot to the
offense. You can't key on one guy.
You have to play what you see in
front of you."
A new lesson - taught to

McMurtry displays

40, _:_,. i

variety of
Everyone knew that Greg
McMurtry could play center field -
he was the No. 1 draft pick of the
Boston Red Sox in June 1986.
Everyone also knew that
McMurtry could play wide receiver
- he led the Wolverines last year in
receptions and receiving yardage.
But no one knew he could throw
long touchdown passes - that is,
not until last Saturday.
Indiana, 10-6, McMurtry took a
reverse handoff from Tony Boles,
rolled right and threw 46 yards to the
wide-open Chris Calloway. A
perfectly executed double play, from
running back to wide receiver, back
to wide receiver. Who needs baseball?
"I had practiced that play since my
freshman year," said McMurtry, of
Brockton, Mass. "I wasn't sure that
the pass was going to reach. But I'd
still rather catch a pass than throw
Over the past four games,
McMurtry has had his most
productive stretch for Michigan,
catching 14 passes for 234 yards.
That's a lot of receiving yardage for
one who plays under three-yards-and-
a-cloud-of-dust Michigan coach Bo
EARLIER in the year, however,
he was catching as many balls as a
designated hitter. No one seemed to
understand how Michigan could have
a receiver as good as McMurtry and
not get the ball into his gloves.
Now that he is floating underneath
more balls, everyone wants to know
why. "Believe me, we are not trying
to go to him more often," assistant
coach Gary Moeller said. "The play
is just unfolding in his direction.
He's doing a good job of getting
It doesn't help matters that
McMurtry isn't the most physical
receiver over the middle. Or that he
rotates in and out of the lineup with
Calloway and John Kolesar. Or that
he's missed plenty of football
practices because of baseball practices
and games with the Michigan
baseball team.
of his lack of aggressiveness. He is
aware of his lost time on the football
field. Even though he is loaded with
talent, he always puts forth a little
bit of extra effort when hash marks,
not baselines, line the field.
"I know he likes baseball,"
Schembechler said. "But he loves
football. And he never comes to
practice with any other disposition
than (he's) ready to play. He's had to
work extra hard at football because of
the time he has missed."


... leading receiver

Fullback Leroy Hoard, shown here against Michigan State earlier this season, had a career
best last Saturday against Indiana. He rushed for three touchdowns and 128 yards - six
yards more than his rushing total last season.

Another thing McMurtry has had
to work hard at is school. Playing for
two of the top-ranked teams in the
country cuts into his study time.
serious last spring when the baseball
team took its annual spring trip to
Texas. Missing one-and-a-half weeks
of school became too much for
McMurtry to handle.
When McMurtry 'began to have
difficulty, Schembechler picked up
the phone and called McMurtry's
mother, Sarah McMurtry.
Schembechler suggested that Greg
cut his trip short and head home.
"Coach Schembechler promised us
that he would not let Greg's grades
drop, and if Greg was struggling, he
would call," Sarah McMurtry said.
"If he didn't get his grades back up.'
he was going to have to drop
baseball. He's on a football
scholarship and there is a certainr
grade level that he has to maintain."
SO MCMURTRY studied and
studied some more. On the days of
baseball games and footbll practices
he would come home and-somehow
have to muster up enough energy td
make it to the library. "I was drained
at the end of the semester,"
McMurtry said.
But if anyone knew how to pull
through, it was McMurtry. He had
always *been a winner - his
Brockton High team won state
football championships his junior
and senior seasons, and his Michigan
teams won Big Ten football and
baseball championships during 1986-
87. Beating the books was almost
And he won again.
He got to play baseball. He got to
play football. And he even got to
throw a pass. Ever wonder if
McMurtry has tried on a pair of
hockey skates?

Indiana's secondary on the two
longest runs of his college career -
was what it's like to try to take down
Hoard with some room to run. On
his first touchdown, Hoard split
Brian Dewitz and Joe Ziegler and held
off safety Marc Ferry just enough to
reach the end zone.
"I'M NOT fast," insists Hoard.
"The team says I have a turtle shell
on my back."
"We kid him about that," said
backfield coach Tirrel Burton. "He's
fast enough. He's plenty quick for
the position." Burton estimates
Hoard can run the 40-yard dash in
about 4.5 seconds.
According to VanDiest: "He may
be an atypical fullback. He can
accelerate and he has moves."
On his second score, Hoard
bounced away Dewitz and Ziegler.
"If you create a crease for a guy
like Hoard ... Once they're out in the
secondary they're really a load to
tackle," says Michigan head coach Bo
Schembechler. Dewitz and Ziegler

learned that the hard way.
"Leroy had a couple of nice, little
runs there," said Schembechler with a
grin as wide as Hoard's runs were
MAKING HIS second run more
amazing was the fact that Hoard was
shaken up on the kickoff after
Indiana's first score. "He got his bell
rung," said Schembechler. "I didn't
think that we'd have him back."
Hoard did come back and with a
vengeance. Hoard's two-yard run
around right end in the third quarter,
and his second 54-yard run in the
fourth quarter increased Michigan's
lead from 17-6 to the final 31-6
Hoard caught some flack from
Schembechler for fumbling earlier
this season. But if anyone thought
Hoard's fumbles would make his
running more tentative, the evidence
was proven otherwise Saturday. "I
never think about fumbling," said
Hoard. "I just think, run as hard as
you can."
ACCORDING to Burton the

competition of Bunch and Chris
Horn have also made Hoard run
harder. "Competition's always good,"
said Burton. "We have a tendency to
be complacent if we're not pushed."
The Professor taught the Indiana
defense numerous lessons Saturday.
After the game, he had one more
lessont- humility. "This definitely
is real important," said Hoard of the
Michigan win, "but I believe that
any other fullback could have done
the same thing. I just happened to be
in on certain plays.
"I'm happy for the team more
than for myself. It's hard going a
whole lot of time without helping
the guys you practice with."
The tailbacks who run behind his
blocking and the defensive players for
whom he blocks would surely argue
that Hoard does help the team every
week. Those quiet contributions,
though, don't always stay in
memory. The Professor's
contribution against Indiana will be
remembered for a long time to come.

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