The Michigan Daily - Sports Monday- December 11, 1989 - Page 5
by Adam Schrager
Daily Football Writer
Former Arizona State head coach
and current Ohio State head coach
John Cooper knew he had a good
thing going when Mark Carrier and
Cleveland Colter, two of the
nation's best high school safeties
visited his campus in the fall of
Cooper stressed the tradition, the
style, the aggressiveness of Arizona
State in an effort to convince Carrier
and Colter to come to Sun Devil
land. The two, who met for the first
time on that trip to Tempe, were
impressed with what Cooper had to
say, but not exactly the way the
coach probably planned.
"While Mark and I didn't openly
talk about it there, we talked about it
later and one of the reasons we came
to Southern California was Coach
Cooper's speech," said Colter. "He
was talking about style and tradition
and all that, so we figured, 'Where's
the best place for that?' and we
decided to come here to USC." a
The Trojans couldn't have
directly done a better job recruiting
because the two have been three-year
starters in the USC defensive
backfield and could possibly be the
best pair of safeties in the country.
Carrier, a fourth-year junior (he was
redshirted after a few games his first
year due to a fracture in his left foot)
and Colter, a legitimate senior, have
garnered the respect of nearly
everyone in the Pac-10 in their
tenure in the backfield of Troy.
"They are two great athletes that
can do anything on the field," said
Stanford head coach Dennis Green.
"Individually, they'd be stars
anywhere they wanted to be.
Together, they're awesome."
The two have collected post-
season honors in their USC tenure
as if it were Halloween candy. As a
free safety, Carrier has been named
to most All-America teams for the
second straight year, and as a strong
safety, Colter had All-American
honors last season and has won All-
Pac 10 honors for three years.
Being together for four years has
enabled the two to become very
comfortable with each other, not
to lead a defense that ranked first in
the Pac-10, giving up a mere 11.1
points per game. Colter, who started
slowly this season due to a knee
injury incurred last year, led the
nation's top rushing defense,
allowing only 61.5 yards per game.
"When we played passing teams
early in the season, it was Mark's
opportunity to stand out," said
Colter. "From the Notre Dame game
'They are two great athletes that can o
anything on the field. Individually, they'd be
stars anywhere they wanted to be. Together,
head coach Dennis Green
- Stanfordhead coach Dennis Green
only on the field, but off it as well.
"We roomed together as
freshmen, and we've roomed together
ever since," said Carrier. "We've
become the best of friends, on and
off the field. That closeness on the
field has helped us make each other a
better player, because we back each
other up in what we do. We are able
to take chances, because we know
the other person is going to be there
to back us up."
Through the end of this season,
their plan of action has withstood 11
opponents and not much has gotten
by the two California natives.
Carrier has made 97 tackles, had
three fumble recoveries, nine
deflections, and seven interceptions
on, Mark has continued to play well,
but we've started to play running
teams and that's my specialty. While
I haven't received many honors this
season, I feel since Notre Dame, I
have played my best football here at
California coach Bruce Snyder,
whose team played the Trojans the
game before the Fighting Irish did,
concurred with Colter's statement on
the Trojan defense.
"Because of the injury, Colter
started out slowly, but he has gotten
back into form," Snyder said. "We
had prepared to face a Carrier-
dominated defense and both of them
got us. They are two of the best I've
Carrier and Colter have fit into
the Southern Cal tradition of
tremendous defensive backs. As a
pair, they have been compared with
the former Trojan tandem of current
NFL stars Ronnie Lott and Dennis
Smith. Others that the two have
been compared to are former Dallas
Cowboy Dennis Thurman and
current Phoenix Cardinal Tim
This has made USC head coach
Larry Smith the envy of nearly every
other college coach in the country.
"Mark Carrier is pretty much the
picture-perfect football player,"
Smith said. "He epitomizes
everything you want in your
program. He's not a showboat, he's
just a meat and potatoes player. As a
coach, it's very refreshing to see a
young person like that.
"Colter is a great tackler. He
attacks the run extremely well,"
Smith added. "The first two or three
games, he was very slow and didn't
look like he was going to make it
and then he really started to pick up
his form. His leg got healthy and he
ended up having a great year."
As comparable as the two may be
on the field, their personalities are
dramatically different. Carrier is
outgoing and a self-described "like-
to-have-fun kind of guy," while
Colter is more laid back and relaxed.
Add to this Carrier's interception
ability and Colter's smoothness in
making plays and you have the
nicknames of "Aircraft" and
"I don't care what their
nicknames are," said Green, whose
team was shut out 19-0 by the
Trojans. "They're both Rolls-Royces
or Lear Jets as far as I am
Marshall making his move towards Michigan greatness
by Richard Eisen
Daily Football Writer
Long before Alex Marshall ever played a down at
linebacker for Michigan, way before he put on a uni-
form for Bishop Burgess High School, he was a young
boy, glued to the television set on Sundays.
What he was watching were his heroes in action, the
Pittsburgh Steelers. Linebacker Jack Lambert.
Linebacker Jack Ham. The Steel Curtain, the Doomsday
Defense. His idols.
'I want to hustle and pursue the
ball wherever it is. If I'm 20 yards
away from the ball and it breaks,
I think I'm going to make the play.
No one is going to stop me from
making the play. I want to make
every play that comes my way
and then some. That's all I want
one Linebacker compares favorably with past heroes
At the time of the game, though, Marshall wasn't
laughing. Michigan lost to the team that Marshall
swore he would be the slop out of. And then, one week
later, Michigan lost to Miami in a heartbreaker. When
in the world would Marshall get any damn wins?
In that contest, Marshall played his first game at
Michigan Stadium, committed his first unsportsmanlike
conduct penalty, and received his first screaming diatribe
'I want to be that kind of
dominating player and that the
other team makes its game plan
around me. If I could be like that,
I would be content. To make other
teams say 'Can't run to Alex
Marshall's side if he's sitting out
there in the flat.'
"Oh, I was a big Steeler fan," Marshall said, bring-
ing a grin to his face. "And Lawrence Taylor, oh man.
LT, without a doubt, was my idol. I can look at him
today and say if I had a tenth of his ability, that's the
kind of player I want to be.
"I want to be that kind of dominating player and that
the other team makes its game plan around me. If I
could be like that, I would be content. To make other
teams say 'Can't run to Alex Marshall's side if he's sit-
ting out there in the flat."
Looking at the way Marshall plays, it comes as no
surprise that Taylor, Ham and Lambert were his idols.
Marshall plays the game of football with reckless aban-
don, looking to separate some unlucky slob from the
ball. Slowly but surely, teams have realized that Alex
Marshall is standing in the flat.
"Alex's greatest strength is that he's an excellent
pass rusher," Michigan defensive coordinator Lloyd Carr
said. "He's the biggest outside linebacker we've had here
since Mel Owens. Alex is a very smart player."
Well. So far we've mentioned Taylor, Ham, Lambert
and now Owens, a first-round pick for the Rams. Get
"Alex is a physical athlete; he's an aggressive person
on the field," said fellow linebacker and team captain
J.J. Grant. "A lot of time, Alex takes control of the
strong side of the line. He lets me do things to get the
rest of the defense together. He's a dominating player."
Marshall started his career of domination in high
school where he lettered in football three times and in
basketball twice. A Detroit News blue chipper, Mar-
shall was recruited by Ivy League schools, Pac-10
schools, and most notably Notre Dame and Michigan
"I was never really a Michigan fan," the Detroit na-
tive said. "I was never a State fan either. I wasn't really
sure (where to go). Michigan pushed my visit off; Bo
was out of town every time I set up a visit."
And the visit with Michigan didn't even go well,
which left Notre Dame and Michigan State in the pic-
ture. Well, the Fighting Irish just plain stopped corre-
Michigan linebacker Alex Marshall wants to be as good as his heroes Jack Lambert and Lawrence Taylor. He
also hopes to go to law school. On top of all this,;Marshall has a very good chance of someday being a captain
of the football team.
sponding with Marshall, leaving him somewhat bitter. you imagine a 6-foot-4, 235-pound lawyer walking tc
"When they stopped recruiting me - which is what the jurors box and saying:Ladies and gentlemen of the
they did, they just stopped - I made a vow that wher- jury, I strongly suggest that you find my client innocent.
ever I went, I wanted to beat the slop out of Notre Uh, not guilty.
It came down to Michigan and Michigan State, Knowing Marshall, it's quite surprising that he had
which means it came down to academics, which means never played for winning team. According to the
we all know who wins that battle. sophomore, the winningest team for which he ever
"I knew I would get a quality education," Marshall played - from little league to high school - had only
said. "I wanted all those things and to stay in the state. I five victories.
just couldn't beat it." So, coming to Michigan, the only Division 1-A
Now, this isn't just some jock repeating a rehearsed school with 700 victories, the school with the win-
line about the importance of academics. While Marshall ningest active coach in America, Marshall figured or
destroys opposing ball carriers, he exploits all the aca- getting some wins. His first year here, Marshall did noi
demics Michigan offers. He believes in getting an edu- play a down but watched the team lose 4 games.
cation. Remember that's what college is for. His second year, Marshall received his baptism early.
"At Michigan, you've got quality people - not Due to a slew of injuries to linebackers, Marshall
players, but people. Bo is a very staunch advocate of started against Notre Dame at South Bend.
getting a degree," Marshall said. "Whether you play a "I wasn't expecting to play; I was fourth on the
down or not, you get a degree. Michigan's a tremendous depth chart coming out of spring ball," Marshall
place to be." laughed. "Right off the bat I was playing in the game. I
Next year, Marshall plans to follow the route of was like 'Bring on Tim Brown!' I hadn't learned the de-
Michigan quarterback Michael Taylor and enter the fensive system as well as the guys playing.
business school. His eventual goal is to attend law "I was just kinda out there," Marshall said, rocking
school. Could you imagine Marshall as a lawyer? Could with laughter.
"I was called for kicking a guy down at the 20-yard
line," Marshall said. "And Bo kinda got me out of the
game and got talked to."
Maybe Bo was running down his grocery list with
After the Miami game, Marshall finally received his
wins. The team went 9-2-1 and won the Rose Bowl.;,In
fact, Marshall has never lost to a Big Ten team in b1is
two years here. How's that for wins?
And this winning led to an incredibly confident artd
aggressive attitude on the field. Take this, for instance:
"I want to hustle and pursue the ball wherever itis,"
Marshall said. "If I'm 20 yards away from the ball andit
breaks, I think I'm going to make the play. No one is
going to stop me from making the play. I want to make
every play that comes my way and then some. Tha's
all I want to do. And if I don't make the play, I could
take one or two blockers away."
It's this early career experience and firm grasp of the
team defense concept that might lead Marshall to the
role of defensive captain somewhere down the road.
"There isn't any question (about it)," Carr said.
"Anytime a guy gets to play that early, gets to be, a
starter early in his career, as coach you rely on him, to
enter a leadership role. I have no question that he'ltdo
Grant concurs: "He's a leader by example. He's a
smart player, a team player. He could be a captain."
Marshall would love to be captain one day, if that's
the role that has been assigned to him. "If that's the role
I need to take, then I'll take it," Marshall said. "I'd like
to get a lot more accomplished; I'd like to reach: a
plateau where (Michigan) can go undefeated, where I can
become a totally dominant player.".-
But for now, it's just play every down hard and get
into that business school. Who knows? If he does ev-
erything right, he might make the NFL.
"It would be a childhood dream come true, but iCit
doesn't, I'll just get my degree and go on to law
school," Marshall said.
Now that's a winning attitude.
coach Ray Goff hopes that running back
Lorenzo Hampton will book all over
Dick MacPherson's Orangemen. Too bad
everyone in Syracuse is into the
basketball season. We don't know much
about Georgia football, but we do know
that Litterial Green is on the Georgia
.Gator Bowl, December 30: West Vir-
ginia vs. Clemson
It's the Mountaineers against the
Tigers, the Hillbillies against the
Bengals. Supposedly, West Virginia has
A brand spanking new Bowl game for
all of us to enjoy. And we all thought
that there were enough Bowl games in
the first place. Silly us. Change the
name. It sounds like they're playing
football in a spittoon. Don't schedule
New Year's Eve plans around this one;
it's a dog. And it might even have fleas.
Hall of Fame Bowl, January 1,
1990: Auburn vs. Ohio State
Auburn's got to be pissed. They beat
unbeaten Alabama, the No. 2 team in the
country, and they end up in the Hall of
. , m 1 - - - - - - - ---- .t- . :
screaming at the top of his lungs "Don't
swat that ball down, Vada!" Of course,
we all know that Michigan's Vada
Murray knocked down George's fourth-
and-one pass to send Illinois to a lesser
bowl for the second straight year.
George's real problem, however, remains
in the fact that he has two first names.
Mobil Cotton Bowl, January 1:
Arkansas vs. Tennessee
Corporatism lives on! Mobil even
plans to give a free oil change in under
10 minutes with every Volunteer
tonchdown Fvynn uwn nhid by Mnhil
If you would have told Cornhusker
coach Tom Osborne at the beginning of
the season that he would beat Oklahoma
and not go to the Orange Bowl, he would
have asked you what you were sniffing.
With Newcomer of the Year Amp Lee,
Florida State could be the best team in
the country right now. But, you know
that wacky AP poll. With a good idle
weekend, who knows, maybe Slippery
Rock could be No. 1.
Rose Bowl, January 1: MICHIGAN
vs. Southern California
If Michigan wins, look for the
last day of the season and still got a bid
from this Bowl game, which is supposed
to take the winner of the SEC. Believe
us, we're not crying over Auburn's
snubbing, but this whole selection and
poll stuff is ridiculous. Michigan, if it
has any chances at the championship,
needs an Alabama win.
Orange Bowl, January 1: Notre
Dame vs. Colorado
This is it. If Colorado wins this one,
all speculation as to the No. 1 team in
the nation will go out the window. Even
..in.A fr .. A;, : _ r .-n. .nstho k:il h