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September 06, 1991 - Image 30

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-09-06
Note:
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Sure, Michigan wants to win the Big Ten. But now,
the team is setting its sights on- the national title.

EYE OF THE STORM
Continued from page 13
academic record wasn't strong
enough, so he spent a year at prep
school. Recognizing his strong
desire to go to college, the faculty
at Gushing Academy assisted him
academically.
Minnesota talked about
offering him a scholarship, but he
met with then-coach Bo Schem-
bechler two days before a planned
visit. Evans felt the Gophers
wouldn't help him enough
academically, and sent the plane
tickets back to Minneapolis.
It was a huge risk because the
Wolverines didn't have a scholar-
ship available for Evans. He would
have to find grants and loans, and
then make the team as a walk-on.
Making the decision tougher was
the fact that his mother was still
working nights at a nursing home.
But Michigan was what he
wanted, even if it meant taking
the gamble.
Though a linebacker in high
school, Evans showed the Wolver-
ine coaches more potential as a
defensive lineman. Reed was the
first to look over the new prospect.
"The one thing I'll always
remember about Michael is that
he just bugged me to death,
wanting to know everything he
could learn about his position,"
Reed said. "And at the time, I was
coaching some other kids and here
was this walk-on who had been
moved from inside linebacker to
defensive tackle asking all these
questions. I said finally, 'Hey,
Michael, just go out there and play
the best you can and we'll worry
about the the other things later."'
Evans made the team. The
next year he concentrated on
conditioning, bulking up 40
pounds.
But as tough as Evans was, he
was careful in dealing with a
tougher man, Schembechler.
"I stayed away from that man,"
Evans said. "If I had a reason to go
to him, I didn't go to him."
However, Evans had a lot of
respect for Schembechler, partially
stemming from an incident during
his sophomore year. Evans said his
boss at the University golf course
had a problem with his attitude.
But instead of talking about it
with Evans, his boss went to
Schembechler. When Schem-
bechler called him into his office,
Evans was furious.
"Bo was telling me what the
guy had been saying and I told
him straight out what the whole
problem was," Evans said. "And
you'd think Bo would get on you,
but he just talked to me and said,
'I understand.' And I said,
'Thanks."'

Evans has never needed-extra-
motivation from coaches; his
teammates know how to motivate
him. Every time Evans steps into
the Center of Champions weight
room, fellow linemen Alex
Marshall and Buster Stanley, along
with some of the first-year stu-
dents, test Evans' label as the
defense's strongest player.
"In a way it helps me, because
the more they challenge me in the
weight room, I can be tired and I
can get it," Evans said. "And at
the same time, I'm helping them
move up."
In December, Evans will
receive a Bachelor of General
Studies degree, with a concentra-
tion in communications and Afro-
American studies. The academic
strides Evans has made please
Moeller.
"He's a better student today
then he was in high school,"
Moeller said. "Academics is
something that is very important
to us."
Evans is just as proud of his
accomplishments, because even
after football, he will have a
career. This summer he took an
internship with the Detroit Police
Cadet Program as a Junior Job
Development Specialist, supervis-
ing teenagers and offering advice
on how to obtain a college degree.
"Most of those kids are poor
and their hopes are contained,"
Evans said. "They don't see
themselves making it in college.
Some of their excuses are financial
problems, which I can understand.
Some of the kids had academic
problems. I tried to talk with them
and tell them there is a way. If you
work real hard and you show
somebody you want to work hard,
somebody is going to help you
out.,,
Though he enjoyed the
internship, Evans remains uncer-
tain about his career plans,
including professional football; the
NFL is not something Evans likes
to talk about now.

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"People keep talking about the
league and stuff like that, and I'm
getting superstitious, and I don't
want to think about it too much
now," Evans said. "I figure when I
came to Michigan, I only had one
option; now people are telling me
I have two options. It's kind of
nice to have two options, but the
way I see it is I'm going to be
level-headed about it."
Right now, Evans is more
concerned with winning a national
championship.
"We're playing for the No. 1
title. Along with the No. 1 title,
we have to win the whole thing, in
other words, win the Big Ten, win
the Rose Bowl," Evans said.

Does anyone want to challenge
him? 4

A MICHIGAN TRADITION SINCE 1
fme Sfori

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Desmond Howard and Burnie Legette hope to be celebrating~the national title in Pasadena this season.

To find the last time America
expected Michigan to win the
national championship, one
needn't look back very far in
Wolverine football history. Just
last season, Michigan carried the
No. I ranking into its fifth game.
However, as any Wolverine fan
will assert through gritted teeth,
Michigan hasn't parlayed high
public opinion into the national
title since 1948. And fans have
learned over the past 43 years that
preseason.rankings offer nothing
more than a source of later

disappointment.
But this year, the prospect of
topping the polls on New Year's
Day seems as real as it does on
Labor Day.
Michigan seems to have
adopted a new priority scale, a
renewed commitment to winning
everything there is to win. In the
past, Wolverine teams have set as
their goal the compulsory rhetoric
- the Big Ten and Rose Bowl
Championships. But now, with an
(almost) new coach, a new offense,
a new playing surface, and a new

attitude, the quest for the title has
become an acceptable, nay,
mandatory mission.
"When Bo (Schembechler) was
here, the title wasn't the focus,"
quarterback Elvis Grbac said. "But
we're national championship-
caliber. A lot of players and
coaches really think we can win
it.
Grbac played, and won, under
Schembechler. But back then,
Grbac would have thought twice
before admitting sinful and
impure thoughts like a desire for

the title.
Really, the team goal hasn't
changed. Even Grbac states
matter-of-factly, "We want to get
to the Rose Bowl and go
undefeated." The drive to win
each game exists like it always has,
only now, the Wolverines recog-
nize that the Rose Bowl Champi-
onship just doesn't satisfy a
hungry football team's appetite.
"We're going for the whole
thing - the title," defensive
tackle Mike Evans said. "Along
with that comes the Big Ten title

and the Rose Bowl."
Evans, a fifth-year senior,
seems to have abandoned the old-
school Schembechler
athletespeak. However, fellow
fifth-year senior Matt Elliott
hasn't.
"If we win the Big Ten and
Rose Bowl, we have a very good
chance at getting the title," Elliott
said. "It's too bad players play for
the title rather than the pride of
their conference or their school."
But the Matt Elliotts have
become increasingly rare on this

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t . D .zSeptember 6, 1991

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