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September 07, 1989 - Image 36

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-09-07

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Page 2 -.The Michigan Daily/New Student Edition -Thursday, September 7, 1989

epeat?

That's

only

the

beginning

A National Championship
may be in the cards for Bo

By Steve Blonder
Daily Sports Editor
:a The Michigan football team play-
ing the Pac-10 conference champion
around the start of each new year has
become a ritual over the last 20
years. But now that the basketball
.eam has brought home a national
championship trophy, a Rose Bowl
- victory seems like small potatoes.
This year, the Wolverines may
have the team to challenge for a col-
lege football national title, an ac-
complishment which would send
Michigan fans all over the country
into a state of hysteria.
But head football coach Bo
Schembechler only laughs when
people suggest Michigan, which re-
* turns 16 starters from last year's Big
Ten championship squad, can win it
"It's tough to repeat in any
port," Schembechler said before
0 spring football practice. "Seven out-
standing players have to be replaced
out of 23, but we have some good
people coming back."
On offense, the Wolverines'
greatest strength is the backfield.
Tony Boles, who led the team in to-
tal offense last year and was the
fourth-leading rusher in Division I-A
football, returns in the backfield
along with Rose Bowl MVP Leroy
Hoard and fullback Jarrod Bunch.
The three juniors will be joined by
tailback Allen Jefferson, who has
been riddled by injuries for the past
two seasons, and reserve fullbacks
Chris Horn and Tracy Williams.
The Wolverines outrushed oppo-
nents last season by an average of
123 yards per game, which is
important to Schembechler's
conception of football. The 20-year
veteran, who coached under the leg-
endary Woody Hayes, consistently
says having a good running attack is
the way to win a football game.
The success of a running attack
revolves around the men up front.
Returning are tackles Greg Skrepe-
nak, who received AP and UPI All-

Big Ten honorable mention com-
mendations last season, and Tom
Dohring. The 6-7, 277-pound
Dohring and 6-8, 322-pound
Skrepenak are also joined by
sophomore guard Dean Dingman.
Matt Elliott and Steve Everitt are
battling for the center position, va-
cated by the graduation of All-
American John Vitale, while Marc
Ramirez is expected to start at the
other guard slot.
The receiving core remains solid,
featuring split end Greg McMurtry
and flanker Chris Calloway. Mc-
Murtry led the wolverines with 27
catches for 470 yards, while Cal-
loway hauled in 18 receptions for
272 yards. Back-ups Desmond
Howard and Yale Van Dyne were
impresssive at the annual spring
game. Tight end Derrick Walker
split the starting job last season
with Jeff Brown, and returns as the
full-time starter.
While the rest of the offense is
fairly well settled, the quarterback
job remains up in the air. Fifth-year
quarterbacks Michael Taylor and
Demetrius Brown are the incum-
bents, while Wilbur Odom, Ken
Sollom, and Elvis Grbac are slated
for reserve roles.
Taylor started the first nine games
of the season before suffering a bro-
ken collarbone, while Brown re-
bounded from a poor 1987 season to
lead Michigan to three consecutive
victories, including a 22-14 Rose
Bowl victory over USC.
Brown broke his passing hand in
spring drills, and Taylor jammed his
hand in the spring game, but both
are expected to be ready in the fall.
"They each played well for us last
season," Schembechler said. "We
won't write off Taylor beacuse he
suffered a broken collarbone, and we
won't disregard Brown's performance
in the last five games.
"It's a nice problem to have," he
added.
According to Schembechler, a
second ingredient goes into a cham-
pionship football team - namely

Michigan Running back Tony Boles (top) will start in a backfield that has
more talent than Ed McMahon's Star Search. Quarterback Michael Tay-
lor (right), coming off a season ending injury, will have to battle with Rose
Bowl starter Demetrius Brown to regain his starting. position.
1 7 71

DA~V IDlLUBLNtL/ S.JJ*

defense. The Wolverines return nine
starters from a defensive squad which
gave up an average of under 300
yards per game last season.
Gone is All-American and team
MVP Mark Messner. Messner left
Michigan as the school's all-time
leader in sacks and only the second
four-time all-league nominee in Big
Ten history.
Warde Manuel and John Her-
rmann, both sidelined during much
of '88 with injuries, are expected to
battle Mike Evans for Messner's va-
cated tackle slot, while Brent White
returns at the other tackle position.
Middle guards Mike Teeter and T.J.
Osman return to bolster the line.
The linebacking core looks just
as solid, and will be further
strenghtened if J.J. Grant returns
from a knee injury. Defensive sig-
nal-caller Erick Anderson returns at

one inside linebacker position, while
Grant, and oft-injured linebackers
Marc Spencer and John Milligan
battle for the other spot,
On the outside, last year's starters
Bobby Abrams and Alex Marshall,
who combined for 106 tackles, will
be challenged by Neil Simpson and
Brian Townsend.
The defensive backfield must
make do without the services of cor-
nerback David Arnold. But Lance
Dottin showed in the spring game
that he is ready for a starting berth,
as he picked off three passes.
"Lance is a good player," said
tight end Derrick Walker. "He im-
proved a heck of a lot this spring.
We are happy about that because we
need somebody to replace David
Arnold at cornerback. I think he can
do the job in the fall."
Tripp Welbourne, who led the
secondary with five interceptions and
72 tackles, is back, along with

starters Vada Murray and David Key.
Otis Williams, Todd Plate, David
Ritter and Eric Bush are also ex-
pected to see playing time in the
fall.

IF AIF fr frssssss

One major problem
placing all-time leading

will be re-
scorer Mike

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Gillette, who handled the place
kicking and punting last season.
John Albertson, who averaged over
42 yards per punt in the spring
game, is the leading candidate for the
punting chores, while J.D. Carlson
has a leg up on the place-kicking
spot. .
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